Avoiding the Dark Playground

Dark Playground people
A large part of the quarter-life-crisis is based on self-loathing. A lot of the self-loathing is caused by procrastination and your amazing ability to waste the whole day. It’s true there is such a thing as positive procrastination, but it is really easy to spend a lot of your time in the ‘dark playground’ (you’ll know what this means when you’ve read this amazing article on waitbutwhy.com). When you’re at school or at uni, you know that the panic will set in and that you’ll start writing your essay at some point before the deadline (or extension deadline if you’re crafty.) When you have finished school or uni, there is no deadline except your own death at the end of a sad life where you refreshed your email on your phone or wrote to-do lists of things you had already done every day for 50 years.

I found this article helpful. It’s about why we procrastinate. For some reason the naming of the Dark Playground, and realising how many people spend their time there, felt like joining an Anonymous Procrastinators club where no Instant-Gratification monkeys were allowed.
Read on: Why procrastinators procrastinate

Then they wrote a sequel which suggests ways to beat procrastination:
How to beat procrastination

I asked my friends how they beat procrastination and they had the following tips:

Compartmentalise: Reduce the task, so you don’t say you’re going to write your essay, you say you’re going to open the word doc and write one line. By the time you’ve done that the chances are you’ll do more.

Close the door: When you do any task like job-hunting or writing an article or a proposal, leaving the door open is a symbol to other people that you don’t mind being interrupted. More than that, even if no one else is in the house it still sends some kind of weird signal to yourself that you’re not dedicated to the task.

Ignore the audience: When you set out to write a book, it’s hard to not think about the review in the paper and the Man Booker award. Or when you start a blog, it’s hard not to write for your peers who might like it on facebook. Or when you start a new social venture, it’s easy to think about how it will change the world. Daydreaming is fine, but make sure it doesn’t grow into such a big, ground-breaking task that you’re too intimidated by it and won’t start.


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