Question: I feel like I'm stuck! I need some kind of new motivation for doing things that I just don't feel like doing, even though I know I need to do them. Where do I look?
Answer: All procrastination is rooted in resistance. The mind imagines how unpleasant a task will be by comparing it to past tasks, and then resists its own comparative findings. If we are asleep to this inner dynamic, we unconsciously accept its findings and are defeated by it! Try doing what you don't want to do by going into it with a wish to learn something new about it. Newness is life's principle. On the other side of resistance is the flow of real life.
Excerpted from Seeker's Guide to Self-Freedom
Question: I find myself constantly justifying putting off what really needs to be done. Parts of me convince me that I'm entitled to procrastinate, yet the end result is always that I suffer over the inevitable consequences!
Answer: All acts of justification are your way of saying, "I'm in charge and can handle this," which holds the promise of, "Tomorrow I won't be the way I am today." As long as you can justify yourself, you will have mastered your pain. But the only thing that is the master is the pain.
Until you uncover the deception in self-justification, you can't grow. When you continue to justify yourself, you allow the lower aspects of yourself to act out for the higher ones. Procrastination is just one of many forms of justification, which include complaining, "if only," and all negative states that seem to validate the thoughts and feelings that are stealing your life.
Refuse to take part in considering yourself from these negative states. Begin to die psychologically to these aspects of yourself that have a death grip on you. Giving good reasons for your procrastination has nothing to do with freedom from it. Real change begins with running out of ways to justify yourself.
You can begin to have another kind of relationship in the moment. When you no longer find comfort in putting things off, you can begin to understand the mechanism of justification and how it makes your experiences line up to your views of how you see what's going on. Realize the need for a higher life and stop procrastinating. Dare to bare the feeling of what will happen when you don't cover up the lie of your presently painful life.
(Excerpted from a classroom talk)
Question: Oftentimes I know the right thing to do, and yet I don't do it -- for example -- rather than continuing to work, I give in to being lazy. How can I develop more inner discipline?
Answer: We are empowered to walk away from self-defeating behaviors in direct portion to our ability to see these same behaviors as being such. Start by recognizing that the person who procrastinates within you is the same person who then punishes you for your irresponsibility. These seem like two separate selves to our sleep nature, but they are secretly one self whose sole purpose is to keep us in its ever-darkening circle.
(Excerpted from a chatroom classroom)
Question: I'm faced with so many things that have to be done in a timely manner that it exhausts and overwhelms me. I worry myself sick about how I'll get everything done, so I just procrastinate and manage to get none of it done!
Answer: At any given moment, regardless of appearance or any emotional certainty to the contrary, it is not the demand of those already-overdue, hundred and one tasks that have you feeling so overwhelmed and under prepared. What you're really experiencing is the overwhelming presence of one thought: One thought that calls itself one hundred and one things to do. Each time you're faced with a logjam of tasks that seem far beyond your mortal abilities to resolve in the allotted time, here's what to do.
First, whittle these logs down to manageable size by writing each one out on a pad of paper. This act will also help you untangle some of your own tangled feelings about the jam you're in. Just forget their order of importance for now. That will become clear later. Just get each pending task down on paper. Besides, your priorities can only be as clear as your thinking, so making this list helps to clarify both. Another benefit of your list is that it will keep confusion out of the picture, and confusion is to anxiety what wind is to a dust-devil.
Once you have your list of tasks written down on paper, place a star next to number one on your list. Then do it! Take number one on your list and just get that one thing done. Consciously refuse to entertain any other thoughts that push themselves into your mind with images of impossibility. It is possible to do one thing at a time. And it is possible to successfully complete one thing at a time, and to do that one thing to the very best of your ability. Then . . . move onto the next task at hand: Number two. Follow the same winning procedure as you did with number one! Then do number three, and so on, and so on, until all is done.
The main lesson here is that it only becomes impossible to succeed when you try to deal with what isn't in your power. There are renegade parts of you that want you to waste your powers dealing with them. Your misguided attention to their punishing presence gives them a life they wouldn't have without tricking you into giving them one. This means you don't need power to deal with what's been defeating you, only the higher understanding it takes to consciously dismiss it from your inner life. You have that power Now. Start using it.
Excerpted from Design Your Destiny
Question: I often feel lazy when it comes to studying. This wasn't the case when I was a student; rather the opposite was true. I used to be the top of my class. But, after graduating, I no longer feel the urge to study. Moreover, I am becoming involved in playing video games or watching movies. I know I have to study for higher exams, but when I sit to study, various forces or voices compel me to procrastinate. Please help!
Answer: Asking what to do about procrastinating is just another way of putting off what you need to see about yourself and the likely emptiness of your present pursuits in life. Where there is no love for what one does, there can be no wish to do it. No one loves a master who compels or coerces them -- against their will -- to do what they would rather not. That being said... if there is a householder duty of some kind to be performed, some true daily responsibility to care of (or otherwise provide for others), then be responsible to that task while remembering this liberating truth: it is what we love that determines our experience of whatever it is that we are given to do, regardless of its nature. How to awaken love is not something anyone can tell you how to do. Start where you are, and be grateful that love is helping you to see what doesn't love you. Before any new relationship can begin, one must end. The day will come, if you persist with your wish to be free, when you will see that the beginning and ending of love are not in time.
(Excerpted from student correspondence)