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ByTimUrban

Note:Tobestunderstandthispost,youshouldfirstreadPart1ofWaitButWhyspreviousposton
procrastination.
___________
Backinhighschool,ifyouhadaskedmeifIwereaprocrastinator,Iwouldhavesaidyes.Highschool
studentsaregivenalltheselecturesaboutpacingyourselfonlongerprojects,andIproudlypaced
myselflessthanalmostanyoneIknew.Inevermissedadeadline,butIonlydidanythingthe
nightbeforeitwasdue.Iwasaprocrastinator.

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ExceptIwasnt.Highschoolisfullofregulardeadlinesandshort-termprojects,andevenlongterm
projectshadsub-deadlinesthatforcepacinguponyou.Therewereafewdiremoments,butforthe
mostpart,IwasjustdoingeverythingatthelastminutebecauseIknewIcouldprobablystilldowell
thatwaysowhynot.
1

TherewasdefinitelyanInstantGratificationMonkey inmyhead,buthewascutemorethan
2
anything.Withdeadlinesloomingconstantly,myPanicMonster wasneverfullyasleep,andthe
monkeyknewthatwhilehecouldhavesometimeatthewheeleachday,hewasnttheoneincharge.

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Oneday,highschoolended,andsodidmylifeasasomewhatnormal-actingperson.Collegeisnotlike
highschool.Theassignmentsarebig,withalotoftimebetweendeadlines,andsinceyourenotachild
anymore,classesdonttreatyoulikeonenooneforcesyoutopaceanything.AsaGovernmentmajor,
mostofmyclassesinvolvedacouplepapers,amidterm,andafinalexamoverafour-monthstretch,
whichmeansmostofthetime,therewerenoharddeadlinesanywhereonthehorizon.
Withoutdeadlinestooccupyhim,myPanicMonster,whocantthinktoofarahead,begantospenda
lotoftimeinhibernation.MyRationalDecision-Maker,whoneverrealizedhowmuchhehadreliedon
thePanicMonster,begantohavedifficultiescarryingouthisplans.

ThemorethePanicMonsterslept,themoreconfidencethemonkeygained.TheRationalDecisionMaker,theonlymemberofthebrainwhoseestheworldclearly,wasconcernedheknewthatcollege
assignmentswerealotbiggerthanhighschoolassignments,andthatpacingwasnolongersomething
toscoffat,butacriticalthingtodo.Hedputhisfootdownaboutsocialcommitmentswhenadeadline
begantodrawcloser,butthatwouldntsolvetheproblem.

TheRDMwouldslipfurtherintodespair,andonlythetimeswhenthingsreachedtheirmostdirewould
anythingchange.

ItdidntmatterhowobviousadecisionseemedtotheRDM,itwasbecomingclearthathewastotally
unabletocontrolthemonkeywithoutthePanicMonstershelp.

WhilecollegewasoftenadishearteningexperienceformyRDM,itwasafullrenaissanceformyInstant
GratificationMonkey,whoexploredawiderangeofactivitiesinanefforttofindhimself.WithaYamaha
electrickeyboardrightnexttomydesk,themonkeybecameincreasinglypassionateaboutplayingthe
piano.ItalmostseemedlikethetimesmyRDMwasstompinghisfootthehardestaboutgettingto
workweretheexactmomentsthemonkeywouldfeelthemostspiritedaboutputtingonthe
headphonesandbecominglostforhoursinthepiano.
Whencollegeended,thrilledtobedoneforeverwithformaleducation,whichwasclearlynotmything,
Iburstoutintotheworldwith1,000ambitionstodo1,000things.Justwaittilltheworldsawme.Ihad
everythingimaginabletoofferexceptknowledge,skills,andworkethic.
MyRDMhaddonealotofthinkingaboutthis,andheunderstoodthatthemonkeyhadspentcollege
tryingtotellhimsomethingimportantIwantedtobeacomposer.ThatwasclearlythethingIwas
mostdrawnto,andfinally,itwouldbecomethethingIwassupposedtodoeachday.Nomorefighting
themonkeyhewasgoingtogetexactlywhathewanted.Ihadfiguredoutlife,andImovedtoLAto
writemoviescores.
Inordertopaymybills,IbegantutoringkidsafterschoolontheirhomeworkorfortheSAT,asidejobI
chosebecauseitwouldntdistractmefrombecomingthenextJohnWilliams.Itwastheperfectsetup,
Iwasbrimmingwithexcitementaboutmusic,andthingswerestartingtomovewhentheweirdest
thinghappened.JustwhenIwassureIhadfoundmyself,themonkeybegansoulsearching.Whenthe
RDMandIwouldsitdownatthepianotowritesomethingtheexactactivitythemonkeyspentcollege

obsessedwiththemonkeywouldthrowafitandrefusetojoinus.TheRDMbegantofeelhelpless,the
samewayhedidincollege.
Meanwhile,themonkeyhadfoundanewinteresthehadbecomefixatedwithmysidejob.Tutoring
wasgoingwell,referralswereincreasing,andwhiletheRDMwouldinsistthatwewerealreadyworking
withtoomanystudents,themonkeywouldaccepteverynewjobthatcameourway.Soon,themonkey
startedthinkingbigger,andwithoutrunningitbytherestofus,hebeganhiringmyfriendstotutorfor
me.TheRDMwouldwakeupeagertodiveintocomposing,butthewholedaywouldendupbeing
spentonphonecallsandburiedinspreadsheets.Themonkeyhadstartedabusiness.
MybrainandIendedupinanunpleasantno-mansland.Themonkeyrefusedtoletuspourourselves
intoourmusiccareer,andtheRDMrefusedtoembracethemonkeysnewbusinesscareer.Iwas
doingalotofthingsandnotgivingmyalltoanyofthem.

ItwasaroundthenthatmybestfriendAndrewmovedtoLA.Andrewisntlikeme.Helivesand
breathesbusiness,withnointerestinpursuinganythinginthearts,andeversinceImethimwhenwe
werefive,hismonkeyhasbeenatamelittlebitchwhodoeswhathestold.Afterhemoved,westarted
talkingaboutmaybegoingintobusinesstogethersomehow.MyRDMhadrefusedtoentertaintaking
businessseriouslyuntilthen,buttheprospectofstartingacompanywithAndrewandactuallyputting
afulleffortintoitwasenticingandthemonkeywasclearlyintoit,somaybethiswasthethingIwas
supposedtobedoingallalong.Idecidedtodivein,andbuildingoffofwhatIhadstarted,wefounded
anewtutoringcompanytogether.
TheRDMstillwrestledwiththedecisiontoputapauseonthemusicsideofthings,butthecompany
wasgrowingquickly,beinginbusinesswithAndrewwasagreattimelikeplayingacomplexstrategy
gamewithyourfriendandtheRDMfinallystartedtofeelokayaboutbecomingtotallywrappedupin
business.
Whichwasthemonkeyscuetobecomeanavidblogger.

Ihadbeencasuallybloggingforafewyearsatthatpoint,butbusinesstakingoffwasjustwhatthe
monkeyneededtokickhisnewwritinghobbyintofullgear,andoverthenextfewyears,Iwrote
hundredsofblogpostsinmyoffhours.Iwentintoworkeveryday,andIdbeengagedwhileIwas
therebutinsteadofdoingwhatanentrepreneurissupposedtodooutsideofworkandkeepthe
wheelsturning,mullingoverthestrategyandallowingthesubconscioustodropkeyepiphaniesonyou
fromtimetotime,Idbethinkingaboutwhattoblogaboutnext.
In2013,whenAndrewandIdecidedtostartsomethingnew,welookedatmymonkey,sawhow
absorbedhealwayswaswithhisblog,andthoughtmaybethatwasthethingIwassupposedtobe
doingthiswholetimesowestartedWaitButWhy.Andrewwouldcontinuetogrowourcompany

whileIdfullyimmersemyselfinthisnewproject,givingthemonkeyexactlywhathesobadlywanted.
___________
WhatwasclassicprocrastinationincollegemorphedintoabizarreformofinsanityonceIenteredthe
realworld.Onaday-to-day,microlevel,therewasstillalwaysanelementofthenormalRDMtries
todosomething,monkeymakesitdifficultthing,butinabroader,macrosense,itwasalmostasifI
werechasingthemonkey.Afterhedefeatedmesosoundlyincollege,Iwonderediffightingagainst
himinthefirstplacewasmymistake.Hesbornfromsomeinner,primalpartofme,sowouldntit
makesensetopayattentiontohisinclinationsandusethemasmyguide?
SothatswhatItriedtodowhenhedbecontinuallydrawntosomething,Ideventuallytakehislead
andbuildmylifearoundthat.Buttheproblemwas,hewasalmostlikeamirageonceIdgettowhere
hewas,hewouldntbethereanymore.Hedbesomewhereelse.Thiswasconfusingwashethere
beforebecauseheactuallywantedtobe,orwashejusttherebecauseitwaswheretheRDMwasnot?
Didheactuallyhavepassionsofhisown,orwashejustsomeelusiveevilcontrarianinsideofmewitha
missiontoholdmebackfromeverdoinganythinggreatwithmytalentsandenergies?
Lastyear,IcameacrossalittlediagramthatIthinkholdsthekeytothesequestions.Itscalledthe
EisenhowerMatrix:

TheEisenhowerMatrixplacesanythingyoucouldspendyourtimedoingontwospectrums:onegoing
fromthemosturgentpossibletasktotheleasturgent,theothergoingfromcriticallyimportantto
totallyinconsequentialandusingtheseasaxes,dividesyourworldintofourquadrants.
ThematrixwaspopularizedinStephenCoveysfamousbook,TheSevenHabitsofHighlyEffective

PeopleandisnamedafterPresidentDwightEisenhower.Eisenhowerwaswell-knownforbeing
tremendouslyproductive,whichCoveycreditstohisfirstthingsfirstattitudeonhowtospendyour
time.AndtoEisenhower,thefirstthingswerealwaystheimportantones.Hebelievedyoushould
spendnearlyallofyourtimeinQuadrants1and2,andheaccomplishedthiswithasimpleD-wordfor
eachquadrant:

AndthatsfantasticforDwightfuckingEisenhower.ButyouknowwhatDwightclearlydidnthaveinhis
baldhead?Anall-powerfulInstantGratificationMonkey.Ifhehad,hedknowthataprocrastinators
matrixlookslikethis:

IfyoueverwantanyinformationonQuadrant4directions,placestoeat,etc.justaska
procrastinator.Theylivethere.Foranon-procrastinator,Q4isahappyplacetospendtime.Aftera
productivedayworkingonimportanttasks,itfeelsgreattokickbackinQ4andunderthose
circumstances,theresanameforQ4:TheHappyPlayground.Butprocrastinatorsdonttendtohang
outinQ4afteranefficientdayofhigh-levelworktheyretherefarmoreoftenthanthat,againsttheir
will,becausethemonkeyhasdraggedthemthere,allwhiletheRationalDecisionMakerisbeggingthemtoleave.AndtheyhaveadifferentnameforQ4:TheDarkPlayground.
AsforQuadrants1and3theurgentquadrantsmostprocrastinatorswillenduptherefromtimeto
time,usuallyinafullsweat,withthePanicMonsternexttotheirfacescreaming.Q1andQ3keepthe
procrastinatoroffthestreets.
AndthentheresQuadrant2.Toaprocrastinator,Quadrant2isastrangeandforeignland,far,far
away.KindoflikeAtlantis,orNarnia.Heknowsitsanimportantplace,andhestriedmanytimestogo
there,buttheresabigproblemthemonkeyisrepulsedbyit,andthePanicMonsterisntconcerned
withit.Andthatsthedeadlycombothatdefeatstheprocrastinatoreverytime.

