Ever spent the whole day on social media when you knew you should be working on something? I know it happened to me, more times than I would like to admit. Over the years I’ve tried hundreds of hacks, from gallons of coffee, to multiple alarm clocks set throughout the day, to buying myself something nice when I accomplish the goal.
Two years ago I published a whole blog post with my favorite hacks like this. Many friends thanked me for these tips, or said they’ve been doing the same things all the time. I share my body with a monkey, I thought, and it only wants to eat junk food, fool around, and avoid anything that requires the slightest effort.
Now that I got better at trusting my body, I’m learning to trust my monkey mind as well. And from what I’ve learned so far, this ain’t no lazy monkey. It’s not like she doesn’t want to do anything. She just hates being forced to do things that have no meaning to her.
When I procrastinate, it’s not because I am lazy. It’s because I’m either confused about what to do next, or see no point in doing it. If I were single and the man of my dreams suddenly asked me out, I wouldn’t need any hacks or productivity systems to trick myself into getting my lazy ass out of the house. I’d run across the city and move mountains on the way, if this was needed to get to my date on time.
Remember how it feels like?
The work that normally takes you hours, you’ll finish singing with joy in half the usual time, knowing what reward awaits in the end.
Even if it’s the same boring task that you did every day for the last 15 years, this time it will have a different flavor to it. You’ll be delighted to bring that thing to completion, knowing that once you’re done with it, you’ll be able to meet the man or woman of your dreams.
If you’ve ever been in love, you know what I’m talking about.
This is what happens when you put your whole heart into something. When instead of trying to force yourself to do the thing you know you should be doing but aren’t really feeling like it, you put all your will and effort into achieving your wildest dream.
But what if I told you wild dreams aren’t just the stuff of romantic comedies?
What if you could let yourself dream with the same intensity in every other area of your life?
Would you even know what your wild dreams would be?
After years of mass indoctrination to “be practical” and to do things that will be “good for your career”, nearly everyone in the Western world completely forgot how to dream. Romantic love is one of the few areas where it is still accepted, but bring the same passion into work, learning, or even your hobbies, and everyone will think you’re a freak.
Deprived of dreams and passion, the most you can do is to drag yourself from one obligation to another, using punishments, rewards, and lots of caffeine to keep you going. It’s easy to think that without all these elaborate systems in place you’d just collapse on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and eating pizza straight out of the cardboard box for the whole week.
Just two years ago, I’d be the first one to tell you that I need discipline to prevent me from doing this. Now it makes no fucking sense.
Seriously, if you could do or experience absolutely anything in the world, why would you choose Netflix and pizza?
Is this really the best possible thing that you can come up with?
We ridicule kids for their dreams and then wonder what happened to adults
If every time you shared your dreams with someone they would make fun of it, it’s not easy to admit, even just to yourself, that your life isn’t quite what you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll always have a good explanation why it’s only rational to do the things you don’t really feel like doing. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know, and few people can afford the luxury of spending time on pleasantries.
With time, you may completely forget that you ever had such a dream. Life goes by, and between work, personal obligations, and binge-watching Netflix, there isn’t much space or time to remind yourself about it.
But even as you’re chasing one distraction after another, deep down in your heart you’ll know.
There won’t be any better time to start dreaming again.