Procrastinate. What a funny word. It comes from Latin which means tomorrow and forward. People take it in this way- why do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Maybe you are engaging in a bit of procrastination right now when you told yourself this is your work time or study time or anything. Hopefully, I’ll give you some pointers that will redirect your attention back to where you’d hoped it would go.
These days, we live in a distracting world. Too much information running through our brains at a time. Gone are those tranquil days of sitting on the front porch, sipping lemonade, the big event of the day being the mail delivery. The phone was in the house, so if it rang, you didn’t really have to get up and answer it. Not like today, with our cell phones as an accessory, we can’t live without. How did we get here? Did you ever imagine one day you would go into apoplexy if you weren’t “connected” to your tribe for more than a few minutes?
We’ve allowed distraction to be part of our lives. Few people have the discipline or the desire to discipline themselves to focus and concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Sure, some of us have jobs where we have to focus or we’ll get fired. But during our personal time, off the clock and away from watching eyes, we let go of the reins. We allow media and life to pull our attention in a myriad of directions. Sometimes we may find ourselves like a kid at a carnival, with all those bright, shiny, noisy and exciting things clamouring for our attention.
One of the reasons people go backpacking in the summer is to force their selves to cut out as many distractions from modern life as possible. Before cell phones, no problem. People could actually relax and live their lives. But now, you can find people searching for those four bars and 4G at the top of a mountain, and dealing with work with their peers or confirming appointments while sweating up the hill. Forgetting to see the beauty around them.
The sales of solar cell phone charger are growing at an exponential rate. So that our phones charge all day. We really need that phone, right? In the case of an emergency. Or to use the cool GPS and compass apps we have. And to take photos of the stunning wildflowers. And to play our iTunes library of music as per our mood. All this enhances our joy and feeling of security. But will we resist checking our e-mail and checking in on Facebook? Do we have the discipline to draw the line and tune out the world?
It isn’t a bad thing to be connected. Not at all. But the problem comes in when we let the distracting world encroach when we are trying to get some work done. Willpower was the field of excellence for past generations, but we today don’t seem to respect it. Or believe it’s possible. So much food around us and it’s hard to say no, to diet. We tell ourselves we need to exercise but just can’t find the time. Maybe some feel willpower is overrated, but I feel we need to put it back up on that pedestal.
But, wait! My favourite show is about to air. I’ll think about this more tomorrow. Scarlett O’Hara had it right. And so did Mark Twain, who wrote: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
Our next post will be up tomorrow. But in the meantime, instead of procrastinating, share some ways how procrastination affects you. And then, of course, get back to your work.