‘People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh
By Leo Babauta
The end of procrastination is the art of letting go.
I’ve been a lifelong procrastinator, at least until recent years. I would put things off until deadline, because I knew I could come through. I came through on tests after cramming last minute, I turned articles in at the deadline after waiting until the last hour, I got things done.
Until I didn’t. It turns out procrastinating caused me to miss deadlines, over and over. It stressed me out. My work was less-than-desirable when I did it last minute. Slowly, I started to realize that procrastination wasn’t doing me any favors. In fact, it was causing me a lot of grief.
But I couldn’t quit. I tried a lot of things. I tried time boxing and goal setting and accountability and the Pomodoro Technique and Getting Things Done. All are great methods, but they only last so long. Nothing really worked over the long term.
That’s because I wasn’t getting to the root problem.
I hadn’t figured out the skill that would save me from the procrastination.
Until I learned about letting go.
Letting go first came to me when I was quitting smoking. I had to let go of the “need” to smoke, the use of my crutch of cigarettes to deal with stress and problems.
Then I learned I needed to let go of other false needs that were causing me problems: sugar, junk food, meat, shopping, beer, possessions. I’m not saying I can never do these things again once I let go of these needs, but I let go of the idea that they’re really necessary. I let go of an unhealthy attachment to them.
Then I learned that distractions and the false need to check my email and news and other things online … were causing me problems. They were causing my procrastination.
So I learned to let go of those too.
Here’s the process I used to let go of the distractions and false needs that cause procrastination:
I paid attention to the pain they cause me, later, instead of only the temporary comfort/pleasure they gave me right away.
I thought about the person I want to be, the life I want to live. I set my intentions to do the good work I think I should do.
I watched my urges to check things, to go to the comfort of distractions. I saw that I wanted to escape discomfort of something hard, and go to the comfort of something familiar and easy.
I realized I didn’t need that comfort. I could be in discomfort and nothing bad would happen. In fact, the best things happen when I’m in discomfort.
And then I smile, and breathe, and let go.
And one step at a time, become the person I want to be.
‘You can only lose what you cling to.’ ~Buddha
“人们总是对他们遭受的苦难难以释怀。与其面对未知的恐惧，他们宁愿承忍受那些熟悉的痛苦。” — THich Nhat Hanh
但是我无法停止拖延。我尝试了许许多多的方法。我尝试过时间盒子、目标设定、责任制、番茄工作法、以及GTD（Getting Things Done）。这些都是很棒的方法，但是只能维持一段时间。长期效果都不明显。
“失去的只会是那些你所依赖的东西。” — Buddha