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STOICISM.DESIGN

On procrastination, II.

May 10, 2019

What often happens after a moment of stress, when the feeling of anxiety ebbs away, we're left with an inner voice: "why didn't you just do _____ when you had the chance?" Why didn't you just write a little every day, rather than wait to cram for the assignment? Why didn't you save 10% from your paycheck at the beginning of the pay period, rather than mourn the loss of that money after you spent it? Why didn't you object to your product manager's design choice when you had the floor?

How often is the true source of stress procrastination?

"Remember how long you've been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn't use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don't use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.4

I don't know if it's the direct translation or just a creative choice by the translator (Hays), but the idea that procrastination is a kind of shackling, enslaving character flaw is one that seems deeply true.

You and I have talked about whether being busy is a kind of procrastination, and how procrastination is often the result of fear. Just acting, just doing what you know has to be done - if the object of your procrastination hasn't been on a to-do list, the anxiety around procrastination defines that object for you - is not only a matter of ticking a checkbox, but literally addressing a fear.

And if we resolve to do what needs to be done as it needs to be done, we avoid the anxiety, the time crunch, the fear.

Your rebuttal what if my daily to-do list is too long is a failure of prioritization. Say to yourself, "life is short. I am going to die. I might die today," then determine what on your daily list really matters. Much won't. If it is your work that is too deeply stacking your to-do list, or if it is your spouse, your friends, identifying what really matters to you is the first step in being honest with yourself about how much your work matters, your spouse, your friends.

Procrastination doesn't compartmentalize itself by work/life balance. If your commitments are too much and your days are out of your control - take control.

Craft virtuously,
Michael

Refer virtuously

I would love your help growing stoicism.design. I put together a little referral program. If folks subscribe using your link https://stoicism.design/?referrer=*|UNIQID|* I can see it was you who referred them aaaaand I'll dream-up some sort of incentive. In the meantime, you can totally get a head start.
Copyright © 2019 Michael Schofield, All rights reserved.


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