Tell me if you've ever had this problem.
You have a big list of things to do. Like a good little person, you arrange it in order from most important to least important, with the highest priority item on top. Then you stare at that daunting task and just can't quite bring yourself to do it. But you don't want to cheat on your extremely important, properly prioritized to-do list by skipping to the mostly irrelevant stuff at the bottom of the list. So you grit your teeth and force yourself to do that big 'ol scary task.
An hour of farting around on Youtube and Twitter or whatever later, you refocus your efforts. This time you're going to do the task. No excuses.
An hour later, you find yourself crawling out of the black pit of despair called "the 24/7 news cycle" and you still haven't started on that big scary task.
I've found a way of dealing with this problem that works for compulsive, undisciplined schlubs like me. It's called "proactive procrastination", also known as "eat your dessert first," or put directly: it doesn't matter what you do, do something.
Fold some laundry. Eat a sandwich. Go to the bathroom. Tidy your desk. Send an email to your mom. Anything!
At least for idiots like me, I've found doing literally anything even marginally productive has a few key benefits:
- It harnesses my distracted and procrastinating nature to get something done
- It guarantees that I will have something to show for my efforts that day
- It unsticks my compulsive brain from being stonewalled so I can settle into a higher priority task afterwards
It's not a very long blog post, it's not a very insightful topic, and even though I've got a huge daunting to-do list in front of me, I chose to write this, probably one of the least productive things I could do today.
But it doesn't matter what you do, do something.