The Monkey on My Back

Anyone who knows me very well can tell you I am a procrastinator par excellence. I often feel as if my brain is on its own time schedule and when its ready to do something I have no problem digging in and putting in whatever effort is required to get it done. When it isn’t ready, no amount of prodding will coerce it into concentrating on the matter at hand. To complicate things further my wife Rebekah over at Bliss in a Teacup is easily my equal at the task-avoidance game. When we get together we are a procrastination-enabling force of nature!

It’s not that I take pride in my lackadaisical approach to life. I admire and even envy people who are focused, determined and who can see what they need to do and just get on with it. Many of my greatest regrets involve time wasted and opportunities squandered. Even when I’m fully aware of what that I’m procrastinating, there is always one more frivolous YouTube video to be watched or one more piece of pop culture trivia to be gleaned. (Sometimes I think the internet was created solely as a perverse device with which to torture procrastinators.)

Recently Becka drew my ever-wavering attention to an article by Tim Urban at Wait But Why about this very subject. I was amazed by how accurately the first part of the article described me, my task-avoiding habits and the feelings of depression and frustration with myself that they engendered. The author cleverly and succinctly summed up the psychology of the self-sabotaging process in which we allow ourselves to stray from difficult or challenging tasks, while in the second part he provides realistic-but-constructive suggestions for coping with your “Instant Gratification Monkey”. (Spoiler alert: there’s no panacea, just coping strategies and the hard work of trying to be self-disciplined.)

Find Tim’s funny and illuminating article here:

As it is a long article I figured you might need a little audio encouragement to stick with it, so here is the Pink Fairies’ ode to gettin’ it done:


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