Thereasonthisisdisastrousisthattheroadtotheprocrastinatorsdreamstheroadtoexpandinghis
horizons,exploringhistruepotential,andachievingworkhestrulyproudofrunsdirectlythrough
Quadrant2.Q1andQ3maybewherepeoplesurvive,butQ2iswherepeoplethrive,grow,and
blossom.
Butifyoureaprocrastinator,youreinluck.Youhaveanaceupyoursleevesomeonedaringand
fearless,withbountifulenergyanddynamictalent,andsomeonewhocandefeatthemonkeylike
steppingonanant:FutureYou.
FutureYouisaprocrastinatorsmostimportantallysomeonewhosalwaysthereandalwayshasyour
back,nomatterwhat.Iknowallaboutthisfirsthand.FutureTimisanamazingguy.
WhenmyalarmgoesoffandIdontwanttowakeup,Ijustpressthesnoozebutton,whichdolesout
thejobofgettingoutofbedtoFutureTiminstead.Myto-dolisthastwopartsashort,easyonefor
me,andalongone,fullofallthethingsIcantimagineeverdoing,becausetheyresoicky-seeming.
FutureTimalwayshandlesthatone,withoutacomplaint.FutureTimalsohasnoproblemwitheventhe
vilestofsocialobligations.Iwasrecentlyinvitedtoattendafeedback-givingsessionforathree-hourlongplaywrittenbysomeoneIbarelyknowIcertainlyhadnointentionofeverdoingthat,butIwould
alsohavefeltguiltyjustsayingno,soIexplainedthatIhaveabusycouplemonths,butthatIdbemore
thanhappytojoinwhenithappensagainthissummer,atimewhenitllbeFutureTimsproblem,not
mine.
FutureTimalsohasadisciplineandbalancetohislifestyleIcouldonlyeverdreamof.Iveneverbeen
muchofanexerciserbutFutureTimbelongstoagymanddoesallthejoggingforbothofus,andI
lovehowintocookinghealthymealsFutureTimis,becauseIpersonallydonthavethetime.FutureTim
isthekindofguyweallwanttobelikeIsuggestgettingtoknowhimyourself,whichyoucandoby
buyinghisbooks,sincehesaprolificauthor.
ButthemostimportantroleFutureTimplaysinmylifebringsusbacktotheEisenhowerMatrix.Ina
convenientstrokeoffate,FutureTimhappenstospendalmostallofhistimeintheoneplaceIcan
neverseemtogettomyself:theall-importantQuadrant2.FutureTimisQuadrant2swarden,and
whenImakealistofimportantto-doitemsandnoticethatmostofthemseemtolandinQ2,Idont
havetodespair,becauseIknowFutureTimisontopofthem.Whichisgood,consideringhowdirea
situationPastTim,thatuselessfuck,hasoftenleftmein:

ButforallofFutureTimsvirtues,hehasonefatalflawthatkindofruinseverything:hedoesntexist.
ItturnsoutthatFutureYouisasmuchofamirageasthemonkeyspassionforahobby.Ibankedon
FutureTimsreal-worldexistenceformymostimportantplans,buteverytimeIdfinallyarriveatatime
whenIthoughtIwouldfindFutureTim,hewasnowheretobefoundtheonlypersontherewouldbe
stupidPresentTim.ThatsthethingthatreallysucksaboutFutureYouwhenevertimefinallygetsto
him,hesnotFutureYouanymore,hesPresentYou,andPresentYoucantdothetasksyouassigned
toFutureYoubecausethosetaskscanonlybedonebysomeonewithoutamonkey.Youassignedthem

toFutureYouinthefirstplacebecausehedoesnthaveamonkeythatwasthewholepoint.Soyoudo
whatyoualwaysdoyoure-delegatethemtoFutureYou,hopingthatnexttimetimecatchesupwith
FutureYou,heactuallyexists.
Thisiswhatleftmeunable,foryears,togivelifemyfulleffort.Theimportantworktobedoneusually
livesinQ2,aplaceIhadahardtimegoingto,soIddirecttheextraenergytoapassionatehobby
instead.Themonkeywouldgetsuperintothesehobbies,becausehobbiesare,bydefinition,inQ4
aplacethemonkeylovestobe.
SohereswhatwentonwhenIwassupposedtobepursuingacomposingcareer:

AndwhenIdecidedtofollowthemonkeysleadandtakeonbusiness,Iwasmissingthekeypoint:
takingonbusinessmeantmakingbusinessthethingIwassupposedtodo,whichturneditfroma

notimportanttaskintoanimportantonemovingbusinessfromQ4,themonkeysfavoriteplace,to
Q2,hisleastfavoriteplace.

ThefactthatIexpectedthemonkeytoremainobsessedwithbusinessaftertheswitchtoQ2shows
howlittleIunderstoodthemonkey.Themonkeyspassionneverwasmusic,orbusiness,orblogging
themonkeyspassionwasalwaysQ4.

AndthethingthemonkeyreallylikesaboutQ4isntanythingaboutQ4inparticularitsthatQuadrant

4isntQuadrant1or2.Themonkey,whosecoredriveistodowhateverseasiest,cantstand
theimportantquadrants,becausetheimportantquadrantsarewherethepressuresonitswhere
theressomethingtoprove,whereyouractionshaveconsequences,wherethestakesarehigh,and
whereyoureshootingforthestars,whichmeansyoumightfailtoreachthem.Nofuckingthanks,says
themonkey.Writing300blogpostswhileIwassupposedtobedreamingupbrilliantbusinessgrowth
strategieswasnteasyinthesensethatIdidnthavetoworkhardtowritethemitwaseasyinthat
therewasnothingatstake.Stakesarereallywhatshardforahuman.
___________
WhenIstartedwritingpostsforWaitButWhy,IknewIwantedtowriteaboutprocrastination.Ineeded
totrytoarticulatethemadnessthatwentoninmyhead.Afterassigningthatdauntingmissionto
FutureTimforawhile,Ifinallybitthebulletanddidit.
Thereactionwasoverwhelming.Inadditiontotheover1,300commentsonthetwoposts,heresthe
breakdownofemailsIvereceivedfromreaders:

Therehavebeenthousandsofemails.Apparentlythiswholethingisntjustme.
Andtheemailsarentquick,HeyIlikedtheprocrastinationpostsbyenotestheyrethorough.And
heartfelt.Agoodnumberofthemmentionthatthepostsmadethemcry.Andtheyrenotcrying
becausetheyweremovedbymyshittystickdrawingstheyrecryingbecausetheywerereading

aboutoneofthebiggestproblemsintheirlives.
Theprofilesofthosewhohaveemailedrangewildly,coveringallages,allkindsofprofessions,and
hailingfromalmosteverycountryintheworld.Iveheardfroma13-year-oldinPakistan,amiddle-aged
professorinArgentina,an80-year-oldretirednurseinMississippi;aGermangraphicdesigner,an
Australianauthor,aGhanaianfilmmaker,aKoreanentrepreneur.AndthePhDstudentsthehordesof
PhDstudentsdoingtheultimateQ2task.
Inoneway,thesepeopleallhavethesameexactproblem,andthesameproblemIhaveanInstant
GratificationMonkeytheycantcontrol.ButIvenoticed,afterreadingeveryoneoftheirstories,that
theextenttowhichthisproblemisruiningtheirlivesvariesdrastically,dependingonafewkeyfacts
abouttheirparticularcircumstances.Thisdistinctionplacesthereaderswhohaveemailedintothree
categories:

1)TheDisastinators

Ofallprocrastinatorsoutthere,theDisastinatorsareintheworstshape.ADisastinatorispermanently
campedoutinQuadrant4,andprocrastinationiscompletelydestroyingtheirlife.Aprocrastinator
usuallybecomesaDisastinatorforoneoftworeasons:
A)TheirmonkeyhasstoppedbeingscaredofthePanicMonsterandhasbecomeall-powerful
B)Theyreanormalprocrastinatorbuttheyreinalifesituationwithnoexternaldeadlinesor
pressure
SituationAissuper-dark,andasIvelearnedfromreaderemails,notthatuncommon.Thesepeople
havelosttheabilitytodoalmostanythingthatmatterstothemandareeitherinadownwardspiralor
havegivenupentirely.
InSituationB,theDisastinatorisntaworseprocrastinatorthananyother,itsjustthattheir
circumstancesareacatastrophicmatchfortheirpersonality.Thenatureoftheirlifeandworkgivesthe
PanicMonsternoreasontowakeupatall,andunfortunately,themonkeyisntscaredoftheSelfLoathingMonster.

TheoutcomeisthattheDisastinatorgetsnothingdone,ever.ManyofthePhDcandidateswhoemailed
mefallintothiscategory.

