Procrastinating at work
Just thinking out loud a bit. . .
I've been procrastinating a lot at work. I do it by reading blogs in my field -- which is fine to spend a little time on, but I spend a lot of time doing it, as a way to avoid working.
The problem isn't really a professional one -- I've always been prone to procrastination, yet I've always been successful in my career despite that. I'm good at what I do, and I tend to be conscientious about commitments to other people (more so than about commitments to myself) so that I do tend to get the stuff done that really has to be done.
But still, I'm wasting a chunk of the day. And oddly enough, while it isn't a professional performance problem, it is a spiritual one. When I procrastinate, I'm resisting using my talents, my abilities, refusing to give what I have to give.
Just as in other areas of my life, when I procrastinate at work I am acting from "false strength" -- the ability to shut down and resist the flow of energy that comes from acting on the things I care about in an attempt to protect myself from discomfort. It doesn't work, anyway, since the consequence is that I feel tense & unhappy and in conflict with myself. True strength comes from expressing my real abilities, giving back to the world by acting from who I really am -- my real integrity, values, talents, etc. And at work that means applying myself to doing my work as well as possible.
Time to work on this one. First step: get a handle on what I'm really doing, when I'm acting from false strength and when I'm acting on what I really care about. I've made myself a time chart that I can take to work, a very simple one to just check off every 20 minutes whether I'm engaged in my work or resisting it. I'm going over to zenhabits next, to commit on the habits forum to keeping the chart every work day for the next month.
I think I'd rather not know just how much time I'm wasting. But the only way to solve a problem is to know what the problem actually is. And I do want to solve this -- not for my career, but for myself.
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If you use Firefox...
I recommend the LeechBlock extension. You can use it to limit access to sites that you spend too much time on, without blocking those sites completely.
A good, thorough editing of your blog list or subscription list will help, too. You'll spend less time reading blogs if you have fewer blogs to read.
And yes, I speak from experience -- I'm a web developer, so the Internet is always in my face, asking me to click on links and spend more time...
and if you use IE
Simple-ology has a blocker for you
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” - Stephen Covey
re: procrastination is spiritual
i hear what you're saying. My procrastination does affect my work. But regardless, i can relate to a couple things you said really strongly:
the ability to shut down and resist the flow of energy that comes from acting on the things I care about in an attempt to protect myself from discomfort.
Ok so that's weird, but i feel the exact some thing. To protect myself from discomfort. As if discomfort is such a bad thing? And it's easy to see that the things that i want to do are worth the discomfort, but yet i act to proctect myself from it. I dont understand this, but am learning to tolerate the discomfort.
It doesn't work, anyway, since the consequence is that I feel tense & unhappy and in conflict with myself.
yeah, that's the irony. It doesnt even work.
True strength comes from expressing my real abilities, giving back to the world by acting from who I really am -- my real integrity, values, talents, etc. And at work that means applying myself to doing my work as well as possible.
the yes i also go by this maxim. I have certain talents and skills, and it's my duty, a joyous duty, to use them to give back, as you say. This is step 3 of the 12 steps for me. God wants me to do my work, because he assigned it to me (indirectly).
I applaud both your willingness to admit this (the first step) and take steps to address it. I feel like i can tell that you're going to make progress. I'm certainly routing for you.
Procrastination & discomfort
Thanks for your thoughts! I know what you mean. . . sometimes I want to shake a little sense into my synapses and just get them to get it that a little discomfort isn't such a big deal.
I do have an idea, for myself, of why I'm so self-protective. As a young-un I really was very much overwhelmed by some things that were too much for me to handle, and I learned to shut down as a reflex. My brain internalized some thoughts that Kaoba summed up beautifully in another thread:
"Everything is difficult and complicated." and "Each task is infinite, it will never be finished and it will require all my time. Each possible action is a black hole into which I will disappear, never to be seen again."
Of course, these thoughts no longer apply now that I'm a grownup with a good set of resources, a support system, and tasks to do that are really not all that overwhelming. But try explaining that to my reflexes!
So I still tend to shut down and go into avoidant mode, and it's a matter of being aware of that and consciously taking a deep breath and choosing to try that next task and find out experientially that I can survive it. Or at least trying it for five minutes, or doing just the first step of it, or whatever. I can't just make my brain "get over it", but I can keep reconditioning it a little at a time.
Falcon and Clement,
Your comments really make a lot of sense to me. Thanks for sharing!