Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

How to Identify the Difference Between Problem Thinking and Procrastination Thinking?


how to identify the difference between problem thinking and procrastination thinking

See the following scenario:

  1. I have something to do
  2. I need to understand how to do it
  3. I think about the ways to do it
  4. I think about the consequences of the ways to do it
  5. I think about why I want to do it in the first place
  6. I think about…
  7. I do something

I guess that this path is the same in the problem thinking paradigm and the procrastination thinking one. The only difference is in the brain of the person that thinks.

Yet, in the former case, you eventually do something. In the later case, nothing eventually get done. In other term, asking questions is a good way to get things done, but you still have to stop asking questions and start doing something at some point in time.

Indeed, there is always something that you have missed and you could have thought about. In other terms, you can always put the doing to tomorrow and keep thinking today.

But, I think that at some point, provided you remain intellectually honest, thinking just does not overweight what you will learn in your first mistakes.

Indeed, your first try will most likely result in a mistake. Maybe the procrastination thinking tend to believe that you only have one shot and need to be perfect at first iteration.

I suggest to face the fact you have to gain experience and at some point start doing something.

But here the question is: When is it a good time to stop thinking and start doing? Should you allocate a time to think and force you to do after that time ? Are there methods out there to decide ?

I strongly believe that one way of overcoming the procrastination thinking is to listen to yourself. I believe that you need to reach intellectually honesty, where your arguments are aligned with your behavior and feelings. Our brains keeps lying to ourselves to reduce cognitive dissonance, so using techniques to reach mindfulness help understanding your feeling and give insight whether you are procrastinating or not. Another way is to read about cognitive bias, like a « RTFM of my brain ». That way, you can be more aware of the classical traps that your brains falls into and you are more prone to avoid them (again, in my humble opinion).

Also, I think that procrastination thinking might be the of you not being appropriately engaged. If that is so, you likely have an incomplete list of unclear stuff and asking questions gives you the false sense of control and let you postpone the action for later.

In that’s so, being clear with yourself on what you honestly think you will do and what you honestly think you won’t is a good way to avoid procrastination thinking.

In my case, accepting not doing what I was not doing was one of the most difficult things I did in the path of being intellectually honest. It was very hard to get through all the lies my brain believed to make me feel better. So I guess that it might be hard for you as well. In other terms, it is much easier to say « yes, but I have a few question first » rather than « let’s face it, I won’t do it ». Again, I believe that asking questions is a good thing in this context, but only when you are clear on what the outcome is, not as a unconscious way to postpone the decision.