2)TheImpostinators
WehaventtalkedmuchaboutQuadrant3,butitmightbethemostdangerousquadrantofall,andits
wheretheImpostinatorreignsking.TheImpostinatorslifelookslikethis:

TheImpostinatorseemsproductive,butshesreallyanimposteraprocrastinatorwearinga
productivepersonmask.ByspendingallofherworktimeinQ3,sheseemsbusysheisbusybutshe
neverseemstomakemuchprogressonherrealgoals.
Impostinatorshaveclevermonkeys,andQ3isthemonkeysmostclevertrick.Themonkeyknowsthat
theRDM,whocanbegullible,canbeappeasedifhespendsampletimeoutoftheQ4DarkPlayground.
SotheImpostinatorsmonkeycreatesabattlethatgoesbackandforthbetweenQ4andQ3,andthat
worksbecauseQ3feelsproductivetotheImpostinator.Itreliesononemajordelusionofthe
Impostinatorthatbusy=productive.
SoanImpostinatorwillspendthewholedayansweringemails,runningerrands,makingphonecalls,
organizinglistsandschedules,participatinginmeetings,etc.andifshesjudgingherselfbytimespent
outoftheDarkPlayground,shesasmashingsuccess.Butattheendoftheday,thesatisfactionshe
feelshasahintofemptinesstoit,andtheHappyPlaygroundisneverquitefullyhappy.Shemayhave
deludedherselfintothinkingsheslivingaproductivelife,butinhersubconscious,sheknowsshesnot
doingwhatshessupposedtobedoing.Herfeelingsofaccomplishmentcomealongwithan
undercurrentofdespair.
Inreality,sheslivinginagrand,overarchingprocrastination,brilliantlycraftedbyhermonkey.Rather
thantrytowinthetug-of-warbetweendoingwhatmattersthestuffupinQ2andtheDark
Playground,theImpostinatorsmonkeytrickstheRDMintofightingonthewrongbattlefield,andhe
letstheRDMbeathimonthisbattlefield,whichleadshertobelieveshesdoingagoodjob.
TheotherdifficultytheImpostinatorfacesisthatsometimesQ3disguisesitselfasQ1.Abusy
Impostinatoroftenbelievesthattheurgentworkshesconsumedwithisimportant,buttheproblem
withthatiswhatEisenhowerhimselfsaidbest:

Whatisimportantisseldomurgent,andwhatisurgentisseldomimportant.
Inotherwords,Quadrant1oftendoesnotexist.Thisisntalwaysthecase,butitsespeciallylikelytobe
trueforpeoplewhohaveyettogettheircareerrolling,becauseusuallywhenyourtrulyimportant
workisalsourgent,itmeansyouhavesomethinggoodgoingon.Thiscreatesacatch-22,wherethe
peoplewhomostneedurgencyinordertodothingsprocrastinatorsearlyintheircareerareoften
thosewithatotallyvacantQuadrant1.
Themoretimegoeson,themoreIthinkthatbeingsuperbusytendstomeanhavingapackedQ3
(usuallymixedinwithtoomuchQ4time).IknowthatwhenIminoneofthosezoneswhereImtelling
everyonehowbusyIamandhowlittletimeIhaveforthem,itsalmostalwaysbecauseIm
overloadedwithQ3bullshit.Peoplewhoarereallyontopoftheirlifereallyincontroltendtohave
plentyofspaceintheirschedules.Butsocietysmilesuponbusypeople,thephraseIthinkyouhave
toomuchtimeonyourhandsisaninsult,andthatleavesImpostinatorslookingandoftenfeeling
liketheyredoingitright.AndwhiletheImpostinatorwillalwaysfeelsuperiortotheDisastinator,the

truthisthatintermsofrealproductivityonthingsthatmatter,theyreequal.
ThemajorlessonhereistobewareofQuadrant3.Q3grabsyoubythecollarandthrustsyouontoa
treadmillofreactingtothings.Itsnotaplaceofselfcontrol.Andifyourenotcareful,Q3willsuckyour
lifeaway.Iknow,becauseIvespentalotofmylifeasanImpostinator.
OfthemanyImpostinatorswhoemailedme,themostcommonprofessionswereartistsofsomekind
orentrepreneurs.Inbothofthosesituations,yourethebossofyourownlife,andtheimportantwork
todoimprovingyourskills,deepeningyournetwork,executingacreativevisionisrarelyurgent.

3)TheSuccesstinators
Afterspendingmostofmylifefeelingunabletomaximizemyself,sincestartingWaitButWhyayear
andahalfago,Ivewrittenover250,000wordstheequivalentof1,000bookpagesandwhatIm
doingreallymatterstome.Forthefirsttime,thesatisfactionofaccomplishmentdoesntcomealong
withatwingeofguiltoremptinessordespair.Ivedoneit!Imadoer.
Notquite.
Therealityis,IhaventovercomemymonkeyproblemsoneouncemorethantheImpostinatorsand
Disastinaterswhoemailedmethebigdifferenceis,IvegottenmyselfintoasituationwhereIhavea
big,fatQuadrant1inmylife.NotafakeQ1thatsreallyQ3indisguisebutagenuineQ1,andits
packed.Theintimaterelationshipabloghaswithreal,livingpeopleandthepressurethatgenerates
turnsabloggersimportantworkintourgentwork,assoonasthereareenoughreadersthatthe
PanicMonstertakesinterestinthings.
Foraprocrastinator,thisistheoppositeofthePhD-typesituation,whichIdescribedasacatastrophic
matchforaprocrasinator.Writingregularlywithanimmediateaudienceisanexampleofaterrific
matchforaprocrastinatorspersonality,becauseitputshisPanicMonsterintheoptimallocationit
alignsthePanicMonsterwithhismostimportantendeavor.
Ofcourse,mymonkeyisstillwreakinghavocovermywholelifeinanywayhecanIpulledalifespanreducingall-nightertofinishthispost.Buttheresakeydistinctionbetweenwhathesdoingnowand
whathewasdoingduringmypreviousprojects.Withthoseotherprojects,hespenthisQ4time
pursuingreal,ambitiousprojectsandhewasallowedtodothatbecausetheRDMwasntentirelysure
whathewanted,andhewouldquestionwhetherthemonkeywasactuallyontosomethingwithhis
distractions.Butatleastsofar,workingonWaitButWhyishittingthenailontheheadfortheRDM,
becausehesactuallyspendingalotoftimeabovetheimportantline,sohehasaconvictionaboutthe
undertakinghedidntpreviously.Becauseofthis,hellletthemonkeytapdancearoundQ4andQ3,
mainlybecausehehasnopowernotto,buthewontallowthemonkeytotakeon
anythingseriouswithhistime.
Ihavenotconqueredprocrastination,butforthetimebeing,atleast,Imintheleastbadtypeof
procrastinatorsituationImaSuccesstinator.

Asuccesstinatorhasfoundasolution-ishtohisproblems,butitsnotpretty,oftennothealthy,and
usuallynotsustainable.Itsacleverduct-tapingofatroubledmachinetoholditovertemporarily.
IreceivedalotofemailsfromSuccesstinators,andthepatternswereconsistentandresonatewithmy
owncurrentsituation.ASuccesstinatorcanbehappywithhislife,butisntusuallythathappyinhislife.
AndthatsbecausebeingaSuccesstinatordoesnotmakeyouasuccess.Someonewhodoessomething
wellprofessionallyattheexpenseofbalance,relationships,andhealthisnotasuccess.Realsuccess
meanshavingbothprofessionallifeandlifestyleworkingwellandinharmonyandSuccesstinators
aretoostressed,toounavailable,andareoftencompletelydeprivedofHappyPlaygroundtime,which
isacriticalcomponentofahappylife.ASuccesstinatorisalsousuallylimitedinhisprofessional
possibilitiesgreatworkcanbedoneinQ1,butitsoftenmoreonthemaintainingsideofthings.Q2is
stillwheremostoftheprofessionalgrowthandout-of-the-boxthinkingtakesplace,andlikeall
procrastinators,SuccesstinatorsrarelysetfootinQ2.
___________
Therearebiggerproblemsintheworldthanprocrastination.Thingslikepoverty,disease,mental
illness,anddrugaddictionallmakeprocrastinationseemglaringlylikeaproblemoftheprivileged
somethingtosufferoverforthosewhoseliveshavenorealsuffering.
Butifaskepticspentafewhoursreadingthroughthemoundofprocrastination-relatedemailsIve
received,Ithinktheydagreethatthisisadireprobleminmany,manylives.Anditdoesntjustharm
theprocrastinatorithurtsthepeopleclosetotheprocrastinator,spreadingtheeffect.
Itsalsotheworldsloss.ForeverySteveJobsorJohnLennonorHillaryClintonorJ.K.Rowlingor
anyoneelsewhosetalentshaveenhancedourlives,therearethousandsofpeoplewithjustasmuch
potentialwhoneverachievemuchfortheworldbecausetheywasteawaytheirtimeinthewrong
quadrants.
Onewaytolookatthisisthateachhumanlifehasacertainnumberoftimepoints,anditsupto
youhowyouspendthem.Considerthedifferencebetweensomeonewhospends30hoursaweekin
Q2andsomeoneelsewhoonlymanagestwohoursofQ2timeaweek.SinceQ2is,formany,where
realadvancementhappens,overthecourseoftheirlives,the30hourpersonwill
accomplish15timesasmuchinherlifeasthetwohourperson.Andinreality,themultiplierisprobably
evenlargerthan15,sinceprogressbuildsuponprogressandtheratecanaccelerate(i.e.SteveJobs
wouldnthaveaccomplished1/15thofwhatheaccomplishedifhehadputin1/15ththeproductive
hoursheprobablywouldhaveaccomplishednoneofit.)Thedistinctionbetweenanordinaryperson
andanextraordinarypersonmightsimplycomedowntothedifferencesinhowtheyallottheirtime
points.

Clearingawaydelusion

Ifwewanttoimproveourtimepointspending,thefirststepislearningtoseetheworldthrougha
crystalclearEisenhowerMatrixwhichmeansshakingoffalldelusion.Weneedtodevelopwellthought-outdefinitionsofurgentandimportant,whichwillbedifferentforeveryoneandrequiresa
deepdigintothehighlypersonalquestion,Whatmattersmosttome?
BrettMcKaydefinesimportanttasksasthingsthatcontributetoourlong-termmission,values,and

goals.Thisisbroadandstraightforwardandagoodcoresentencetocomebacktowhenassessing
importancedowntheroad.
Thethoughtprocessaboutwhatisandisnturgentshouldrevolvearoundtheself-discussionofwhats
mostimportant.Ideally,urgentwouldnotmean,Thethinggrabbingmehardestbythecollarit
wouldbedefinedbywhat,oftheimportanttasksonyourlist,wouldbenefitmostfromhappening

soonerratherthanlater.Usingthisdefinition,spendingtimewithyourkidswouldcertainlyqualifyas
urgent,whileunderthetypicaldeadline-relateddefinitionofurgent,itwouldqualifyasnoturgent.In
otherwords,theorderofyourprioritiesismuchbetteroffbeingsetbyyourRDMthanyourPanic
Monster.WisdomresidesintheRDM,andwhenthemindlessPanicMonstercallstheshotsonwhats
urgentandwhatsnot,youtaketheRDMswisdomoutofthegame.
Youmayalsowanttogathersomeharddataonhowyourecurrentlyspendingyourtimepoints,by
loggingyourhoursforthenextweekandseeingjusthowmanyofthemfallintoeachofthefour
quadrants(youllprobablybeunpleasantlysurprisedbytheresults).

