Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. — Marthe Troly-Curtin
Everyone procrastinates sometimes. Even though writing is one of my greatest joys, sometimes I resist doing it. The thought of struggling to wrestle an idea onto the page can create this strange, time-sucking resistance that makes me putter around, doomscroll Twitter, find a sudden need to do some laundry, or sink into one of a hundred other non-writing activities. But, as the evil space robots say, “Resistance is futile.” Because I still have to face the task I put off AND my procrastination wasn’t even that fun. I lost the time without gaining anything.
The first step to transforming your procrastination is simply to notice when you’re doing it. This is where practicing mindfulness comes in. We might click over to our Email to check something specific and not even realize when we’ve gone down a rabbit hole checking and responding to the latest things to hit our inbox.
Is It Time To Waste Time?
If you need a moment to reset your willpower button, it might be time for some intentional procrastination.
Step two is to check in on your willpower. Willpower is a limited resource, and it gets depleted the more you use it. When it’s time to do something difficult, it can take a huge amount of willpower to tackle it. If you’ve been working intensely or if you’re feeling stressed, it might simply be too hard to overcome your willpower deficit and force yourself to jump into writing. If you need a moment to reset your willpower button, it might be time for some intentional procrastination.
Mindful Joy = Joyful Work
The trick to procrastination that fills your creative well is to do something fun and to do it mindfully. I recommend that you choose something that forces you to step away from your computer screen. Eat something delicious, play with your pet, go for a walk, listen to a great song, or read a few pages of a book, for example. Just be sure to choose something that doesn’t create its own form of resistance. If you don’t like exercise, don’t force yourself to go for a run—you’ll only find yourself with even less willpower afterward. Do something fun for ten or fifteen minutes and then come back to your work with your willpower restored. You may still not want to do your task, but you’ll find it much easier to get started.