The 1 person who can stop your procrastination. And it's not you. Not really.)

So I actually woke myself up an hour early - at six - to get some writing in. No, you don't understand. Six for me is like four a.m. to others. This is huge. Because for a long while, I had been trapped by procrastination. Felt like I had an inability to self-regulate. But I did it, and this is how:
This is my time on procrastination. Any questions?
I found something that actually works for me. Or rather, someone. My future self. According to French researcher Christine Tappolet, consideration for your future self is really effective at combating procrastination:

"Procrastination involves the voluntary infliction of a burden (perhaps even pain) on our future self... harming [our] future self. ...Putting things off for the future self [to do] despite the burden (e.g., dirty dishes left in the sink to do later) clearly indicates a lack of concern for the future self." 

Yep. Control of your time really is in your hands.
Uh-huh. So passing the buck to your future self is a really shitty thing to do. I mean, you wouldn't trash your living room and then leave it for your kid to clean up. Cuz it's not cool. And you know it's not cool cuz you have a hot little number called empathy. And turning that empathy toward Future You, putting yourself in your future shoes, stops procrastination cold:

Trouble empathizing with that future you? Tappolet says you can learn to create empathy for Future You by paying attention to how you treat, and empathize with, other people and apply it to you:

"Remind[ing] ourselves that our future self is every bit as deserving as another human being of care."

And that's what turned me around and got me up instead of me slapping the ol' snooze button. My unwillingness to be a bastard to my future self. My unwillingness to burden her with the guilt and unmanageable workload that I could have lessened by taking care of shit NOW.

Yeah, my future self isn't this creepy. Unless she's pissed at me for slacking off.
And that's another thing. If the idea of willfully harming your future self is disturbing to you, let it be disturbing. Turns out science finds repulsion a really effective procrastinator-killer. And that forgiving yourself for procrastination leads to less procrastination, too. Sigh. Doncha love science? Yeah. Me, too. It's so...futuristic.


Tere Kirkland | February 16, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Crap, my future self probably hates me. Or do I hate my past self? It's a vicious cycle, really. I should stop.

Oh, and I'm totally with you on 6am, Zoe. I was barely out of bed by 750AM and got to work at 9. But It's quiet in my house then. And I'd probably get a lot of work done. Sounds like such a good idea... in theory. ;)

Misha | February 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Hahahaha so true... Maybe I would try it, but heaven knows that I don't need to try anything that might loop my mind another time.


june | February 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM

My future self probably thinks that my present self is hooked on Peanut Butter & heroin sandwiches by the way it's treated

Anonymous | February 17, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Dude, my future self always hates me because I make her sooooo tired!! :)

Lizard301 | February 17, 2011 at 1:10 PM

My future self has plans to hook up with your future self in the very near future. :)

Mista Jaycee | February 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM


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