Becomingthebossofyourbrain
OnceyoufeelclearonyourEisenhowerMatrixandwhereitsvariousboundarieslie,youllneedtodo
thehardpartandgaincontroloverhowyouspendyourtimepointswithinit.Which,fora
procrastinator,islifesgreatestchallenge.
Therewardsofgainingcontrolareobvious.Itsincrediblehowmuchapersoncangetdonewhilealso
maintainingabalancedlifestyleiftheyreincontroloftheirtimepointspending.Andthosenotin
controlwilllosemostoftheirtimepointstoQ3andQ4andfeelliketheydonthavetimeforeithertheir
workortheirlifestyle,allwhileaccomplishingverylittle.Timepointallotmentiseverything.
Aprocrastinatorindesperatestraitscantakeahalfstepintherightdirectionthroughthebruteforce
methodofrearranginghislifeinawaythatmakeshimasuccesstinator.ThatswhereIamnow,and
itsahellofalotbetterthanwhereIwasbefore.
Butthatslikehiringabodyguardinsteadoflearninghowtofight.Therealgoalofaprocrastinator
mustbetofigureouthowtobecomethebossofhisbrain.Aprocrastinatorsrealityisthathisinner
selfhisRationalDecision-Makeristhegrandmasterofhislifeintheory,butinpractice,onlya
spectator.TheprocrastinatorsRDMgoes,helplessly,wherethewavestakehim,shuffledfromactivity
toactivitybytheprimalforcesofthemonkeyandthePanicMonster.UntilaprocrastinatorsRDMcan
walk,onhisown,fromQ4toQ2,wheneverhewantsto,hesnotfixed.
___________
IfyouGooglehowtostopprocrastinating,youllfindabout1,000articles,allofferingterrificadvice
onhowtodoit.Theproblemisthatthearticlesarealwayswrittenforsanepeople,andprocrastinators
arentsanepeople.Beinginsane,procrastinatorsarealwaysunderthedelusionthattheyresane,so
theyreadanadvicearticleandthinktheyllbeabletoapplyittotheirlife.Butthenitdoesntworkout
thatway.
Beforeaprocrastinatorcanactongoodadvice,heneedstohavecontrol.Aracecardrivercangetall
thecoachingintheworld,butif,whentheracestarts,someoneelseiscontrollingthesteeringwheel
andthepedals,allthecoachingisuseless.
Thatswhytheonlywayaprocrastinatorcantakethewheelinhishandsisifhisself-fulfillingprophecy
hisstorylinesaysthathecan.Andstorylinesonlychangewithreal-worldaction.Quitethechicken
andeggissue.
Atitsdeepestlevel,itcomesdowntoabattleofconfidence.TheRDMandmonkeyeachhavetheirown
ideaofhowtospendyourtimepoints,andwhicheverofthemismoreconfidentwhoeverhasa
strongerbeliefthattheyrethealphadogintherelationshipendsupprevailing.Thedifference
betweenaprocrastinatorandanon-procrastinatorissimplythattheprocrastinatorsmonkeyandRDM

bothbelievethatthemonkeyisthealphadog,andthenon-procrastinatorspairbothbelievethatthe
RDMistheboss.
Butasfirmlyentrenchedastheseconfidencelevelsmayfeel,themonkeyandtheRDMshareasingle
poolofconfidencewithafixedsumwhenonesconfidencegoesup,theothersgoesdownandthe
balancecanbegintobetippedbythesmallestchanges,takingyourstorylinewithit.
Figuringoutthestartingpointofthischickenandeggparadoxiseachprocrastinatorspersonalquest.
Butauniversalstartingpointistotrytoremainawareasmuchaspossible.Awareofwhatsimportant,
awareofwhatsurgent,andmostimportantlyawareofthemonkey.Themonkeyisnotyourfriend,
andheneverwillbe.Buthesalsopartofyourheadandimpossibletogetridof,sogetinthehabitof
noticinghim.Whenyouwakeupinthemorning,hellbethere.Whenyousitdowntowork,hellbe
there.Wheneveryoumostbadlyneedallthegutsandgrityoucanmuster,hellbetheretotakeyour
gutsandgritaway.
Buthethrivesoffofunconsciousness.Simplybynoticinghimandsayingtoyourself,Yup,theresthe
monkey,rightoncue,youcanstarttotipthebalanceoutofitsdefaultstate.Thenmaybeoneday,
youllfindyourselfnonchalantlyshovingthemonkeyoffofthewheelwiththesimplest,Nomonkey,
notnow.Andyourlifewillbeforeverchanged.
___________
IlovetheemailsIvereceivedaboutprocrastination,andIhopetheycontinue.ButIalwayswishthe
peoplewhohaveemailedmecouldheareachothersstories.Iencourageanyonewhofeelslike
sharingtheirstorytodosointhecomments.

Ifthispostwasupyouralley,alsocheckout:
WaitButWhystwoearlierpostsonprocrastinationPart1,Part2.
LifeisjusttodayoverandoverandoveragainLifeisaPicture,ButYouLiveinaPixel
Aone-imageremindertospendyourtimepointswiselyYourLifeinWeeks
AdeeperlookatwhatgoesoninourbrainsandwhyawarenessissocriticalAReligionfortheNonReligious
AlookatadifferentanimalstrugglegoingoninadifferentpartofthebrainTamingtheMammoth:
WhyYouShouldStopCaringWhatOtherPeopleThink

Andwhiletheyreruiningyourlife,youmightaswellcuddlewiththem:

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FilipeJorgeEnglishTeacheratRedBalloonCursodeIngls
DearTim,pleasestopreadingmymindanddescribingexactlyhowmybrain
works.Thisisgettingspooky.Yoursfaithfully,
ReplyLike

48 March24at5:24pm

ColinBlackDublin,Ireland
ifwestayedinQ2,we'dliveonPlanitEarth!Getit?yeah?anyone?
......please....no........ok
ReplyLike

37 March24at2:52pm

ColinBlackDublin,Ireland
Sorry,idrankabeerwhilstreadingwaitbutwhy,myguiltyweekly(or
wheneverTimfeelslikeit)Q4pleasure.Imustadmit,Ihaveneverfelt
overwhelmedbythemonkeyforsureIhaveone,butmymonkey
staysinacageuntilI'mintheHappyPlaygroundandthenhegoes
nuts.SomehowI'vemanagedtoteachthemonkeythatthesatisfaction
beyondtheDarkWoodsisfargreaterthanthegratificationoftheDark
Playground.It'sallaboutgoals,targetsanddesignatingQ4time.This
canbedoneonforayear,brokendownintoamonth,thenintoa
week,thenintoaday.Forexample,asananaesthesiologist,the
workingdayisQ1withQ3tryingtointervenebutignored,therestof
thedayisQ2planningresearch,studying,exercisingandALWAYS
ALWAYS,from9pmeverynightisQ4.ItiscrucialtohavedailyQ4.
GreatpostTimasalways
ReplyLike

9 March24at3:02pm

EdwardLeahy TopCommenterAnesthesiologistatU.S.
DepartmentofVeteransAffairs
Asafellowanesthesiologist,Iagree.Itrytotake1Q4dayaweektoo.
ReplyLike

3 March25at7:06am

AdrianaWheatley
ColinBlackAllIcansayisyouluckybugger!
ReplyLikeApril2at2:29pm
BethAndersonTheArtInstituteofSeattle
Ohboy,thiscouldhavebeenwrittenaboutME.It'sbothscaryandexhilaratingto
read.EventhoughIamdraggedthroughuseless,pointlessbrainrottingnonsense
onadailybasisbymonkey,atleastyouhaveidentifiedhiminaquantifiableway
tomenow.Monkey,Iknowyou'retherenow.Youaremine.
ReplyLike
OwenChen

9 March24at12:17pm
TopCommenterVancouverFilmSchool

Thisisincredible.IfirststartedfollowingtheblogwhenIreadaboutthefermi's

paradox.Andhavereadmostofthemsince.
Whilethefermi'sparadoxandthepostaboutAIaresimplymindopening,the
procrastinationoneandmammothoneresonatedwithmethemost.Pleasekeep
doingwhatyouaredoing.Itrulydohopeyouovercomeyourmonkeyoneday,
andsamewishgoesformyself.Iboughttwoofthemonkeyplushtosupportyour
effortandthisamazingblog.Pleasekeepupthegreatwork.
ReplyLike

7 March25at11:20pm

NickHughesOwneratWellBeingMassage&SkinCare
TheironyisthatI'vespenthalfadayreadingthispostabouthowtostop
procrastinating.Nowwhat?HaveaflipthroughFacebook,Iguess.
ReplyLike

7 March25at2:57pm

EricaRobinsonWorksatCostco
I'mdefinitelyonthedisastinatorendofthespectrum.Mymonkeydoesn'trunfrom
thepanicmonsteratallandactuallygainsstrengthwhenI'mstressedout,and
that'sjustthewayitis.Ifthepanicmonstercomesouttoplay,I'vealreadylost.
After10yearsoftryingtofigureposthighschoolshitoutandjustgetmy
Bachelor'sdegreealreadysoIcanstartmyREALlife,Iamfinallylikelytograduate
withinayear.Dr.KellyMcGonigal's"WillpowerInstinct"book(andforawhile
somedrugsandtherapy)reallyhelpedmefigureouthowtoexertsomemeasureof
controlandstartgainingconfidencetotackleissuesinatimelymannerinsteadof
lettingproblemsfesterintosomethinginsurmountable.It'sbeenslow,butby
focusingmyVERYlimitedwillpowerintoactivitiesthatgeneratemorewillpower
(exercise,meditation,s...SeeMore
ReplyLike

5 March26at6:08pm

RTBean
Ohhi,yourlifesoundslikemine.Iwilldefinitelylookupthatbook
(andreaditwhileI'mtoostressedtojustdomydamnhomework
already).
ReplyLikeApril15at12:26pm
JanetMontgomerySmithfieldSelmaHighSchool
Ihatetosay"ditto,"butthisisreallysomearticle.Hatsofftoyouforelucidating
myprobleminsuchagenerous,nonjudgmentalway.iamnotalone.Loveallthe
commentsaswell!
ReplyLike

