I didn’t know what to do next so I procrastinated

When you procrastinate, it’s usually by allowing yourself to do something fun, like watch seventeen episodes of Heroes season 3.

Just kidding. Season 3 didn’t have seventeen episodes, and it was also terrible television.

There’s a different way procrastination creeps up on you. I think this one is way worse. It has nothing to do with laziness or wanting to relax and forget your professional life exists. This particular palette of procrastination arises when you don’t know what you should do next.

It’s that limbo of having finished a task and wondering what your next one should be.

This limbo is lethal. You can spend hours just refreshing your email list, going through your advertising software (there’s no need to analyze the ads you created 10 minutes ago), or making quadruply sure there are no new emails. Emails you wouldn’t need to respond to anyway.

This limbo is where creativity and productivity go to die because you’re too uncertain about what the next course of action should be.

It’s not that you don’t have tasks.

You have motherfucking tasks on top of motherfucking tasks.

It’s just….which one is the most important?

And if none of them are, can you just take a break?

NO!

These tasks exist for a reason, but creating infinite to-do lists with no real schedule is not helpful to get you out of limbo.

Oh look….an email notification. Hang on.

It wasn’t important.

Now, where was I?

Oh right. Procrastination.

The thing about being creative is that you get a lot of ideas. Getting lots of ideas is inherently positive, but unless you figure out a way to organize these thoughts into plans so that they become real creations, they just take up mental space in your brain, and you end up hating yourself for never achieving anything.

If you have too many ideas and no priority or purpose for those ideas, then you’ll end up doing nothing. Sometimes too much of a good thing leads to zero action, just like too many options ends up with you skipping the decision entirely.

So…let me stare blankly into the air, tear my hair and feel sorry for myself for a second here because I don’t want to write this article right now.

I mean, I do. I told myself I’d write daily for Medium for a month and since I’ve run out of articles to republish I’m stuck with creating original thoughts. Original thought is always the hardest because it actually takes work.

That’s why so many high performers have an easy time teaching those that are starting out. There’s no original thought involved, just a rehash of what they’ve already done. It’s easy to talk about what’s worked for you because you’ve already done it. You don’t need to go through that struggle of leveling up again. You just tell the story of how you did it. Sure, you might talk about how you struggled back then, but the storytelling part is easy.

Aaaaand…..now I’m to 500 words so I think I’m going to call it for a day.

Was there a lesson in there? Who knows. Maybe?

If there was one maybe it was this:

If you get too many ideas make sure you write them down. Then break them down into tasks. Then prioritize those tasks and put them on your calendar. That way you’ll have a plan of action and know exactly what you should do next. The less time you have to think between tasks, the less momentum you lose and the less you procrastinate.

I hope that makes sense. Either way, I’m hungry, and it’s lunchtime.

Cheers,
Björgvin

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