Overcoming procrastination comes down to making the task at hand more pleasurable.
You know how it is right? You have this thing planned that you want or need or should do..
But when it comes close to actually stepping up and doing the task at hand you feel tired. Or anxious. Or you can think of a million ‘important’ things to do except for the real task…
When you procrastinate, it is because you are thinking it will be more painful to take action than to not take action.
Your brain always goes away from pain and towards pleasure. I have struggled with this a lot and found several ways of overcoming procrastination.
With the below advice you can gear your brain more towards associating pleasure with the task you procrastinate on. And take action!
Have You Ever Said…
- Yeah, I’ll do it later
- I haven’t planned well enough yet!
- I’ll do it after I’ve completed X
- I don’t feel like it right now, I’ll wait until I feel like doing it
- It’s too scary/challenging for me
- I have to work more on my psychology
Procrastination is constantly postponing the thing you have to do until the last moment. Or, even worse, not at all!
You should go apply for that job. You should go to that meeting and you should go out and socialize.
But you just can’t or won’t do it…
You are playing this little game in your head where you constantly reassure yourself that you will do it. Eventually…
Just not now! Because you lie to yourself that you will do it, you are OK with procrastination. After all, you really want, or sometimes have to do it.
“Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will–tomorrow!”
Here Are Solutions To Help You In Overcoming Procrastination:
Many times I have made goals to get out of my comfort zone. And most of the times I postponed them for as long as possible. Until I couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and I had to do it. I was sick of it and searched for better ways.
Better ways as in more comfortable, more enjoyable and easy ways for overcoming procrastination. Here’s my best advice:
- Where and when If you exactly know where and when you are going to “do your thing” you can mentally prepare. You know the place and you know when. This reduces some of the pain associated to the task because you feel a sense of familiarity.
- Beginning and ending Have a specific time to begin and a specific time to end. Make it 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Or whatever seems reasonable to you. If you know that what you are going to do is going to end in 15 minutes, you feel more confident starting it. It won’t be forever!
- Energize Speaking of seizing the day… Before you are about to do the thing you have planned to do, eat a very healthy meal.
Food really has a major impact on your energy level. And your energy level has a major impact on your motivation. And you need motivation a lot in overcoming procrastination.
- Toughest thing first In the morning you have the most energy and your attempt in overcoming procrastination should be executed at this very moment!
It saves you worrying over the task if you have planned it later in the day and it gives you confidence and pride for the rest of the day. Seize the day!
Make it less!
Make 5 or 10 mini goals out of your one big goal. And put all your energy in just accomplishing that tiny goal.
Progress instead of completion Focus on just starting and making some progress. Even though it’s just a little.
After all, a lot of a little is a lot!
If you start enough times, the job will get done eventually..
- Make mistakes If you go into it expecting yourself to perform flawlessly you will probably feel anxious. There’s pressure. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
Or, better yet, expect to make mistakes. Mistakes give you feedback on how not to do it. With this feedback in the pocket, you will perform better the next time! It is a well know fact that the people that are the most successful in life also made the most mistakes in life. So make mistakes!
- Reward You have to train your brain to obey to your wishes. Just like a dog. If a dog does something good, you reward him with a cookie. If your brain does something good, like pushing through in overcoming procrastination on some task, reward it! Give yourself a nice meal, buy yourself something or go to the cinema.Whatever it is, reward yourself.
- Accountability partner and leverage This one works for me like butter on bread. I gave someone I trust a large amount of money and I signed a contract. In the contract it states that if I, by a specific date have not accomplished my goals…
The person can keep the money and I have to do something really embarrassing. In my case, running naked for 100m in a mall. I’ve never had to run naked in a mall yet… Make use of this one, it’s powerful.
And as a last bit of advice…
Just Start. I know, you want help in overcoming procrastination, and this is the best advice I can give you!
Just making a start will give you a feeling of pride, accomplishment and most of all momentum. You feel you’re on the right track and you’re motivated to keep going.
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