5 March24at3:05pm

LeeCee
Tim,notreallyinthehabitofwritinginternetpostcomments,butthankyoufor
puttingthisseriesofpostsonprocrastinationtogether.Findingmywayintodoing
what'simportant(andfiguringoutwhatthatactuallyis)hasbeenaproblemfor
meforalongtime.ToanextentIfeellikeI'veactuallyresignedmyselftothe
monkey,butthiswayofconceptualizingtheproblemgivesmerenewedmotivation
togetseriousabouttamingit.TheDarkPlayground...that'sagreatdescriptionof
thatselfloatingpurgatorywherenorealfunactuallytakesplace.Thequadrantis
alsoaveryusefulconceptI'mcertainlyanImposstinator,andyes,myFutureSelf
isawesomeanddoingallkindsofcoolshit.So,thanksagain.
Bytheway,thispostremindedmealotofthisposterwhichisavisualmeditation
instruction:"Inthepainting,thepractitionerisrepresentedbyamonk,effortis
representedbyfire,andthemindisanelephant.Asthemonkembarksalongthe
path,firstheischasingtheelephant,whichisallblack(representinglethargy)and
isbeingterrorizedbyamonkey(representingdistraction)."
http://www.tricycle.com/blog/buddhabuzzmonkelephantandmonkey
ReplyLike

4 March24at12:37pm

JessBonsell
Development

TopCommenterGISGraphicsOfficeratDepartmentofState

Ohmygod,theeverelusiveQuadrant2.Here'sanexamplefrommyownlife.I
builtmyownhouseandhavebeenlivingthereforover9monthsnow.Istilldon't
havea'screendoor'atthefrontorattheback.Mydadisalwaysremindingme,
"getascreendoor".ButI'malwaysthinking,"that'sFutureJess'sproblem,shecan
dealwithit".Andnothingevergetsdone.Noscreendoormakingbusinessgetsa
phonecall.MybackgardenisalsostilladisasterIneedtopulloutalltheweeds.
"I'llleavethattoFutureJess.FutureJessismotivatedandlovespullingoutweeds
onasunnyday".Andforgethouseholdchores.Myhouse(usually
kitchen/bedroom)getsmessytoapointwhereIsay"ohshit,Ican'tlivelikethis"
andthemonkeyiskickedtotheside(kindof)andIcleanandfeelaccomplished.
Butreally,I'veonlyticke...SeeMore
ReplyLike

2 March28at12:42am

EladPelegMaccabimReutMorHighSchool
Yourpostsarealwaysspotonbutthisone...WOW.Yourabilitytoknowmybrain
betterthenmyselfandpreciselyarticulatemylifeisterrifyingandaweinspiringat
thesametime.
Likemanyothershere,IgottoknowyourblogthroughthefamousFermiParadox
postandsincethenreadalmostallofWBW."Mindblowing"willbeaserious
understatementforwhatI'mexperiencingregularlywhenbrowsingthiswebsite.
Thankyousomuch...

191Comments
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vellyr 15hoursago

Iwouldproposeafourthcategoryofprocrastinator,therelaxtinator.I'vedefeatedthemonkeybysimply
removingallurgencyfrommylife.IstillhaveQ1thingsoccasionally,butthey'reneververydifficult.Asaresult,
Ispendmostofmytimeinquadrants2and4.Thedownsideisthatmyship(asdrivenbytheRDM)isn'treally
goinganywhere.Withouturgencythereisnoopportunitytofailorsucceed.I'mpersonallyOKwiththis,but
accordingtothe"socialladder"paradigm,I'mfailing.

Reply Share

RavindBudhiraja 12daysago

Ithinkyoudidn'tspendenoughtimeconsideringthemostimportantinsightofthearticle,thatthemonkey
avoidsQ1andQ1because"thestakesarehigh,andyoureshootingforthestars,whichmeansyoumightfail
toreachthem."Ifprocrastinationisasymptomofourfearoffailing,shouldn'twetrytoaddresstherootcause
andstopfearingfailure?
4

Reply Share

NathanCutrell 14daysago

Ifeellikeusprocrastinatorsareanexampleofjustnotfittingintothissocietalstructure.Noteveryonelivesa
successfullifeinthisnewdynamicof'normallife'.WewouldprobablybePERFECTforthe'hunter/gatherer'
era,reallythehuntersideofit.ThethingaboutbeingaprocrastinatoristhatifIactuallydogetfocusedon
something,andenjoyit,Iwillliterallydoitforhoursonhoursandloveeverysecondofit.Whenyoubreak
downthequadrantsintolifesustainingissueslikehunting,lookingforwaterandfindingshelter,wewouldn'tbe
sittingaroundprocrastinatinginQ4then.Wearereallywiredtofocusonsomethingandusethe'panicmonster'
tohelpus.Heisactuallyonoursidetoo,insomecases.Thatfearanddrivemakesusalertandoriented.We
usedtoliveinaconstantstateoffearorpanic,butnotinabadway.Justina,ifIdon'tfindfoodandwater
todayImightdie,kindawaylol.Thoughts?
5

Reply Share

nijikawa>NathanCutrell 6daysago

IfindthiscommentinterestingbecausewhenItriedtoimaginethe"hunter"eraNathandescribes,it
seemedtomethatQ2isalmostnonexistentinit.ItiredtothinkofthingsthatcouldbelonginQ2inthis
era,suchasbecomingmoreattractive(henceincreasingyourchanceofmatingandhavingoffsprings)
orbecomingmorephysicallyfit(henceincreasingyourchanceofsurvivalinthewilds),andrealized
thatmostofthemcaninfactbeaccomplishedsimplybydoingQ1andQ3tasks,suchashuntingand
fightingagainstopposingclans.
Sohowisthemoderneradifferentfromthehunterera?ThinkofMaslow'shierarchyofneeds.Modern
humansdon'treallylackanythingancienthumansownmodernhumansjustgottaworryalotmore
aboutthetoptwolevelsofthepyramid:esteemandselfactualization,whicharehighlyrelatedtoQ2
activities.Also,thereareway,waymoretimeandmeansforamodernhumantostayinQ4.Judging
fromthesefact,Ithinkagoodwaytocombatprocrastinationistolearntobethankfulofthethingswe
have.Doingsodoesnotgetridofthemonkeyinanyway,butitcouldmakeQ2lookmoreattractive
andmakethemonkeylesslikelytogotoQ4.
1

Reply Share

Anonymous>NathanCutrell 6daysago

It'saninterestingcomment.Procrastination,putinhuntergatherer'slife.Earlymanmayhaveusedthe
panicmonstertosurvive.Butoursurvivalisn'tamatterofavoidingbecomingpartofthefoodchainas
muchasitis'beingconsumedbyatrivialexistence'.I'drunfromthat.
Trythis:Trythinkingofyourlifeinthese4quadrants,instead**.Tome,itmakesmoresensethan
Eisenhower'sdivisions.Thinkofthestuffyoudoasbelongingtothese4categories:
1)routine
likechoresaroundthehouse,getgasforthecar.groceries.makedinner.mowlawn,gotowork.things
thatrepeatbuttakeuptimeeverydayandmustbedone.
2)importantlittlethings
differentthingsthatcomeupeverydaygettaxesdone,gotophysical,meetwithlawyer,birthdayparty,
takecarinforinspectionandsoon.(somepeoplethinkthesetimefillersarewhatmakesuplifethey
areimportantandplentiful,butnotareasonforbeing)
3)GreatTasks
seemore

Reply Share

HoiYing 16daysago

Notthatit'sadirectsolutionforprocrastination,butIcanrecommend'BreakingTheHabitOfBeingYourself'by
JoeDispenza.It'saselfhelpbook(Icanhearyou'ugh'righthere),butIfindgreatvalueinitbecausehedigs
intothecorenegativeemotionsthatpreventyoufromreachingyourfullpotentialandunderlieprocrastination
behavioraswell.IfindhistechniquesworkingformeintryingtobecomeABetterPerson.Heusesmindfuless,
meditation,observation.
WhatIfindvaluableisthatheaddressesthebodilymemoriesofeverytimetheMonkeyrunsamokinyour
head.Webecomebodilyattachedtothesensationsourthinkingcauses,whichiswhywecan'tjustrationally
'letgo'ofunhealthybehavior.
Imightsoundalittlevague,butthepointisthatithelpedmerealizethatI'mADDICTEDtofeelingheavy,
lethargic,tired,guilty,sad,etc.It'sbecomeallIknow.Therealizationthatthiswasonceanunhealthyseed
plantedinmesomewheresometimeago,thatyoucanweeditandplanthealthyseedsyourself,isaneye
openerforme.
1

Reply Share

Anne 17daysago

Iamgoingtohavemyhusbandreadthisarticle.
Asothercommentershavesaid,yourdescriptionoftheprocrastinationmonkeyanditsvarioustricksand
methodsarespoton.I'velivedwiththemmywholelife,asmanyofyourreadershave.Ifindthatnon
procrastinatorshaveaveryhardtimewrappingtheirbrainsaroundtheconcept,anditcouldbepossiblethat
theirmonkeystaysinacageandthey'venevermethim.So,toexplainwhyIcan'tfinishthepaintingIstarted2
yearsago,ortheneedlepointfrom1980thatmygrandmotherbeganteachingmewith(!!!)doesn'tmakeany
sensetothem.Atall.Ever.
Doesanyoneeverrolltheireyeswhensomeonesays,"Justdoit!"?Andwhydon'ttheyunderstanditisn'tas
simpleasitsounds?Andtheargument"yes,itissimple.""no,itisn't.""yes,itis.""no,itisn't."can'tbewon.It's
thesameassaying"Ihaveamonkey.""Idon'thaveamonkey.""Ihaveamonkey.""Idon'thaveamonkey.""I
haveamonkey.""Idon'thaveamonkey.""Ihaveamonkey.""Idon'thaveamonkey."
Backtothetopic...
Ihopethatyoureloquent,clear,engagingandhumorousarticlemayenlightenmynonprocrastinatorhusbanda
littlebit.I'mexcitedtosayitenlightenedmeonseveralfacets.1)Iamgoingtoerasethe2010todolistfrommy
dryeraseboardandreplaceitwithaquadrantchart.IwillimaginethethingsthatIdoandwhichquadrantsthey
goin,evenifIdon'twritethemin.Iwilltrytospendmoretimeabovetheline.2)Iunderstandalittlebitmore
seemore

