There are three kinds of tasks. Those you should be doing. Those you should never be doing, and then there are transition tasks as I like to call them. These are the tasks you do when you’re supposed to be working or procrastinating on the tasks you should be doing. If the tasks you are supposed to be doing and the tasks you shouldn’t be doing are in the white and black zones respectively, then the transition tasks fall into the grey zone.
Let me explain.
White zone: This is the zone you are in while you work on tasks to reach your important life goals. The most important things you need to be doing and focus on to get done to achieve your primary life goals.
Black Zone: This is the zone you are in when you do tasks that in no way benefit you or your future goals.Things that you definitely must not do not only for the sake of reaching your goals but in general for the purpose of general well being like drugs and excessive partying.
Grey Zone: This is the zone you are in when you do tasks which you have convinced yourself that they will eventually lead you to work on crucial white zone tasks. This is most the most dangerous zone to be in.
There are few things more harmful in life than self delusion.
Grey zone is tricky to handle, but most of us fall prey to it. It’s a procrastinators playground. Its filled with self-loathing and hatred. It gives you the illusion of being busy, yet nothing substantial ever gets done. In this zone, you may seem like you’re working but in reality, you’re working on trivial and unimportant work. Given enough time you will habituate yourself into fooling yourself that these tasks are somehow essential, but they aren’t. It can be tasks that are unimportant like spending excessive time worrying about a part-time job and letting it take over your life or just good old time wasting. You’re almost ready to go into the white zone and complete that paper you’re supposed to hand in and you will, just as soon as finish watching watch the next YouTube video.Example of tasks done in the Grey Zone:
- Half read emails.
- Unanswered emails. You’ll reply later ….right?
- Bookmarking articles to read instead of just reading them immediately.
- Saving Job postings instead of applying immediately.
- One more Vlog episode before starting work syndrome.
- Checking E-commerce sites for deals on that pair of shoes you don’t need.
- Reading unlimited amount of blog posts.
- Reading fiction.
- Spending excessive time on part time job cause it gives you the illusion of being busy and the commfort of having pocket change.
- Letting part time jobs take over your life and side track your main goals.
- Stalking your ex’s friends boyfriends sisters page on Insta only to find out its private and you have wasted 45 mins which you could have used to finish your presentation or replying to the DAMN EMail!
- Cleaning your room before you start your work cause somehow you believe that’s suddenly important.
- Mid work break which somehow ends in a session of masturbation followed by a 2 hour nap.
- Lets have lunch even though im not hungry before i start work syndrome.
- Sudden urge to go to the gym instead of working. Or sudden urge to read or work instead of going to the gym. Which ever is your vice.
- Calls to your loser friend to make sure they are in the same boat as you.
- Pretty much all the procrastinating tasks.
Recognition is step one to hopping over the grey zone. Step two is actually jumping over to the white zone.
The most successful people are the ones who spend the least amount of time in the grey zone.
The reason we spend so much time in the grey zone is because it’s comforting. There’s no failure in the grey zone. You are accepted. When you actually work on tasks in the white zone you may fail. People may not like what you did. You may not achieve your goal and that’s scary. So the grey zone seems so much more comforting. The problem is that we can’t live in the comfort of the grey zone putting off important tasks forever. The longer you spend in the grey zone, the more miserable you’ll be.
The question is though, are you willing to hop over?