The Dark Playground

March 30, 2022

How often do you start a day with the intention to “get it all done” or “catch up on everything?

Some days, you get a lot done and it feels really good! Momentum!

Other days, you go down a viscous cycle of procrastination and guilt.

So how do we find a creative and productive flow that ping pongs back and forth between focused work and guilt-free play?

This episode was inspired by Tim Urban’s idea called, “The Dark Playground.”

If you’re a creator of any kind, you’ve played on the dark playground many times. But maybe you weren’t aware of it. It’s one of the worst places to be.

Enter Tim Urban (creator of waitbutwhy.com):

The Dark Playground is a place every procrastinator knows well. It’s a place where leisure activities happen at times when leisure activities are not supposed to be happening.

The fun you have in the Dark Playground isn’t actually fun because it’s completely unearned and the air is filled with guilt, anxiety, self-hatred, and dread.

Sometimes the Rational Decision-Maker puts his foot down and refuses to let you waste time doing normal leisure things, and since the Instant Gratification Monkey sure as hell isn’t gonna let you work, you find yourself in a bizarre purgatory of weird activities where everyone loses. – Tim Urban from this article.

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