Reply Share

Ben_K 18daysago

Hi,
IhavenevercommentedonanyofthepostsherebutIhave
beenreadingmostofthearticlesonthisblogsinceIfounditon
googlequiteawhileback.Theseriesonprocrastinationhasopenedmyeyesandmademe
realizehowmybrainfunctionswhenitcomestoaccomplishingcertain
tasksworkforschool,athomeorevenstuffIneedtoworkonformy
hobbies.
Iamnow18yearsoldsinceacoupleofmonthsandonthe
vergeoffinishingschool.InthepastIhavebeenaheavy
procrastinatorwhenitcametotasksthatwerenotrealyimportanttome
(butprobablyimportantformyteachersorotherpeople)i.e.
homeworkorotherworkforschoolorforotherpeople.Howeverifthere
wasanyworktobedonethatwouldensureagoodgradeifIinvested
sometimeintoit,Ihavealwaysbeenabletoovercomethereignofthe
Monkeyinsidemybrainandgetthejobdone(maybestillalittlelate
butitalwaysworkedout).
ByreadingthisposthoweverIhave
seemore

Reply Share

DragosAlexandruCostiniu 20daysago

Well,hellothere.Iamnotmuchofarepliertypeofguy
Idonotactivelyfollowblogs,nordoIusuallyanswertothem.Butsometimes,
somethingcatchesmyeye.AndIbegintotakeanactiveinterestonthetopic.
IbegintoreadeverythingIcanaboutit,readalltherepliesand,iftheydo
notdateback13yearsagoIseemtosomehowbeabletofindpostswhichare
thatold,inparticular,buttheyarestillnewtomeIputinthetimeto
postareplyofmyown.SohereissomethingthatcaughtmyeyeandIhavean

opinionofmyownIwouldliketofactorin.Forthosethatarenotinterested
inmybackgroundandmystoryofprocrastination,youcanskipthenext
paragraphandgodirectlyformyopiniononthepostsomebackgroundmight
stillbemixedinthereaswell,though.
I'vebeenpostponingthereadingoftheProcrastination
postsforawhilenowalthoughIdidn'tknewoftheirexistencerightawayas
theyhavebeenposted.Iseenowthat,atleastthisoneaboutthe
ProcrastinationMatrix,theyhavenotbeenpostedthatlongago[oldestreply
13daysagodidalittlemoreresearchontheroadseemsliketheoriginal
onesdateacoupleofyearsbackups].Ireadthemstarting3daysago,while
seemore

Reply Share

Lizzie 21daysago

Hi,
Longtimelurker,firsttimeposterhere.Thankyou,Tim,forall3ofyourarticlesonprocrastinationtheyhave
reallyresonatedwithmeandperfectlydescribemylife.Yourdescriptionofprocrastinationanditscosts(the
constantstress,lettingothersdown,lettingyourselfdown,neverreachingQ2)andalltheterminologythe
RDM,themonkey,thedark/happyplaygroundhavereallyhelpedmeunderstandwhat'sgoingoninmybrain
whenIprocrastinate.ThisarticlehasalsogivenmehopethatIcanreclaimcontrolofmylife(definedasbeing
abletowalkfromQ4toQ2wheneverIwant)andhassimplifiedexactlywhatIhavetodotobeatmypesky
monkeyintosubmission(scheduleandlayjustonebrick,onebrickatatime).Importantly,you'vealsoshown
meexactlywhatIneedtodotogetfromQ4toQ2prioritisemytasksusingthematrix,choosethe12most
important/"urgent"goals/tasks(Ihavetokeepremindingmyselfthaturgentmeanswhatwouldbenefitmost
frombeingdonesoonerratherthanlater),breakitdownintosmallsteps,scheduleinatime/dateforeachstep
andthenactuallystart.
Thestarting/doingisdefinitelythehardestpartbut2thingshavereallybeenhelpingmelaythosebricksthis
pastweek:(1)TheemailsyoumentionedreceivingfrompeopleofallagesfromallovertheworldIrealised
thatifIdon'tchangemystoryline,Iwillstillbeprocrastinatingin10yearstime,and20yearstime,and30years
timethatthoughtterrifiesme.Idon'twanttolivetherestofmylifelikethis,andIdon'twanttolookbackon
mylifewhenIamattheendofitandregretthe50/60yearsIprocrastinatedratherthanlivingmylifethewayI
seemore

Reply Share

HoiYing>Lizzie 21daysago

Soundsgoodthosebabysteps.Countyoursmallvictories!I'mhappytoreadthatyou'relayingthose
bricks,nomatterhowsmall,theycount.(Icandefinitelyidentifywiththat)
2

Reply Share

Gavinconaghty 21daysago

Thankyou.FromanImpostinatorandforgivinganideatotryforasolution.Beawareofthemonkey.:)

Reply Share

KevinM 22daysago

Ihadthishuge1,000+wordemotionalpostwrittenwhenmybrowserdecidedtocrashanderaseallofit.Ithad
someniceturnsofphrasetoo,andnowI'mprocrastinatingANDincrediblyirritated.Ijustwantedtoshare,and
writingiscatharsisonaQ1scale,especiallywhennegativeemotionsareinvolvedanddoublysuperespecially
whenyoudon'thaveaclosefriendorSOtoconfidein.Ican'tbebotheredtowritethewholedamnthingagain,
soI'lldoacondensedversion.
Theanthropomorphicpersonificationofthesenebulousemotionsandhabitualprocessesisincrediblyhelpful.
Asavisualperson,ithelpstopicturethisprocrastinationthingasseparatefrommyself,notapersonalityflaw
thatisimmutable,butaparasitethatburrowedintomybrainatsomepointandcanbebeaten.
Forme,inwhatIfigureisafairlycommonoccurrence,procrastinationoccursincycles.Ispiraldownwardsas
themonkeyeliminatesonethingafteranother,capturingmoreandmoreofmytimeforQ4,untilsomething
snapsandIreboundhard.Istartagainwithloftygoalsofselfimprovementandbeatingprocrastination,andin
about46monthsIcollapseinadepressed,anxiousmessofQ4apathyanddisgustandtryitallagain.It's
happenedinvariablysincethestartofcollege,soit'sbeenaboutfourcyclesnow,andthefifthhasjustbegun.
Towardstheend,especiallyiftheworkisdauntingandseeminglyinsurmountable,thepanicmonsteris
intimidatedbytheanxietymonsterandthelastcheckonthemonkeyvanishes.Evenworse,theanxiety
monstersticksaround,makingmefeelconstantstressandmakingmeevenmoreunproductive.Makingit
seemore

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KevinM>KevinM 22daysago

Uh,IguessIwaswrongaboutthecondensedpart.Didn'tevennoticetheabsurdlengthuntilIposted!I
justchecked,thisisstill1k+wordsso,um,IguessIgotcarriedaway.Mybad?

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Me 22daysago

RememberYouAreMortal
"Peopleshouldlearntoorganizetheirthoughtandemotionaroundthefundamentalfactoflife.Thebasic
fundamentalfactoflifeisthatyouaremortal.Yourthoughtprocessandyouremotionshouldbeorganized
aroundyourmortality.Youwillseeifyoujustdothis,youwillnaturallylivejoyfully,andatfullpotential.because
everymomentthethoughtisorganizedinsuchawaythatyouknowthatyouaremortal,thereisnotime.There
isnotimetofret.Thereisnotimetofume.Thereisnotimetobeangry.Thereisdefinitelynotimetobe
depressed.Thereisnotime,becauseitsgoing."
http://www.ishafoundation.org/...

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Mirko 25daysago

Hithere!
IwantedtosharemythoughtsonthegoodaspectsofprocrastinationafterIreadthesecondpostaboutithere
butthenIwasn'tconfidentenoughtodoso.ButnowthatIwasencouragedexplicitly...
http://mqnc.de/en/procrastinat...
IhopeyouguyslikeitandIhopeithelpssomeofyou!
BestregardsfromGermany!
Mirko

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Jodi amonthago

Suchbrilliantwritingandpsychologicalinsight:
"ItturnsoutthatFutureYouisasmuchofamirageasthemonkeyspassionforahobby.IbankedonFuture
Timsrealworldexistenceformymostimportantplans,buteverytimeIdfinallyarriveatatimewhenIthought
IwouldfindFutureTim,hewasnowheretobefoundtheonlypersontherewouldbestupidPresentTim.
ThatsthethingthatreallysucksaboutFutureYouwhenevertimefinallygetstohim,hesnotFutureYou
anymore,hesPresentYou,andPresentYoucantdothetasksyouassignedtoFutureYoubecausethose
taskscanonlybedonebysomeonewithoutamonkey.YouassignedthemtoFutureYouinthefirstplace
becausehedoesnthaveamonkeythatwasthewholepoint.Soyoudowhatyoualwaysdoyoure
delegatethemtoFutureYou,hopingthatnexttimetimecatchesupwithFutureYou,heactuallyexists."
1

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Jen amonthago

So,afterprocrastinatingtoreadthisarticle(suggestedbymyhusbandyesterdaythatIhadtoreaditASAP),I
amcommentingforthefirsttimeonthisblog.
Thanksforhelpingmeexplaintopeopleinacolorfulwaywhatgoesoninsidemyhead.Beingasuccessful
Impostinator,turnedSuccessinator,itseemsactuallycategorizingtasksintotheappropriateQismycurrent
Achillesheal.
I'mdivingfullfledgedintomyowndesignbusinessintwomonths(andalreadyhavethegearsgoing,ittookme
waylongerthanitwouldhaveifIdidn'thaveasuchastronginstantgratificationmonkey)andlovetheideaof
supportingyourblogbybuyingaplushmonkeytocuddlewithasItellitgetthehelloffthewheelinsidemy
head.
AndTim,Iwouldliketothankyourinstantgratificationmonkeyfortrickingyouintowritingthisblog.
2

