In my book I discuss “The Procrastination Wheel of Suffering” a diagram loosely based on the Buddhist “Wheel of Samsara,” which depicts the cyclic, self-perpetuating nature of human suffering. While everyone’s style of procrastination is unique, several common features are included in this wheel. The point of presenting the issue in this way is to highlight how we unwittingly create and maintain behavior that we don’t like, and then feel unhappy and controlled by it. The more times we go around the wheel, the more we reinforce the pattern. The steps become grooved and automatic, and the wheel eventually spins without our conscious awareness. If this cycle seems familiar to you, you are not alone.
If you are aware of your resistance as it occurs in the moment, you have the option of choosing to write in spite of it and every tiny victory serves to slow the cycle. Begin with small steps that are only mildly uncomfortable, because feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, resentment, and dread are more likely to be activated if your daily goals and expectations are too ambitious. The best way to break the cycle at any point is to go ahead and write a little bit every day, even if some inner voice is screaming at you to pop a beer and turn on the TV. This takes some effort and practice, but if you’re successful, you will feel good knowing that you have established some control over the process.