In defense of procrastination

If you have ADHD, you and I both know that you’ve scoured Google, Instagram, Pinterest, that fortune cookie in the drawer, and aaallll of the other places for solutions on how to stop procrastinating.

Honest question: how well has it worked for you?

The standard advice (“Make a list!” “Reward yourself for doing hard things!” “Make like a sneaker-swoosh AND JUST DO IT”) isn’t bad. It’s fine advice. It just doesn’t really address the root cause of procrastination:

Our thoughts about it.

REBEL

against the idea that procrastinating is the absolute worst thing a human could do.

The truth is, you’re still a valuable, super-lovable member of the world, even if you haven’t…

  • Done your taxes for the year
  • Gotten started on that project with the deadline that’s uncomfortably close all of a sudden
  • Replied to that two-week-old DM because it asked the innocuous, heavily-loaded question, “How’ve you been? :)”

Hey, hi there. You have a lot on your mind. You have ADHD. You have a human brain that was designed to conserve energy by avoiding effort that seems unrewarding.

Procrastination is just a logical conclusion that we often reach—not some damning character flaw you have to hack clean out of your life. It’s not even an actual problem, despite how vehemently you may disagree.

It’s just a thing you and I will do sometimes (perhaps more often than we’d like), and that’s totally fine. Congrats on being a certified human! This is part of the deal, buddy-boo.

REVEL

in the idea that you can be a gold-medal master procrastinator and STILL accept and love yourself—fully, persistently, and unconditionally. I know. I wouldn’t believe it either, but I’m my own evidence that this can be true.

Good news: like pretty much, oh, everything, “procrastination” is a 100% neutral concept. If you asked the Big Mystery (or God, the universe, pick your presence), “Is procrastination good or bad?” the answer would be, “No—and also yes,” or something equally cryptic, because guess what?

You get to choose and decide how you feel about procrastination.

You can choose to keep the standard, popular story: that procrastination is bad. That it means you’re lazy, unmotivated, irresponsible, bad at life, etc. That you need to figure out ways to “beat” it.

I recommend a more helpful story. As an example, I like to believe that procrastination:

  • Is just part of my creative process
  • Is something I do when I’m unclear on why I want to do the task ahead, or when I haven’t given myself a simple way to start & move forward
  • Is just something I can assume will always happen, to some extent… so why panic every time?

“But Ada!” you say. “If I thought that way, I’d be permanently lazy and unmotivated and I wouldn’t do anything to deal with my procrastination habit. Is that you want?!”

That’s not what I want, but I understand why you’d think that. I’ll ask what I asked you earlier: how helpful is your current story about procrastination? Do you like it? Is it helping you to create the results you want?

If so, totally keep it. I’m not here to change things that are already working for you!

But if it’s not working—if you still procrastinate and feel like shit because of it—just know that there are other options. There’s no right or wrong way to tell this story to yourself: you’re just finding a way that helps you move toward the outcomes you want.

Get some valuable answers out of this challenging question:

Why is procrastination actually fine?

Spend five minutes writing answers to this question and pay attention to what happens in your mind & body. I bet you’ll surprise yourself! Comment below and let me know how it goes, if you’d like some feedback.

Here’s to rebelliously judging your actions juuust a little less.  😉

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