I remember when I was a child, I use to alway distract myself by daydreaming, by inventing things, by building things… There was no internet, and my parents didn’t allow TV.
No wonder why I had trouble dealing with anything emotionally challenging with my life. I had wished these challenges would go away rather than me facing them. I mainly lived my childhood in denial of these challenges.
This could be the reason behind my cyclic depressions, but it’s even more likely that it’s the reason behind the times when I procrastinate.
It seems that I procrastinate when my mind is full of painful thoughts. Thoughts which I refuse to accept. And so, to dull the pain, I distract myself from these thoughts. When I sit to work, these thoughts seep back in. I feel pain again. That’s when I resort to distractions; thus procrastination.
When I sit with my thoughts in the morning and watch them, accept them, and resolve them. Things change. I can then sit and work, without these thoughts seeping back in. And in case they do, then I’m already familiar with them. I’ve already resolved some of them. I’m already aware of the unresolved ones, they’re usually less painful, and I’m already on my way to resolving them.
I don’t need distractions because I’ve removed the source of the pain. And it’s this pain that called for the distractions. Instead of treating the symptoms, like Prozac, I treated the root cause.
And I’m even much more productive during the day, compared to the days when I don’t sit with my thoughts but force myself not to get distracted. Rather than spending much effort and attention preventing distractions, instead I spend these resources on being productive.
I understand that some people distract themselves from their thoughts and problems with work. Those are the constantly productive people who feel the pain of their thoughts when they stop working. This works when their work isn’t a source of emotional pain. That’s when their work becomes the distraction. And being productive doesn’t necessarily mean contentment.
For the rest of us, for now, we can try sitting with our thoughts and enjoying intense productivity for a change.
P.S. There’s another vital dimension to this that I’ll share later.