MY #1 STRATEGY FOR DOING THINGS I HATE
It doesn’t matter how happy you are, or how successful you are. At some point or another you’re going to have to do something that you don’t want to do.
In my experience, people often have two types of reactions to this kind of work: stress and procrastination. The former is unavoidable. Doing something you hate will almost always be stressful. However, the latter, is both unnecessary, and ultimately self-destructive. That being said, although most people know that procrastination is a bad thing, they actually have no idea why.
I once faced the same problem. I was a notorious procrastinator. I went through extreme lengths to delay and avoid work I didn’t want to do. For example, in my first year of post-secondary studies, I took a math class that had lectures I really enjoyed. I was active in class discussions and kept up with most of my readings. Despite enjoying the actual class content, I was not looking forward to the 10 page paper due by the end of the term. In fact, on the last day of class, I still hadn’t even started my paper.
So what did I do?
I wrote an email to my Professor explaining to her why I didn’t want to do the paper. Honestly, I’m not proud of it, but I lied big time. I told her that I had been forced to work long hours at my job that made doing my paper almost impossible. Lucky for me, my Professor either bought my lie, or just took pity and actually dismissed me from the final paper entirely.
I’m happy I got off scotch free, but I never want to have to repeat that scenario ever again. The amount of stress and time it took for me to write that email, probably took more of a toll on me than the actual paper would have.
Still, it took me years to finally take action and do something about my bad habit. It started off slow: just doing my work a little earlier because I knew (like many others) that procrastination was a bad thing. But, a part of me didn’t really understand why it was such a bad thing. At the time, it seemed like putting off things we don’t want to do, or finding ways around them, was only natural.
So then, why is procrastination a bad thing?
The obvious answer is that the longer you put something off, the more stress it’ll cause you. But everyone knows that, and it doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the masses from continually procrastinating. In order to truly deal with procrastination, we need to dig deeper and see procrastination for what it really is:
Procrastination is the most rational form of resistance
It’s just like I said before: Procrastination seems to make sense! To most of us, it feels like a good idea to avoid something you don’t want to do. To beat procrastination, we need to change our image of a “good-life”. We need to understand that a good life is not about living stress free. In fact, I would argue that a good life needs stress. I know it’s an old cliché, but it’s a good one: “Anything worth doing in life is hard work”.
I believe that once we understand what procrastination truly is, and why it’s so dangerous, it becomes a lot easier to deal with things you hate doing. We need to learn to embrace the things we hate (at least in moderation), and to take care of them as soon as we can. Stop putting things off because it seems to make sense…. you’re wrong.
I plan to write a blog post that shares another strategy I use to deal with procrastination, but I hope for now that this simple little bit of knowledge helps people at least begin to make adjustments in their work habits and world views. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments about procrastination below. Let me know what you think!