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SbastienDubois amonthago

Greatblog,greatthoughts:)ToavoidprocrastinationrequiresunderstandingevermoredeeplytheWHYofour
immediatethoughtsandactions("why"asisthisblog'sandmyownmantra).Thatis,itrequiresbeingableto
constantlyselfanalyze.ForthisIveryhighlyrecommendMarshallRosenberg'sbook"NonViolent
Communication",whichIalreadyoffereditto10differentpeople.Ifyoupreferamorespiritualbook,giveDon
MiguelRuiz's"TheFourAgreements"ashot.
Procrastinationmayarisewhen,insteadofmaking(ornotmaking)choicesbasedonwhatweWANT(aswe
alwaysshould),wemakethembasedonwhatweareSUPPOSEDtodo.Thishappenswhenwedonottake
fullresponsibilityforourthoughts,decisionsandactions,whichiseverytimewemakechoicesoutoffear,guilt,

shame,dutyorobligation,e.g.whenconformingtosocialnorms.Anykindofconformanceisbydefinition
somethingthatgoesagainstourselves.
AsnicelysummarizedbyMarshallRosenberg:"Don'tdoanythingthatisn'tplay!"
Mypersonalformulationofthisistoseekonlyactionsthatyieldpositivefeelingssuchasgratitudeand
freedom.Unfortunatelyinthatquest,wheneverIencounterpeopleunabletoquestionthemselves,myabilityto
empathizeisgreatlyhindered,Istillhavemuchprogresstomake.Also,IfeellikeIhavefoundsolind
instrumentalgoals(avoiddogma,questioneverything,communicateclearly,seekfreedom,etc)butnotany
concretegoal(i.e.somethingtoputonthehorizonfarinthefuture).
seemore

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TessDoucet amonthago

Ihavebeenchewingonthispostforaweek.
Here'sthething.
Wedon'tallhavetobeEisenhowers,right?Hecanonlyexistbecauseofmany,manysubordinateranks.
IhavebeentryingtolivemylifemakingroomforQ2asmuchasIcan,eliminatingmostQ1andQ3stuff.
IsetupabusinesscongruentwithwhatIcameupwithfallsinmyQ2(healtheworldpromoteworldpeace
startbyhelpingpeopleachievepersonalpeacesetupaserviceofferingpersonallyguidedmeditation.Offerit
forfreetowhomeverIcanconvincetogetinhopewordofmouthspreads).
But,alas:mybusinessisfailingmiserably,andIhavecluesastohowitcouldwork,butamnotconvincedthey
willwork,soIsortofdecideditwasOKforthebusinesstofail.MaybethiswasnotthethingIwasmeanttodo
intheworld.
Andso,now:Ihavenolifeleft.Nojob,nomoneyofmyown(livingoffmypartner),notknowingwhattobelieve
in.
HalfheartedlyIamtryingtowrite,butitishardtobemotivated,tobelieveinmy"why",totrustthatIcanmakea
differencesomehow.
seemore

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SbastienDubois>TessDoucet amonthago

Forsure,oneneedsdreamsandit'spossibletorealizethembylettinggoofwhatdragsyoubehind.My
personalidolaboutthisisElonMusk,someonewithbigandmeaningfulgoals,andwhorealizesthem.

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RH amonthago

I'mgoodatQ1andQ4.MyearlyexperienceswithpanicmonsterwereawfulenoughthatIknowspendingtime
inQ1isimportantsothatIdon'thavetoseehimveryoften.AndI'vebeatendownmyIGMenoughinmylifeto
realizefeedinghimnowandthenisalsoimportanttokeepingmeandmylifemovingforward,sometimesjust
asimportantasvisitingQ1.LotsofselfawarenessandpracticetogetwhereI'matnow.
Q2and3arethetrickyonesforme.IkindofhateQ3.Ifeelthatifit'snotimportant,whyshouldIbother?But
sometimeseverydaylifethingsendupfallinginthisquadrant,soIbother.ButItrytoavoiditbecauseIhave
lowlevelsofenergyanywayandIdon'twanttowastewhatI'vegot.Thatlowenergyisalsoproblematicfor
Q2.Iknowmanythingsthatfallintothisquadrant,butoftenI'mwornoutfromQ1andlettinginsomeQ3.It
seemstotakealotofQ4formetoreenergizeenoughtotackleQ2veryoften.
AsIwritethis,I'mwonderingifperhapsI'maSuccessinatoranddidn'trealizeit.MaybeI'mahighfunctioning
Successinator.Idoknowthatmyphysicalandmentalhealthweighheavilyonmyenergylevelsand,lately,
I'vebeenputtinginextraworktogettheminabetterplace.MaybeI'mjustonmywaytothebalanceIneed.Of
course,I'mcurrentlyinatemporary,highlyunchallenging,dulljobthatismerelytopaythebillswhileIsearch
forsomethinginmyfieldthatgraduatedegreewillbeputtousesomeday,surely!So,itcouldbethatallmyQs
willshiftwhenIfinallygetwhereI'mwantingtogo.
AndifIgoonwiththiscomment,IwillreallyjustberamblingI'mgoodatthat.Itmightevenbepartofmy
procrastinationrepertoire.

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wdqe amonthago

writingmydissertationandneededthispostTim.Didyoudoitaroundthistimethinkingofallthecollegekids
outtherethatwouldneedmajormotivationrightaboutnow?
1

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Anonymous amonthago

Thisisanotheramazingpost.Thankyou.
I'llshareatimeplanthathasbeenmagicforme,amasterprocrastinator.I'mactuallygettingimportantQ2
thingsdonebyusingit.ARussianwomaninventedthisplanforcreativetypes.Shegotmyattentionwhenshe
saidthatmosttimeplanskeepyousobusythanitspiralsoutofcontrol.I'vehadthathappen.Yougetdoing
moreandmorestuffonyourlistandfeellikeamachine.Sheaddedthemagic'harmony'category(aQ4in
disguise)Itriedthe4quadrantthingasatimemanagementtoolmanyyearsago.Iloveyourmodificationsand
refinementstoEisenhower'sMatrixIlaughed...sotrue,verywelldone.Especiallyclarifyingthe
Successtinator'sissuesAsubtletrapI'vebeeninforyears.
HereisthisbrilliantRussianwoman'splanwhosenameIcannotremember:Yousimplylabelyourdaywith4
parts:
1)Routine
everydaytypethingshavetobedone.dishes,shower,laundry,getgroceries,meals,answeremails
whatever.Theytaketime.
2)ImportantLittleThings
seemore

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Suncelesta>Anonymous 22daysago

IbelievethatmusthavebeenYanaFrank?She'sgreatandshesavedmylifebytheseideassometime
ago.However,therestillisthegreatproblemofdecidingwhichGreatTaskstochooseanddetermining
aretheyevensogreatandmeaningful.Unfortunately,thisisoftenveryunclear.I'verecentlyfound
myselfbeingquiteefficientindoingwhateverIdo,butwhatasurprise!noneofthatseemstofallin
Q2.
2

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Anonymous>Suncelesta 13daysago

Yes,thankyou,YanaFrank.Shedevelopedtimemanagementforcreativepersons.I'mhappy
togivethispersoncreditforhertimemanagementsystem.Itcontinuestoworkforme.It's
challengingtotrytodevelopa'GreatTask'.Outofthemanycontenders.ThereisabookIcan
recommendthatmayhelp.Itisabookaboutwritingdownthingsthatareinyourheadinsucha
waythatyoucanreadyourownmindandsolveyourownproblems.Sayyouwroteaboutthe
problemof'whatisthemostmeaningfulthingtomylifetoworkonrightnow'orsomethinglike
that.Youmayfindoutyouhavetheanswer.Haditallalong.Butyouhavetowriteitouttheway
theauthorshowsyou.Iheardsomesmartpersonsayoncethat"youdon'tknowwhatyouknow
untilyouwriteitdown".It'ssotrue.Thisbookfocusesyouandhistechniquesworkamazingly
well.Justdoallhisexercises.(It'sasmall,shortbooksodon'tbeafraid)Andit'sfortechnical
writerssojustchangethesubjectfrom'management'and'customers'toyourownpersonal
issues:It'scalled"AccidentalGeniusRevolutionizeyourthinkingthroughprivatewriting"by
MarkLevy.
1

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Suncelesta>Anonymous 13daysago

Thanks,IthinkI'mgoingtocheckthisout!

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SamKozman amonthago

Thereisthisbeautifulironyabouthalfoftheemailscomingfromprocrastinatorsthatreadtheprocrastination
article,butmaybeironyisnttherightwordseeingashowbigofaproblemitis

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troublesometots amonthago

I'maDisastinator,damnit.Damnitdamnitdamnit.
MyMonkeyiswaaaytoopowerful.Whyisn'tmybookdone?Nofearinducingdeadlineandapowerful
Monkey.
Excellentpost.Ihate/loveyousohardrightnow.
3

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InnokentiySokolov amonthago

It'sveryinterestingarticleandit'sclosetowhat'sinsidemyownhead.It'sabitclearertosortallthingsout
now.Thankyou!

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Sharp amonthago

Thankyouforthispost.Itprovidesmoreusefulinformationthansomewholebooksdo.
2

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ZbynkDrb amonthago

Wonderifthemonkeyepidemicisaresultofoverindulgentchildrearingthatplacesemphasison"being
yourself"andshunsstufflikedisciplineandstructure.
2

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shaylabird>ZbynkDrb amonthago

Personally,Idon'tthinkso.IhadoneofthosechildhoodsandI'vealwaysbeenprettygoodwithtime
management.
1

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ZbynkDrb>shaylabird amonthago

Theregoesthelastchancetointerpretmychildhoodassomethinggoodformeintheend...

