I hereby declare that I have fallen victim to akrasia. I was supposed to be reading like a maniac for the 130 Challenge (which has gone from being difficult to insanely impossible). For the past 15 days, I’ve been doing anything but that. I have instead started tweeting and reading other people’s tweets (which is quite time consuming considering that there’s just 140 characters to read per tweet). I have also suddenly discovered a couple of bands and artists whose songs I am constantly discovering (which has led me to many other bands and artists.. ad nauseum). Sometimes I’m so pathetic that I spend hours just reading lyrics to songs!

Socrates - An early investigator of Akrasia.

Socrates. (akrasia is preventing me from thinking of a witty caption)

I didn’t believe that akrasia could be such a pain in the arse. Notwithstanding the fact that the Greek philosophers actually cared enough to have a word for this damned state of mind! But all that changed one fine afternoon as I decided to take a little break from reading and have lunch. I thought to myself that I shouldn’t waste my time while eating, no sir. So, I decided to watch a movie. I promised myself that I will only watch as long as I eat and then go back to reading. But, this being a movie from my ‘to watch’ list, it was incredibly riveting and I spent 2 hours watching the movie, all the while cursing myself for having such a feeble power of will.

By the time the movie was over, it was late afternoon and my roommate asked to come play badminton. Now, I am not the athletic type and while I do like badminton, I usually don’t play if I am not in that I-must-get-fit-or-I-will-die-a-pathetic-wretch mood. But not that day. I had walked all the way to office and back and I hadn’t even had a full lunch, so there was no guilt to be had. But I decided to play anyway. What harm could a little exercise do?

Lots. We played till it became dark and by the time I came back, it was time to prepare dinner. And what’s the point of living if you can’t fine dine? On that whim, I decided to prepare a most delectable fish curry (or so I think) that took close to an hour to cook and before that, while my roommate was out buying fish, I spent the half hour on Facebook, because everybody deserves a little break every now and then, right?

So, the first break I took from reading (aftera a full 15 minutes of reading BTW) was at 12pm and by the time I had finished dinner, it was 10pm. Yet, all was not lost. I figured that if I could read with absolute focus for 2 hours before sleeping (I usually sleep by midnight), I might get some reading done, after all… zzzz

I was out cold by 10.15.

That’s how akrasia gets you, ladies and gentlemen. You know there’s something that absolutely needs to be done, yet, you go against your better judgement and do something that is totally not urgent and sometimes, even frivolous!

That day, I read a total of 10 pages. Even as I write this article, there’s a lot of work that I have to get done. But guess what I’m doing instead (no, that was a rhetorical question).

I’m affected by akrasia and I don’t know how to get out of this. Help!

One comment

  1. You know I suffer this condition too. I just can’t do what I am supposed to do.
    So, there’s no solution I have figured out for that.. but I manage to trick myself into doing things by letting supposed-to-do tasks compete with each other. It’s got a fancy name: Positive Procrastination.

    Not the best solution, but then one can make do and get something done at least..


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