On procrastination

I was supposed to delve deeper into the blogging world today, take some pictures and prettify this dull blog. Something like that. Maybe write an article on something useful like how to build a perfect six-pack (answer: use cans), how awesome the WordPress auto-correction is (awesome!), or which came first, the blank paper or the disappointing pen.

Instead, I worked and wrote some other things and here I am now, talking about procrastinating. Not because I haven’t done anything all day, more like because I’ve done many things and kept postponing this one even though it was at the top of my “if I don’t do anything else all day, at least do this one thing” list. Maybe I should just call it my “Do something else all day and leave this one thing to the last minute” list.

The word procrastinate derives from the Latin words pro, (forward) and crastinus (belonging to tomorrow). (source: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=procrastination)  Somehow, I feel comforted thinking that even Romans procrastinated. Hence, perhaps, the expression “Rome wasn’t build in a day.”

Humans are built to avoid discomfort. That’s the basic model. Feel good? Nice. Stay. Take a beer. Hurt? Bad. Leave. Take a beer. Don’t think about it today, think about it tomorrow, as Scarlett O’Hara would say. I guess in the old days thinking like this might have saved you from the lion’s jaw. Why go out to collect roots if you’ve already got plenty in your pantry? Why waste energy on doing the dishes if you’re not even hungry? Why clean the house when it’ll only get dirty again? Why write a blog post when no one will read it anyway? It makes sense.

Procrastinating is wise. It allows you to save energy. Saving energy will allow you to watch telly later. Watching telly late allows you to feel tired in the morning, which will again lead to you saving even more energy the next day. The eternal cycle continues and precious life energy remains within. Only, I guess most tasks can’t be put off eternally.

The real gist of the matter is choosing between comfort now or comfort later. If you want to watch telly and not do the dishes, fine, but you’ll need to do them later on. The only way to get past this is if you learn how to enjoy present-moment discomfort. And that is not hard-wired into us. It’s pretty expensive software that’s very hard to configure.

Another disoriented ramble later, I call it a day. Shall I do nothing now or procrastinate? Yeah, you guessed it. Meet me by the TV, my dear Couch. Together, we won’t change the world.

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