This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Zabby Allen, the founder of The Procrastination Paper on my podcast and on here too! Zabby explains how she’s reframed procrastination to be a positive and how to minimise the distractions on your phone.
Here, Zabby shares her own experience of procrastination, tips for managing it and how her monthly paper can help you.
What’s your experience of procrastination and how did it impact your life?
I procrastinate constantly! And despite the fact I encourage people to step away from their screens for a living, I still spend a really long time looking at my phone and 90% of my day in front of my laptop when I’m working. But I have also learnt the value of a bit of procrastination time and I’ve learnt so much about procrastination and screen time in general whilst working on the Procrastination Paper that I am so much more aware of my habits now.
I also know now how much happier I am when I take a little time away from my screens and try and take regular breaks and put boundaries in place, like not looking at my phone as soon as I wake up or after a certain time at night.
How did you beat procrastination?
I don’t think it can be ‘beaten’ per se, we will always procrastinate, it’s just part of being human. But I’m all about reframing it into something positive. Procrastination just means we are temporarily stepping away from the task at hand, and that means we now have room to reflect or discover something new that reframes our way of thinking or could even benefit wha we’re (procrastinating from) working on. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve found amazing contributors in the time that I’ve been procrastinating from editing the magazine!
What are your top tips for overcoming procrastination and making things happen?
One thing I think we can do is dig deeper on WHY we are procrastinating. When you become aware that you’re procrastinating ask yourself what you are procrastinating from and why. It’s likely because you’re scared of something. Usually when you begin to unpick those feelings you realise that what you’re scared of isn’t so awful after all, or you might just gain some clarity, because you realise that it’s totally OK to be scared of those things. Sometimes that’s all you need to be able to move on.
One thing I do when I really can’t afford to procrastinate is keep a notepad next to me while I’m working and any time I think of something I want to do (check my Instagram notifications, watch that YouTube video, change my bedding, look at the property alert Rightmove just sent me for the house I’ll never be able to afford…) I write it on the notepad, to come back to after the task at hand is complete. Usually when I come back to the list at the end of the day I realise I don’t actually want or need to do many of the things I wrote down anyway!
How can The Procrastination Paper help?
The Procrastination Paper won’t cure your smartphone addiction, I wish I could say it would! But really, it’s just there as a paper alternative to scrolling through Instagram. My hope is that it will encourage you to embrace your creativity, get curious, go on adventures, have conversations and really take time to reflect and consider things.
There are puzzles to not only keep you entertained, but challenge your brain. Sometimes there are colouring pages and doodle boxes to help you switch off and practise mindfulness. Plus it’s packed full of articles that I hope will hold your attention long enough to distract you away from your screens. I love reading and find that I’m much more likely to read something longer if it’s in print, rather than on screen.
I’m not against social media or screens whatsoever, but I hope that the magazine encourages people to use them in a slightly more mindful way, in a way that makes them feel good. When people subscribe, they get a Welcome Pack which is filled with tips and tricks on bettering your relationship with your phone.
Your kickstarter is now live for the Procrastination Paper Annual, what can people expect from the annual and how can they get involved?
The Annual is a 128-page hardback book filled with highlights from the first 22 issues of the Procrastination Paper! It was so difficult to pick just a few articles or features from each issue, but I’m so pleased with the final result. I think it’s the perfect Christmas gift and I truly believe there will be something in there to please everyone – even the most awkward people to buy for!
As well as over 40 articles, there are interviews, recipes, games, challenges, prompts, poetry, playlists, artwork, recommendations and reviews. There’s even a board game and colouring pages inside the cover and each Annual can be gift wrapped for free! You can support the Annual and pledge for your own copy on Kickstarter! I have been blown away by the support for it so far, I am incredibly grateful.
Do you struggle with procrastination? How do you work through it?
Read more interviews here.