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How My Father killed my procrastination

It’s early August 2022, I have just finished working at 18:00 and I am lying in bed. As a web developer, I have the privilege to work next to my bed.

It’s 40 degrees outside and I am feeling shit. I am barely breathing, my eyes are burning and my nose is like an air-sealed bag. I have allergic asthma, so my breathing system is vulnerable.

As time went by and midnight arrived my situation only got worse.
My father was 2 bedrooms away. He has chronic asthma. Maybe, I should not complain after all. He was in a similar condition. All night we heard each other coughing.

At some point, I saw the sun rising out of my window. It was 6 in the morning. I was in my head thinking that I won’t be able to log in to work.

“I should call in sick.” ”I won’t be able to perform like that.” ”It is impossible to even breathe.” ”How am I supposed to sit at my computer and work for 8 hours? I can’t even get out of bed.”

As was going deeper into the rabbit hole in my mind my thoughts were interrupted.

It was my father. He came to my room to get some clean clothes ( He keeps his clothes in my bedroom since I left for college). The dialogue that followed still plays in my head.

— Good morning son, how are you?
— Not good dad. I can hardly breathe and haven’t slept. How about you?
— Exactly the same. (*continues to get his clothes)
— What are you doing?
— I am getting ready.
— Ready for what?
— Ready for work.
— You gonna work like that? I can’t even get off the bed.
— Yes I will. Have a good rest son.

I did not answer. I was left in awe. My mind could not understand how he would be able to work.

We have a family business in Areopoli. It’s a bakery with lots of local products. August is the busiest period. It’s literally a madhouse. The shop is constantly full. You can’t handle the workload even when you are fully rested. How on earth would he be able to do it like that?

The day went by. I clocked in. Tried to work. Clocked out. Continued to suffer from the illness. 12 hours had passed since my father left for work and I was waiting for him. I wanted to see how he was.

At around 7 he came home and into my room to check on me. Then, he changed his clothes and went to his room. He was probably in worse condition than I was. He never complained though. He did not mention that he was sick. He woke up, went to work, came back checked on me, and continued with his day.

Weeks after, I was still thinking about it. So, I ask my father.

— Yeah, what about it?
— I still cannot understand how you were able to go to work that morning.
— I just did.
— What do you mean you just did?
— I had to go to work and I did. There is nothing more to it.
— But you hadn’t slept and you were in pain.
— So what? I got the work done, didn’t I?

And that was the end of it.

To this day I am still thinking about this. I am 24 and at my physical peak. My father is 50 with chronic asthma. I cannot get out of bed and he works 12 hours servicing people in 45 degrees.

After contemplating the situation for a long time, I concluded the following.

  • Procrastination is a privilage

Let me analyze it. I only procrastinate when I have the luxury to do it. If I have something important and urgent to do I don’t procrastinate. I just do. That is why procrastination stops on the last day before the exams. The is no more time to waste, you must study. If you don’t the consequences will be worse. So, you study.

Monitoring myself the following months after the incident, I found something interesting. I procrastinate on tasks where I do not want the final goal enough. I am not saying that I do not want the goal at all. I am saying that I value being comfortable more than achieving the goal. Otherwise, I would choose the goal over comfort.

Based on that, I have found 2 ways to stop procrastination:

  • I need a task that must be done no matter what.
  • I need a goal that is crucial to me. The possibility of not hitting my goal must hurt me way more than being uncomfortable and doing the task.

Coming back to the story of my father, I can see both of those ways.

  1. Not going to work was not an option. Someone had to be there.
  2. Not helping my mother on such a difficult day was way worse than suffering from the illness.

From that day, every time I find myself procrastinating (which happens all the time), I have to pick between my goal and comfort. Sometimes the winner is the goal, other times the winner is comfort.

However, every time I have control over the decision. I can enjoy my comfort, embrace the struggle or change the goal. The alternative is to let the day slip by in a middle state where I am too bored to work and too anxious to relax. I will take the first option every time.

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