The Dark Playground

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

Coming from an abnormal(ly) creative family (Tenenbaumesque), I have been witness to the art of procrastination for many years. I may have even dabbled in the medium myself. My sister is the DaVinci of procrastination. When faced with a dead-line, her true genius pours forth on life's canvas. It is a thing of beauty...when it's over that is. If you are unfortunate enough to be in her vicinity during her self-induced last minute "creative process" then you may be worse for the wear. Chances are you will get sucked into her vortex and spat back out when it's over, dazed and dazzled all at once. This is the Lowther way. Our family motto is "Anything that can be done easy can be done hard." Don't think too long on the grammar there.

I need to clarify. This used to be my sister's modus operandi. She used to claim her procrastinating gave her an edge. I agree that there is a certain amount of creativity (and adrenaline) tapped when working under pressure. However, when it comes to situations without deadlines, procrastination as a creative means falls disappointingly short. Starting a business requires an incredible amount of self-discipline. To set your own deadlines when you are the only one you have to answer to takes extreme dedication. My sister's new motto is "Everything is figureoutable" and she's figuring it out in advance, not last minute. She's come a long way from her infamous high school science project all nighters.

So what does procrastination have to do with organizing and decluttering? It turns out, it's truly at the root of what we do at Dwell Happy. No, not procrastinating! Haha! Very funny! We help people move beyond their own procrastination. You see, everything we own comes with decisions. Things often pour into our homes at a much quicker rate than they leave them. Each thing comes with choices to buy, keep, store, discard, fix...or decide later. If you have a cluttered home, you have visual evidence of procrastination. Whether you realize it or not, that clutter weighs on you. It is a nagging to-do list; a constant reminder of your procrastination.

Some people may shove this "list" in the laundry room when company calls, buy storage bins or rent a storage unit to store this "list", or even buy a bigger house to accommodate their ever increasing "list". Maintaining this "list" comes at a high cost! In truth, we only use about 20% of what we own. The other 80% is just stuff we haven't gotten around to making a decision on yet. The laundry room, storage unit and bigger house only serve as an extension of the deadline of making decisions about your things...unless you hit a for real "dead"line (pun intended) and leave all your procrastinating for your children to inherit.

The 80% many are holding onto may be dragging them down financially, relationally, and spiritually. The excess is clogging the arteries of a life lived to the full. Think of the experiences missed out on in life only to acquire, maintain and store possessions. Think of all the time spent being with friends and family, traveling, volunteering, creating, and resting that could be done if there was a redefinition of "success" away from the ability to accumulate. When we stop living in the "Dark Playground"(as Tim Urban calls it) of procrastination, we find true freedom. The only thing holding us back is a deadline. Placing a deadline on your clutter has a way of helping to prioritize your life anew. Those "someday" dreams become goals for today.

Procrastination is the manifestation of perfectionism, anxiety, or anxiety over being perfect. "I need to find the perfect place to keep that, but I don't have time right now, I'll get to it later." Or "I might need that someday!" Or "I wish I could invite the new neighbor over... (but I'll have to clean and have fresh flowers and a home-baked pie with blueberries picked from my own bushes).

So for those being held back by perfectionism and anxiety, stop procrastinating. Declutter today! Go on, what are you waiting for!!

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