It is time to give you a little peek behind the curtain...
I am a procrastinator... It took me a while to come clean, but there it is. Unfortunately, I know that I am not alone in this struggle! For years, I have been attempting to figure out how to get out of the rut that procrastination can cause in our lives. I seem to always be trying to make little changes in how I approach larger tasks, to try to make them more manageable as the deadlines approach. Another of my habits is that I love to listen to podcasts. Unfortunately, sometimes I even listen to podcasts to procrastinate... I have not been able to listen to as many over the past 3 years because I cut my commute from 30 minutes to 7 minutes when we decided to open our office here in Eldersburg. You are probably wondering what these two habits, procrastination and podcasts, have to do with each other.
Earlier this week, I was listening to an episode of Tim Ferriss' Tribe of Mentors podcast (which I highly recommend by the way) that featured an interview with Tim Urban, who writes the Wait But Why Blog. About an hour into the podcast, the topic of procrastination came up and Tim Urban had the best explanation for why it happens and how we can overcome it. As a matter of fact, I was completely unaware that Tim Urban had a TED talk titled, "Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator" (Which is definitely worth watching!)
I am going to make an effort to simplify his explanation. Mr. Urban says that the procrastinator's brain is controlled by 3 different characters, that I will introduce one at a time. The first character, "Rational Decision Maker" (RDM), is the part of our brain that gets stuff done when it needs to get done. He is responsible, reasonable, and acts like an adult. In a non-procrastinator's mind he is often the only character in the brain. The next character is known as the "Instant Gratification Monkey." (IGM) The IGM is easily distracted by JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. He does anything in his power to stop the RDM from actually getting any work done! Imagine this scenario - you sit down at your laptop to write a newsletter for your patients. You begin writing. About an hour later you have no idea how you ended up watching videos on YouTube about improving your kettlebell swing, and realize you have only written about 100 words... (This is not a true story, I was totally immersed in Wikipedia, not YouTube) IGM will continue to distract RDM forever, until... The deadline is looming, and as a result the 3rd and final character arrives on the scene. It is the "Panic Monster" (PM)! PM is the only one who can stop IGM from distracting the RDM as that deadline approaches! IGM is scared of PM, so he runs away and allows RDM to get back to work. So the only way to wake up the PM is to set deadlines, and respect them. Stop putting everything off and set some meaningful deadlines! And stick to them!
Here is the TED Talk from Tim Urban if you would like to hear him explain it much more eloquently than I did.
Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban
Movement is my Medicine,