Can I Let the Monkey Win? Part I

Ironically, I struggled against YouTubing music videos to get myself writing for this post. Yes, I procrastinated the second after watching an inspiring anti-procrastination video to write a post about winning against procrastination. But I promise I have a point: I won and hence you are reading this post after all that struggle.

I have always been and am still getting over being a master procrastinator. It took me years of wanting to write before I put pen to paper – or fingers to the keyboard might be more accurate. Running this blog more and more actively is a win for me against procrastination, especially this month. I am not saying that I have the perfect formula to cure procrastination. The battle is continuous and every moment is a choice to let procrastination blow me off course or to get into a productive gear.

As the video shows, here is how the game works:


The left side is the Dark Playground riddled with “guilt”, “anxiety”, and “self-hatred” as we spend time on the easy and fun stuff to no productive end. The right side, as I decided to call it, is the Action Plan. This is the stuff that needs focus and has to be done to achieve our goals. Eventually, when the Panic Monster shows up we move out of the Dark Playground and focus on the Action Plan. But what about the stuff that never has a deadline? What about the quality of progress and achievement we could have achieved by not doing everything last minute?

The two territories represented by the circles are not exclusive. SOME of the essential tasks are also easy and fun; these are the quick hits we can complete to be industrious SUPERSTARS without the Panic Monster! So, I propose that we give ourselves more of these chances to get things done and make them easy or fun to do. Let’s push the circles closer and make the diagram look something like this:


Let’s convince the monkey to change its perspective on the to-do list: expand its preferences and focus on the bright side of every task. Let’s coax the monkey to spend less time in the Dark Playground and give it more productive tasks it can be excited about. Make the Action Plan less boring and challenging.

How can the Rational Decision Maker and the Instant Gratification Monkey share the playground? Let’s hear from you. How do you…

  • convince yourself to do the tasks that need to be done but thinking about them leaves you less than thrilled?
  • break the cycle that lets you sit there and watch an entire season of a show you may not even particularly enjoy? Or play 50 levels of a video game in one sitting?
  • get things done that have a very long-term or no deadline?

Check out Part II of this post for my own list of strategies to battle procrastination and get stuff done.


10 thoughts on “Can I Let the Monkey Win? Part I

    1. True. I will have to check out this book. I recently attended a workshop that spoke to a similar idea. Productivity and focus is important for getting things done but they can be insufficient for new ideas and creativity. Success requires both qualities.
      Thanks for your great feedback 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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