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DragosAlexandruCostiniu>ZbynkDrb 20daysago

Letmestrikeanotherblowatthat,mate:I'vebeenhavinga
fatherthatalwayspressedonthatIshouldgoformilitaryschool,raisedme
inalmostlikemilitarydiscipline[helikedmilitaryalot,thoughhewas
notamilitaryman...perhapsthatwasoneofhisunaccomplisheddreamsthathe
soughttoaccomplishthroughme?],butallatthesametimewhileallowing
metobewhoIamheneverforcedmetowritewithmyrighthandanddidn't
allowanyonetodothat[mygrandfathertried],gotmearoundtoseeand
practicediversesportsandallowedmetodowhichoneIlikedmostandstuff
likethat.Hetriedtocombineinmethetwobestpractices:disciplineand
"beingyourself"=freedom.Theresultwasand,toadegree,stillis
satisfactory:sometimesIhaveadisciplinethatevenformyfatherishardto
stomach,Ilikefreedomforeveryoneandeverything[people,animals,
plants],andalthoughthingswerelookingalotbetterjustbeforeandat
thebeginningofuni,theywentdownandIgotaroundtoprocrastinatingalot
ofmytimenow,asanadult.AndeventhoughIlikesomethingsIrarelytake
action.Sotrytomakesomethingoutofthat.

seemore

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Acropoet amonthago

Let'stakethisastepfurtherandapplytheEisenhowerMatrixtojobs.Ofcourse,thereareunimportantthingsin
ourjobsthatwehavetodoandcouldevenbe"urgent",butletmedisregardthosebecausetheyactuallyhelp
usgetthroughtheday.IammoreinterestedinQ1andQ2.Ibelievethatifyourjobisallaboutdeadlines,thatis
inQ1,anditforcesyoutodotheworkonlywhenitisimportantANDurgent,thenyourjobcontrolsyouand
becomesunsatisfying.Ifyoucannotdotheimportantworkwhenyouwant,thatis,controlyourownuseofyour
time,youcannotbesatisfied.Onlywhenyoucontrolwhenyoudotheimportantworkinyourjobcanyoube
satisfiedwithit.Justathought.
2

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Micailyn amonthago

Thankyousomuchforthisarticle
andthetwopreviousarticlesIfoundthemveryencouraging,ifonlybecause
theyremindedmethatIamnotaloneinmytimewastinginsanity.
Myprocrastinationstorydoesnotexactlyfitintooneofthethreecategories
inthispost,butallthreeprocrastinationpostshavedefinitelyexplained
differentcomponentsofit.
Ihaveprocrastinatedsinceelementaryschool,butthewayIhave
procrastinatedandthedegreetowhichithasaffectedmylifehavechanged
significantlyovertheyears(Iamnowinmyfirstyearofcollege).
Inelementaryschool,Iwasbasicallyasuccessinator,butIwouldactually
procrastinateinQ2withbooksthatwereworthreadingandthingsthatwere
worthdoing.Irespondedtothepanicmonsterwithplentyofenergy,turnedmy
workinontime,gotgoodgrades,anddidn'tworryaboutschoolafterIhad
turnedthingsin(i.e.Ineverexperiencedthe'mixedfeelingspark').Towards

theendofelementaryschoolIdidbegintoexperiencemixedfeelingsaboutmy
work,soIgotmyacttogetheralittlemore.DuringthattimeIoftenexperienced
seemore

12

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Anne>Micailyn 17daysago

Greatjobinbeingawareofyourselfandtakingyourselfoutofadangerousplace.I'mgladyou're
buckingthecycle.Askforhelpifyouneedit,andkeepmoving.Movement,inwhateverdirection,is
inertia,andonceyou'removingit'seasiertofindtheRIGHTdirection.Whenyoustop,theeasiest
directionisDOWN.Goodluck.
1

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VeronikaH.Drageid>Micailyn amonthago

Sowellwritten!Evenifourlivesaredifferent,formetoohasprocrastinationresultedinisolation,low
selfesteemanddepression.

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Micailyn>Micailyn amonthago

Ijustrealizedthatityped"ofcourse"twiceinarowandit'sdrivingmeinsane.

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Nikhil amonthago

Holycow,IdidnotthinkwhenIstartedreadingthisarticlethatitwouldleavemefeelingemotional.The
scary/creepypartaboutthiswasthatIwasreadingthisonaFridayafternoonhavingalreadyprocrastinatedall
myworkforthefollowingweek.BytheendofitthoughIfeltashamedandmotivatedallatthesametime,todo
somethinggoodinmylife.
Ijusthope,justsodearlyhopethatIdidnotdelegatethatresponsibilitytofutureNikhil.
4

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Eric amonthago

AfewthoughtsI'vebeenmullingoverthepastcoupleofdays...
FutureEricmaynotexist,butFuturePresentEricisveryreal.PresentErichasaresponsibilitynottofuckup
FuturePresentEric.
FuturePresentEric'swillpowerisfiniteandextremelyvaluable.Treatitwisely.Don'tovercommitFuture
PresentEric'swillpower.
Infact,don'tovercommitFuturePresentEricatall.OnlyvolunteerFuturePresentEricforthingsthatreally
matter.
Excitabilityisacharacterweakness.(Excitability,notenthusiasm.)Excitabilitywastespreciouswillpower.It
undercommitsPresentEricandovercommitsFuturePresentEric.Themonkeyisexcitable.(SoisthePanic
Monster,forthatmatter.)
ControlledandFocusedwinsthedayoverExcitability.Sorry,monkey.
ItisimportantthatItreatotherswell.Keepingmycommitmentstootherskeepingthemfullyandinatimely
mannerisanimportantwaythatItreatotherswell.OvercommittingFuturePresentEricmeansIeventually
letsomeonedown.
ItisimportantthatItreatmyselfwell.ThestressandguiltthatcomesfromovercommittingFuturePresent
Eric'swillpowermeansthatI'mnottreatingmyselfwell.
Paradoxically,FuturePresentEricwillhave*more*willpowerandthereforewillbeabletodomorethingsif
PresentEriccanavoidprecommittingtoomuchofFPE'swillpower.Thestressandguiltofhavingtoomany
commitmentsdrainsFPE'swillpowerandturnshimintoalesserversionofhimself.
TurningFuturePresentEricintoalesserversionofhimselffuckshimup.AndPresentErichasa
responsibilitynottofuckupFuturePresentEric.
That'sallIhavefornow.
5

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HoiYing>Eric amonthago

Thankyouforthis.WhenIreadabouttheProcrastinationMatrix,Ican'thelpbutfallintothatdarkplace
whereIbelievethatnothingIdowilleverbeenough,whichmakesbasicallysingleeffortpointless.
IthelpsmetoknowthatthereisaFuturePresentMebetweenthePresentMeandtheFutureMe.Who
onlyhastofocusononething:treatmyselfandotherswellTODAYandkeepmycommitmentsfor
TODAY.Whocanberewardedforthelittlestofthings,likemakingapromisetovisitafriendand
managingtoactuallyshowup(andnothingmorethanjustshowingup).IfIcommittomore,Iparalyze.
Idowonderwhatyoumeanbyexcitementandenthousiasmthoughisenthousiasmtherealistic
versionofexcitementbyyourdefinition?
1

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Eric>HoiYing amonthago

Yeah,Ihearyou.Ispentseveralyearsinthatdarkplaceyou'retalkingaboutwhenIfirsttriedto
startabusiness.TheparalysisofhavingsomuchI*should*dotranslatedintolongstretches
whereIwouldn'tdo*anything*.Itwreakedhavoconmyconfidence,myhealth,mymarriage,
prettymucheverything.Thelastfiveyearshavebeenprogressivelybetterandbetter,butI'm
stillpronetoperiodicrelapses.IthelpsalotwhenIremembertoremindmyselftotreatothers
wellandtotreatmyselfwell...Likeyousaid,evenifit'ssmall,itstillmatters,andit'softenenough
togetmemoving.
WhenIsay"excitable",Imean"respondingtooreadilytosomethingneworstimulatingtoo
easilyexcited."(ItotallystolethatfromtheGoogledictionary.)Basically,I'mjustdescribingthe
monkey...helovesstimulusbutdoesn'twanttoactuallyworktodoanythingwiththatstimulus.
Enthusiasmismorematureandproductivethanexcitability.Itjustmeans"intenseenjoymentor
interest."(IstolethatfromWikipedia.)IthinkEnthusiasmisakeyingredientinthe"Flow"state
thatTimdescribesinPart2ofhisoriginalProcrastinationposts.

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CookieFonster amonthago

i'mmyselfstillinhighschoolifinditprettyneattoreadthispostbeforeigettoallthecrazyrealworldstuff.
1

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VeronikaH.Drageid>CookieFonster amonthago

Oh,IreallyhopeyoudoyourbesttotametheIGMonkey,becausepracticemakeperfect,andthere
aresomuchbetterthingstobecomegoodatthanprocrastination.Actuallyalmostanythingisbetter.

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Vishakha amonthago

IloveyourInstantGratificationMonkeyforthatonemomentinwhichhetrickedyouintowritingblogs,best
thingthathappenedtoyouandtous.Andeveryoneherelovesyourshittystickdrawings.ThatyoungTimisso
muchsimilartomethatIthinkheismysoulmate.Iamtryingmybesttocontrolmymonkeyanddidyoujust
noticehowyouused'she'foranImpostinator?Yeah,that'sme.YourblogismyQ4.Keepupthegoodwork.:)
4

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RajarshiGhosh amonthago

Abrilliantarticle,andsuperbinsights.IfeeltobeinQ4now,assittinginofficeinafridayafternoonandreading
thisarticle,Ihaveprocrastinatedallmypendingwork.
Ihavebeenfollowingyourarticlesforquitesometime,beginningwith'GenerationYYuppies',andwhatIam
witnessingrightnowisthatyouareabletotouchpeoplearoundtheworldwiththemostbasicthingswefacein
ourdailylives.Itmaybeworthwhiletofeedyourmonkeywiththeideaofbecominganorator,perhapsan
appearanceatTedTalksandbecomingalifestylemanagementguruinthelongrun.
Themonkeywouldloveit,especiallywithallthegratificationhewouldget.JustgetyourRDMenthusiastic
abouttheidea,andwell,youmayrealizeyourpotentialsoonerthanyouwouldhavethought!

Reply Share

Dimitrije amonthago

Icouldwritealongcommentabouthowthispostresonatedwithmeonareallydeeplevel(andmaybeIwillat
somepoint),butfornow,I'lljustsaythatI'veprobablyneverbeenmoreproductiveinmylifethanforthelast
twodays,afterreadingthisstuffandchangingafewsmallthingsinmybehavior(forexample,saying"notnow,
monkey"outloudatcertainpoints).Justtherealizationofthetruenatureofmyproblem,whichyouexplained
sothoroughlyandaccurately,wasenoughtoimmediatelyputmeintoacompletelydifferentmindframe.We'll
seeifitlasts.
ThankyouTim,thiswasoneofthebestpiecesoflifeadvicethatIevergot,literally(andIdon'tusethatword
unlessIreallymeanit).
3

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autheclified amonthago

Impostinatorhere.InthreemonthsI'llbedonewithschoolandI'mscaredshitless.Iguessit'snormaltonot
knowthedifferencebetween"important"and"unimportant"atmyage,butshit,thismakesitreallyhardforme
todifferbetweenthefirstthreequadrants.Thedifficultthingis...Ireallywanttobecomeanactress,butmy
passiononlyslightlyoverpowersmydoubt.Mymomwantsmetobecomeadoctor,andifIwasforcedtomake
themost"ethical"choice,I'dbeinmedschooleventhoughIreallydon'twantto.AllItrulyknowisthatIwantto
createstuffandmovepeople,butIgeteasilydistracted(fuckingmonkey)andeasilyfrustrated(fuckingself
consciousness).
IwishIknewwhoIwanttobebutI'mscaredofbeingaware.
1

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