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January 16th, 2021
The end of an unproductive day can drag right past a decent bedtime for no obvious nor good reason. The rebellious mind keeps scrolling or whiling away time with more unproductive pomp. We add to a bad day by indulging in the opportunity to make it worse, and inevitably tomorrow is already at a deficient with a poor foundation of sleep.
Most of us have been there. It’s too late to actually start anything of substance. The day is already a throw-away. So why can it be so difficult to actually throw the day away and get on with sleep and welcome the fresh slate of tomorrow?
An unproductive day is an insult to personal agency. It’s an affront to our ability to seize control of our life and make something of it. More than anything, it’s evidence that we don’t have control. And it’s this helpless and even desperate feeling that we rebel against by trying to stretch the day out longer. With so little will power, the power to further ruin the day becomes the only way we can express our sense of agency. When we’d be better served to just call it a day and try and forget it and move on, we finally persevere, but only to our detriment. This is a sort of anti-routine, and the procrastination it represents only fortifies how powerful a routine can be.
Pushing through the routine of work, even when it yields nothing but frustration, new problems and further blocks to imagined progress, we can, at the end of the day still rest with the notion that we gave it a shot. Beyond this, there’s the realization that all those new problems, frustrations and blocks would have still been waiting there tomorrow if they hadn’t been discovered today. The flimsy logic of procrastination indulges in the idea that something might be better handled at a later time when conditions are better. Not only is this circular logic by way of being a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it creates a fantasy of progress, making it out to be smoother and easier than it actually will be, if only we just time it right and have all the predatory details in order. Fact is, unfortunately, the problems of progress only get kicked down the road of finite time, leaving less of it available to use in order to solve those problems.
Procrastination, inaction, or progress and action - both sides of this divide snowball. They gain momentum through the day, and by the end of it, one barrels onward, cutting into sleep to ruin tomorrow, while the other enables it’s own end with a decisive call to actually end the day. Routine perpetuates further routine, whereas the missed opportunity to use that routine breeds a rebellion to keep that routine at bay even longer.