Procrastinating mindfully

This week I have found myself slowly but steadily emerging from my meditation slump that I have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks. I have not quite come out on the other side of this obstacle course, but I can see the finish line. And the journey to the finish line is almost more fun than getting there, right? At the very least, it is educational and can give us some insight into our practice.

One of the things that I realised during this time was how strongly my meditation practice affects almost every other aspect of my daily life. A slump in my practice creates a ripple effect into other areas, such as work, training, and even socialising. For me personally, hitting the wall in my mindfulness and meditation practice, greatly affected my other activities, or, at the very least, my outlook on these activities, and the energy I had to allocate to them.

This is not all that surprising, considering how beneficial mindfulness and meditation practice is for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing concentration, and staying present in every moment and activity (not only when you meditate). So it should seem almost obvious that a glitch in our practice may lead to mindlessness seeping back into every other activity in our daily routine. And because of our potentially heightened awareness cultivated through previous practice, we are likely to experience this mindlessness through increased stress and anxiety, reduced concentration, depression, low energy, and procrastination.

While mindfulness is not about increasing our productivity and being able to cram more work into our already busy days, procrastination is usually not an ideal scenario either. As human beings, we have commitments and responsibilities that fill our days. I believe that mental wellbeing and a commitment to ourselves should always be a top priority, but sometimes we have responsibilities to others that we cannot always cancel on account of procrastination. There are many articles out online on how to stop procrastinating, but this is not one of them.

In my opinion, procrastination is a natural part of life. Whether you procrastinate because you are busy, stressed, low on energy, or you simply need time off, incorporating mindfulness and meditation practice into procrastination, transforms it into a tool to learn from, rather than be discouraged by. The slumps and lows of daily life are just as (if not more) necessary to our practice, as the highs. It is therefore important to stay grounded in the present moment even when you are procrastinating.

Procrastination tips: Don’t stop procrastinating, make the most of it instead!

1. The best way to procrastinate is to meditate. Especially when you are in a meditation slump. Sometimes just sitting down for 10, 5, or even 3 minutes can bring you back to the present moment and the task at hand.

2. Sometimes procrastination is unavoidable. You need to take a break. The important point here is to make a conscious decision to take a break, being fully aware of your decision. There is a subtle, yet very powerful difference between getting lost on social media, losing track of time while watching television, or staring at your to-do list without making actual progress, and consciously choosing to spend time on social media sites, watch television, or put away your to-do list and do something else.

3. Whatever activity you choose to do while procrastinating from doing other tasks, do that activity mindfully. This relates to the previous point, which concerned itself with how to start an activity. This point, however, concerns itself with how you do an activity. If you are watching a movie, watch the movie. Don’t play on your phone or type on your computer at the same time. If you are reading a book, read the book. Don’t have a movie or music on in the background. If you are doing dishes, do the dishes. Don’t think about what you need to do next. If you are taking a walk, take a walk. Don’t stare at your phone and forget about your surroundings. Do every activity mindfully and with attention.

Remember, whatever you do, no time is wasted as long as you stay present in each and every moment! 🙂 

 

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