It’s 4:30 P.M as I’m writing this and I’m definitely late. Can procrastinating in the writing of a post about procrastination be good? Probably not. Still, I was hoping that diving deep enough into the psychology of procrastination could lead me to something resembling a justification of my lifelong habits. You see, it’s a deeply personal issue for many of us. And I’m not really sure this isn’t self-centered and naive, but I ended up discovering some nice bits of info that I want to share with you.
You’re Not Alone
Across the centuries, each generation has seen Leonardo da Vinci as a genius, a polymath, the embodiment of Renaissance humanist ideals. With one exception. To his contemporaries, he was a little bit of a joke. Da Vinci was constantly starting new works and neglecting the ones he had already begun. The Mona Lisa? It took him five years and it was never declared completed. The Adoration of the Magi? Three years and, yes, it remains unfinished. Part of the reason for this is that Leonardo was an active – albeit helpless – procrastinator: his mind was drawn in many directions and his notebooks are fascinating evidence of his wandering intelligence. Which leads us to a further point.
Maybe You’re Doing Something Good
When we procrastinate, we’re rarely just lying on the couch staring at the ceiling. I mean, yes, we’re all prone to blanking and being absent-minded. But sometimes, the activity we’re not supposed to be doing ends up being more worthy than the one it’s replacing. Sometimes it’s hard to see beforehand what is important and what is a detour. For instance, google Leonardo’s sketchbooks to see how amazing they are. It’s comforting, and it’s also perfectly valid. At least if you’re not deceiving yourself.
What if it’s All Just Self-Deception?
The problem is that you need to listen to your procrastination. And, guess what, it’s tricky. While scrolling mindlessly your Instagram feed clearly doesn’t make you resemble Leonardo, sometimes it’s not so straightforward. Even if you’re a driver, sometimes you may feel stuck. Maybe that’s because some part of you deep down knows that this is your last chance to call a certain project off. Your mind may be subconsciously aware that something isn’t quite right. Or maybe your brain is just processing things. It’s only after some procrastination that you can have the right idea on how to go about the task you’re facing.
What to Make of All This?
I’m not sure that procrastination is good for you. We’re not Da Vinci and maybe we can’t get away with what he got away with. Still, by looking at him or countless other examples, we could start being more compassionate towards ourselves and others. I, for sure, get a sense of commonality. After all, we’re all fighting the same demons. More importantly, listen to your procrastination. Try figuring out what you’re putting off and why you’re doing it. You may end up discovering what really matters to you.
By all means, you’re procrastinating right now. But rather than beating yourself up, try seeing things from a new perspective. Listening to your procrastination means being mindful of your emotions and of what drives them. Even procrastination then can be a good thing. It can be the start of your journey to self-knowledge. Now, clear your mind and try to connect with your emotions. Are you self-sabotaging or are you engaging in active procrastination? Play the video below for some help in clearing your mind. Frankly, even if you don’t learn anything, it’s a great way to kill some time.