Monday, 24 March 2008

Addicted to doing nothing...Procrastination

The dictionary describes addiction as "A physiological and psychological compulsion for a habit-forming substance. In extreme cases, an addiction may become an overwhelming obsession."

I find the bit obsession very interesting, as for most of my life, I have found my self obsessing over one thing or another. Obsession is an interesting emotion, it can be likened to a feedback loop in a software program or the feedback you get when you put a speaker too near a microphone, there is that loud ear busting screech.

Obsession can fast become a debilitating condition that can alter the course of your life. I have found this emotion in many areas of my life, from my self confidence to my work, to my relationships.

I just had a conversation with my wonderful grandmother, she is so amazing, we speak on the phone for hours on end about all sorts of subject from art, philosophy, sexuality, love and more, she told me that with lack of self control, obsession and pathological behavior takes control, she also went on to say that low self esteem and low self image are part of this vicious cycle.

My central question at this very point is, Procrastination. Why do we do it? What does it serve us? Why do we sit and stare out the window, wash the dishes, vacuum the house, talk on the phone, go out with our friends, when we have so much work to do, projects to start, lists to write and opportunities to consider.

If your not sure what I mean, Enda Fleming is the classic procrastinator and is refenced repeatedly in Dante's The Divine Comedy as his refusal to make a decision between good and evil left him locked in purgatory neither ascending to heaven nor descending to hell.

It is about being locked in to a state of disconnect, and confusion, not acctually being able to break out of a situation.

I have often described my emotional state, as being trapped in side a glass box, I can see out, but noone can see in, to help me.

According to my research, procrastination and mental health are connected.

It has been found that procrastination can be a persistent and debilitating disorder in some people, causing significant psychological disability and dysfunction. These individuals may actually be suffering from an underlying mental health problem such as depression or ADHD.

While procrastination is a behavioral condition, these underlying mental health disorders can be treated with medication and/or therapy. Therapy can be a useful tool in helping an individual learn new behaviors, overcome fears and anxieties, and achieve an improved quality of life. Thus it is important for people who chronically struggle with debilitating procrastination to see a trained therapist or psychiatrist to see if an underlying mental health issue may be present.

Severe procrastination can cross over into internet addiction or computer addiction. In this instance the individual has a compulsion to avoid reality by surfing the web or playing video games (game addiction) or looking at online pornography (pornography addiction). Although these are relatively new phenomena, they are being considered as psychiatric diagnoses by mental health professionals.

Makes you think, are you addicted more then you think you are?

I have been wrestling with this puzzle for some time now, my life in London is pretty quiet at the moment, I am single, my job is become a drag and I feel like im loosing touch with my goals. Opportunities pop up all the time for me, but instead of grabbing them, I let things like Facebook, GDAR, msn, going out, day dreaming, get in the way. Why?

On the subject of self esteem and self confidence, it is something I also can not fathom, I have worked hard in trying to accept my self on the outside, but I have not fully accepted my self on the inside, I am in the situation of fake it to win it... maybe I have convinced my self that I am a good looking lad, but I havent really convinced my self that I am good enough or worthy on the inside.

I have bought the Paul McKenna's book, Instant Confidence, it comes with a CD to listen to, as well as exercises to help you feel more confident. There are a lot of exercises and a lot of things to do, and it does all seem like to much hard work, BUT, as Paul says, when you first got on a bicycle, did you just hop on and start riding straight away? No.. you had to practice and practice and practice.

Putting my self down and being negative to my self, is something I have done most of my life, I have had a lot of practice telling my self, I am not good enough, and then when I fail, I beat my self up and put my self down more. It is a vicious cycle, that I have to learn to break. I consider this behavior probably the single most limiting thing in my life, if I could remove my procrastinating, then I could excel and achieve.

In fact I know I WILL SUCCEED and I WILL EXCEL, (thanks Paul hehe)

If you find it hard to get on with things, get things done, I would be interested to hear what you think, on the flip side, if your one of these people that just get the job done, then I would also love to hear from you...

A list of things to do;

1. Do your filing
2. Finish those quotes for your project
3. Bill your clients for various projects (£800 +-)
4. Read some more books

I see the list and know I have to do it, but I zone out, switch off and a screen saver turns on in my mind...


A bit like the test pattern at night when tele wasnt on all night.

This never ending circle of thought that does not go anywhere, but take you around and around and around.

It is an addiction, an addiction to nothingness, to mediocre thoughts and lackluster potentials.

An addiction that may not kill me, but it may keep me from becoming the person I have always wanted to be.

Happy Easter Monday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found your post by google, using addicted to doing nothing. I had a rather sleepless night the other night and had the thought that I might be addicted to doing nothing. I was criticized by my generally supportive spouse the day prior to the sleepless night. Her comment was that I generally just like to hang around and read books all day and not apply anything that I learn, etc,etc. She is not really too happy with my lack of motivation and I admit, I really do have a lack of motivation.
Plus I recently picked up Louise Hay, "You Can Heal Your Life", kind of an eye opener with regard to health.
But really, really when I think about it, the thought of "being addicted to doing nothing" was when I recently watched a few shows about some strange addictions on cable TV. Some are really harmful and extreme, such as chewing on plastic and ingesting it, etc. But then they talked about hoarders, people that hoard stuff. I realized that they had some similarities to me, except I hoard time.
I generally don't like to do much of anything and if I have to it feels like I am losing time or wasting it, when I can just be sitting outside on a nice sunny day, or reading a good book, getting to learn something. It seems like I observe the world more than live in it, like the glass box you talk about. Doing is less interesting than being.
So I believe what you say in your post, that you can be addicted to doing nothing. And, it can even come all the way from childhood too. Personally I can remember being the same way a lot growing up.
So you are not alone, and it is hard to figure out, it seems kind of rare compared to other addictions, kind of hard to fix too without motivation. Kind of hard to work when it's not fun and you would rather stare at the monitor and do nothing, or pretend to work, what I call "simulating work" ,daydreaming rather than doing the dreaded assignment that the boss hands out and then only doing it at the last minute with excuses as to why it is going to be late. It is like you know that your career is in a death spiral, no one wants to have the "unmotivated come in late guy" on their project.
Good luck, to you and me too! I guess I will post this as anonymous, so that the boss may not fall upon it accidentally and see the truth and send me out the door, I guess I am a worrier too! Cheers!