Why it's not your fault when you procrastinate, it's ...
... the Instant Gratification Monkey!
While researching, I came across the - what a crazy name for a psychological pattern! But of course, it is much more important that there is something behind it (preferably something super strong to stay with the imagery). It does.
Tim Urban, himself a chronic procrastinator, deals intensively with procrastination, i.e., the art of putting off tasks. His 2016 TED Talk on the subject is legendary. The central question was: what goes on in the mind of a master procrastinator? Before answering, we must briefly review the initial situation.
Just playing a round of Candy Crush, checking Facebook for a moment, although we know full well that we should be doing something completely different - we all know that. And that's perfectly okay.
But some of us don't get out of that rabbit hole anymore. They slip into a dynamic that they can no longer control: the more important a task is, the more persistently these masters of procrastination avoid tackling it. They are well aware that they are acting irresponsibly and counterproductively and often also risk stress and anger – at least somewhere in the back room, their conscience is gnawing.
But that doesn't stand a chance.
Because Tim Urban found the Instant Gratification Monkey: a powerful adversary, a first-class seducer. Since its essence consists of short-term happiness, it is difficult to refuse its food. Anything that gives immediate satisfaction – preferably without effort – makes him happy. And especially us.
This means: Especially when there is something stupid or ungrateful to do, securing an immediate reward is all the more tempting. So the Monkey messes up our priorities by harnessing our desire for happiness - perfidious but effective.
What can we do against it?
As always, it all starts with trying to figure out what's actually going on. In this case: how often you fall into the Monkey's trap. Then it is necessary to brand him as a clear enemy of one's productivity. He's not a cute guy. He's there to make your life miserable!
There's only one thing to do: throw the ugly guy out wherever he meets you!
The way is easy. It's best to keep a tally: First, you determine how often the Monkey shakes the cage and tries to dissuade you from your plan. In phase two, you note how often you defeat him and how often he defeats you. At the end of each day, you will be billed.
Stay calm if the monkey shows up a lot at first. Stay relaxed and observe this for the next seven days. Most of the time, you will already see the first successes - you will have a better balance sheet in the end.
And don't stress if you don't. At least you unmasked the Monkey, and you're more aware of when and how often he seduces you. That's a great start! In time you will surely get the hang of it!
So, ready to hunt the Monkey?
It's that easy to track how often the Instant Gratification Monkey tries to seduce you - and how often you successfully defend yourself;)
This article is part of the first edition of the CHANGE JOURNAL. It is no longer included in the newer edition. But no matter: This is what it looks like in the very first CHANGE JOURNAL:
You are still welcome to download the template from us and try out the idea. Have lots of fun with it!