Kill the Instant Gratification Monkey

Kill the Instant Gratification Monkey.

So, this morning I woke up to find this article on my newsfeed.

The article is all about procrastination, which seemed oddly fitting since last night I didn’t write the blog for today (which I usually do), simply because I didn’t feel like it (which is my main reason for not doing something–even if it’s something I should be doing). Then, I woke up and my husband was reading something. When I asked him, what, he told me it was an article on procrastination my cousin had posted on Facebook.

Then I sat down to work on this blog, but first, I opened up my Facebook account and took a look at this article.

I feel like I was tricked, you know? I procrastinated by reading an article about procrastination. This damned article dragged me into the Dark Playground! It just isn’t fair!

In fact, I should know better. I wrote this article on why writers procrastinate a while back, so I really have absolutely no excuses. Unfortunately, though, it looks like my Instant Gratification Monkey is back for a while. Curses. Now I’m writing this blog last minute so I can hopefully publish it at noon like all my other articles. It looks like the Panic Monster doesn’t really become involved when you don’t have any real repercussions.

This goes back to another point I’ve made. Especially for writers who are writing for “themselves” (in other words, writers who have yet to publish or are not working as a writer for a company or a client), it can be difficult to hold yourself accountable. It actually takes quite a bit of discipline to make yourself get shit done and keep getting shit done. This is especially true when you have other things on your plate.

In reading the procrastination article, one point stood out to me more than anything else. Maybe it’s because this line, really, is kind of scary for creatives like me.

The writer said, ”Even if the procrastinator is in the type of career where the Panic Monster is regularly present and he’s able to be fulfilled at work, the other things in life that are important to him—getting in shape, cooking elaborate meals, learning to play the guitar, writing a book, reading, or even making a bold career switch—never happen because the Panic Monster doesn’t usually get involved with those things. Undertakings like those expand our experiences, make our lives richer, and bring us a lot of happiness—and for most procrastinators, they get left in the dust.”

These things, these passions and desires, are what we really need to worry about when it comes down to procrastination. Whatever the reason we procrastinate, whatever we think we’re acheiving by putting something off until tomorrow, seems silly when we think that there is a high likelihood that we will procrastinate our lives away.

Literally. If we writers and artists and creatives are not careful, we will procrastinate until we die and only then will we realize we never saw our dreams come true.

It’s not because we were overwhelmed. It’s not because we were scared. It’s not because we were bored. It’s because we didn’t stop to think about what was really important in our lives and force that Panic Monster to come up when we decided to skip writing a blog post last night, or when we didn’t finish that new painting by the New Year, or we figured we could just make the next play auditions.

Yes. I know. There are reasons we procrastinate and sometimes we may need to, but I, for one, am going to try to start living up to my own expectations.

Now. Anyone have any Instant Gratification Monkey traps? I think mine needs to relocate.

Cheers,
–MC

Categories: Habits, Writing

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