We all come face to face with a seemingly insurmountable dread, the sort that feels like a well fed elephant roosting on your chest. Work. Responsibilities. General tasks that you feel obligated to accomplish but you just really don’t want to do it. But part of that difficulty is that we work in an ineffective way. Our idea of work is typically, ” I will put in effort for so many hours in a row, and be super productive”. However, that’s unrealistic for most people. If you don’t want to do this task in the first place, most of those hours are going to be spent pretending like you’re working when you’re really not. While opening the book or tab is a good start, making it seem like you’re working when you’re not doesn’t make the task complete. You’re not fooling your brain because you are your brain, and you know exactly what you aren’t doing.
Furthermore, we can’t focus for that long. Forcing yourself to push through, only to create miserable output is draining on you and usually has little benefit for the work itself. Instead, work for 15 minutes to 30 minutes at a time, and then take a walk or a nap. Just do some sort of activity, preferably using a different part of your brain. Work doesn’t have to be jam packed into one long session, but rather spread out. It makes you not only more productive, but also isn’t as emotionally and mentally exhausting!
Ignoring your work will only make the dread of it grow even fatter. It’s easy to be miserable, but by definition, it’s also a miserable state to be in. Part of the dread comes from the fact that we don’t want to do it, that it’s only an obligation and not a desire. Sometimes that can’t be helped. But why is it an obligation in the first place? Ask yourself why it matters, reconnect to the purpose behind it. Make it something you care about, and the motivation will come easier.
You can do such amazing things! Who you were yesterday is not who you have to be today. Maladaptive procrastination is a habit, but that habit is not unbeatable. It seems to be completely out of our reach at times to build ourselves up to a point where we can behave like we want to. However, it’s not. It’s often a matter of mind, and saying to yourself, “Listen pal, I know you don’t want to do this. It’s boring, it’s dull, it feels like it’s sucking the life out of me. But there’s this goal I’ve been working towards, and that does mean something to me. That goal that I have, it means enough to me that I get this done.” And you do it. Little by little, you work on it in pieces, in parts. You don’t have to be a superhero and do things absolutely perfectly, you just need to get started. You don’t need to do massive amount of work, just pace yourself and do it as it comes. It may not feel like you can do this, but feelings are fleeting. What matters most is what you do.