There is a reason why missing deadlines stresses the heck out of us…it’s because they make us feel like time is running out. When time is running out, on a subconscious level, we associate it with death. For the procrastinator, this causes an internal conflict. On one hand, we postpone decisions while at the same time we do not want to miss the deadline and ultimately are waiting for the last minute. This routine increases our stress, costing us hours of sleep.
Yet, we continue this routine time and time again. We avoid making decisions in hopes they will postpone the inevitable end; when in fact it brings us closer to the impending doom – missing our deadlines. This routine and our inability to shake it bring any decision making ability we had to a grinding halt turning us into brainless Zombies.
Procrastinating Zombies wonder around aimlessly. They make no decisions; they often stay in their comfort zone. They may feel remorse about the future, yet they don’t take the decision to move forward.
To address this problem you have to attack it head-on. I’m experimenting these days with a new approach; you can call it the post-apocalyptic survivor approach.
This approach is simple and straight forward. The last thing a procrastinator needs is a deep theory to help him procrastinate more. When I feel myself turning into a “Procrastinating Zombie”, I force myself to focus on what’s important here and now. I only focus on the near future or as GTD practitioners call it: “My Next Actions”.
A post-apocalyptic survivor will have to constantly ask himself the following questions:
1# Will it matter a week from now?
If it won’t matter a week from now, it’s probably not important enough to make a decision about it altogether. If you have better things to do, do them first.
In a post-apocalyptic world, you need to live in the present. This eliminates pondering on something too much. If you can’t see immediate benefits, then it is probably interfering with a much more important decision you should be making.
2# Is my decision making process influenced because of an emotional state?
“Only people with full stomach can feel remorse.” Someone Smart…
As hard and selfish as it may sound, in a post-apocalyptic world, you must put emotions aside and take care of “Numero Uno”. Most of the time, we are surrounded by people who prey on our resources with guilt or try to invoke empathy making reaching a decisions and taking actions even harder.
To be clear, I am not saying we shouldn’t help those around us, but when we’re stuck in a brainless zombie state…The focus should be us.
3# Are you taking ownership and responsibility?
Following someone’s lead means you’re not making any decisions. Someone else is doing them for you; this is very convenient, if you’re a mindless zombie. Once you stop following other people’s decisions and start making your own, you must follow-through. Making decisions on its own is not enough to survive the decision making apocalypse.
Lack of action after you’ve reached a decision can cause remorse on such a level that you’ll avoid making a decision again in fear that you’ll fail. Don’t fail yourself, be accountable for the decisions you make.
Remember, challenge yourself! Our comfort zone may feel nice and cozy but that’s only because we are doing the same things over and over again… that’s exactly what a brainless zombie does. The post-apocalyptic survivor approach will help you break the routine when you need it the most!
* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.