Modern life can be quite complicated and, like most people, I often have a lot of things that I need to get done on a daily basis.
Sometimes, however, I find it hard to motivate myself to get things done in a productive and efficient manner.
Even completing simple everyday tasks can be a struggle.
Instead of addressing a task properly, I often come up with temporary solutions that allow me to extend the amount of time that I can remain in denial about the task’s existence.
However, what initially began as a small manageable task eventually transforms into a monumental obstacle and the pressure of directly engaging with it can be overwhelming.
Recently, I have been asking around for advice on how to be more consistently productive.
One of my friends told me that I should try reading a self-help book which suggested that they cared about my wellbeing but considered the challenge of transforming me into a functioning human being so huge and intimidating that they were reluctant to become directly involved.
Nevertheless, a few days later, I went to a bookshop and sought out the self-help section.
The first book that caught my eye looked like this.
I hadn’t been feeling particularly worried when I had first entered the bookshop but looking at the book immediately made me worried about whether I was the sort of person who should be worried about whether I was living or not.
I picked up the book, turned it over and read the blurb.
In the back of my mind, I knew that the blurb was referring to common issues that many people experience on a regular basis.
However, because it was doing so within the guise of individuality, I felt that it was speaking directly to me.
In addition, the prospect of overcoming anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of motivation appealed to me.
It was as if I was a protagonist from a book or movie on a mission to overcome great evil…
Except I was fighting against the most underwhelming antagonist in existence – my own epic laziness.
I reasoned that spending £8.99 on a book that felt it necessary to boldly assert the fact that it ‘really does work’ was a totally logical idea.
I thought that maybe one day I could help other people to help themselves by writing my own self-help book about how somebody else’s self-help book had helped me to help myself.
‘Stop Worrying and Start Living’ presented several strategies to help me stop procrastinating and start getting things done.
Reading about how I was going to get things done in the future made me feel very productive.
As a result, I was less bothered by the fact that I had things that I needed to get done.
By the time I had finished the book, I was felt thoroughly prepared to start living my life to the fullest.
However, it was getting quite late.
So I decided that it was probably best to seize the day another day.
I still wanted to be productive though and therefore decided to do some preparation so that when I did seize the day, I could seize it with as much efficiency as possible.
I sat down and started to type a ‘to-do’ list on my computer.
However, turning on my computer left my newfound focus exposed and vulnerable as it provided me with direct access to the internet.
The internet is littered with various pieces of content that are specifically designed to completely and utterly eradicate any semblance of concentration or focus that you have previously established.
This content is called clickbait.
Social media sites in particular are breeding grounds for clickbait with features such as the share button creating perfect conditions under which these articles can rapidly multiply.
Because most of the content posted on social media is relatively short, it is easy to click on an article under the illusion that you are taking a brief break from being productive.
However, each piece of content is linked within a seemingly infinite network of even more content.
By clicking on an article, you are heading straight into a trap.
I took a short break from writing my to-do list by clicking on a link to a 10 second video of a cat in a box.
Before I knew it, it was 2am and the combined length of all the cat videos that I had watched was the equivalent to that of a Lord of the Rings extended edition film marathon.
I guess what we can learn from this is that a significant part of self-improvement is learning the art of self-control.
It is important to limit the amount of time that we spend doing instantly gratifying activities and invest the more satisfying, longer-term benefits of sustained hard work.
On that note, if you enjoyed this post, here are some more posts that may provide you with fleeting sense of satisfaction: