1-Break down a task then try to do it all at once because it might give you more time to work:
Many people make the mistake of trying to begin a huge task all at once. While this is achievable but its disadvantages outweigh its benefits. Firstly, going all-in for a task can wear you down because you have started at a very high intensity, and sustaining might not be easy.
Secondly, there is a risk of failing because you have programmed your mind to finish the task at a particular task no matter what it takes, putting unnecessary pressure on you, and any mistake can be disastrous. But, when you break down your tasks, you will be afforded the space to time yourself effectively. Dividing your work into smaller components also helps you see mistakes easily.
Although procrastination takes advantage of our idleness, doing too many things can also lead to it. When we have to choose between too many tasks, We’ll most likely choose the less important ones first. This is because we have wasted too much time deciding which task will make us feel relaxed.
This tidbit discusses some techniques needed to overcome the problem of procrastination, as well as its causes, problems, and effects.
2- To beat procrastination, we need to see our thought processes:
The word “procrastination” was derived from the combination of “PRO” and “CRASTINUS”. Both are Latin language words. “PRO” means “forward, forth, or in favor of” while “CRASTINUS” means “of tomorrow.” When we put these meanings together, we can see that procrastination means pushing something forward.
Generally, this word is used when we put off something unpleasant and pursue something more enjoyable. In other words, we don’t stop doing everything at once. Rather, we substitute tasks we must do with the ones we could easily postpone.
Inertia sets in when we allow our thoughts to overpower our actions and leads us to believe that we still have enough time to do a task.
The brain fights a constant battle; its impulsive and subconscious part wants immediate pleasure, while the prefrontal cortex is more concerned about making rational decisions. In many cases, the subconscious wins because the prefrontal cortex is slower and makes unpopular decisions that don’t sit well with procrastination.
There are nine traits associated with overcoming inertia:
Inhibition: It is the ability to be in control of ourselves and stop our behavior when it’s appropriate to do so.
Self-monitoring: refers to how we monitor our behavior and its effects on us and others.
Planning and organization: compromise the desire to manage present and future tasks.
Activity shifting: reflects the ability to easily shuffle between one activity to another, depending on the demands of the situation.
Task monitoring: describes the ability to evaluate and monitor projects and identify and correct mistakes in our work.
Task initiation: shows our ability to start tasks.
Emotional control: revolves around our ability to regulate our emotional responses.
Working memory: involves the capacity to hold information in mind to be able to complete a task.
General orderliness: explains our ability to organize the tools we need to start and complete a task.
If a person happens to have deficiencies in any of the traits mentioned above, they’ll be more susceptible to procrastination.
“According to Edutopia, 80-95% of college students procrastinate.
3- One can identify procrastination by paying attention to our behavior in different scenarios:
Many signs indicate whether or not a person is a procrastinator. Generally, there are five common types of procrastinators, and they demonstrate different warning signs, as shown below:
Thrill-seekers forgo important tasks and go for something that will give them a thrill instead. This usually happens when they take a short break from a task to play or visit social media.
Avoiders avoid tasks that are probably time-consuming. They believe doing the smaller tasks first is better than focusing on the big task.
Whenindecisive, they waste a lot of time thinking about what to do instead of doing it.
Perfectionists find it difficult to get much done because they waste time trying to get one thing right.
Busy procrastinators overlook their tasks because their brains have already programmed them to be busy as an excuse.
“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well”Mark Twain
Four traits make up our impulses:
Urgency: We feel that we need to be in a rush to do something right away.
Lack of premeditation: we plan without thinking about our actions and consequences.
Lack of perseverance: We easily lose interest in prolonged tasks that take time.
Sensation-seeking: we are easily distracted by fun activities.
The more elevated our levels, the more impulsive we will be.
“If we fail to begin an important task at the right time, we’ll get preoccupied with other things that don’t add value to our lives.”
A helpful technique for overcoming procrastination is HALT (Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness). When you discover any of these warning signs, you need to ask yourself if the HALT factors are present. If they are, you must understand that you are already predisposed to making poor decisions, and you need to make better choices to achieve your goals and change your life for the better.
4-Procrastination is caused by conflicting decisions that can be overcome through mindset tactics.
One of the most underrated causes of procrastination is fear. Fear limits productivity or kills it. We can use Newton’s Laws to swing the pendulum in our favor against procrastination. This is possible with an understanding
of how the three laws can apply to procrastination. We can view our productivity as an equation. This helps us think through the variables in our lives and learn how to manipulate them.
The first law explains that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, while an object in motion will most likely stay in motion. What we leave undone remains undone in simpler terms, and we can only finish a task if we set it in motion.
The second law explains that the amount of work produced results from the focus and the force applied toward it. This simply means we should focus our efforts intentionally.
The third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This mean that we must take note of the productive and unproductive forces present in our lives.
Another underrated factor in procrastination is the paradox of choice. This is where our choices and options are detrimental to us because they cause indecision and fill us with doubt. To eliminate the paradox of choice, we must cultivate the habit of setting a time limit on our decisions.
“When we are left with too many choices, we tend to waste too much time trying to choose.”
Finding the right motivation is essential to growth. You shouldn’t focus solely on what you feel motivated to do; rather, you can discover more about what motivates you and what value you.
Sometimes you must accept that you need to trick yourself into doing what you don’t feel like doing. This is an important aspect of improving and practicing anything. To do this, you can look forward to the benefit or result of the task so you can bear the present pain.
5- Once you begin a task, your mood will adjust:
Most of us believe that we can only work when we are in the mood or inspired. Having this mindset is limiting. A person shouldn’t rely on their mood to do their most important tasks. Instead, it is important to find a way to do things even if they are not interesting at the moment.
“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.” Susan Del Gatto
We must also forgive ourselves for procrastinating by not being too hard on ourselves. Failure to do this will only cause us to give in to a negative spiral that will lead us to give up altogether.
Forgiving ourselves helps us understand why it’s easy to feel the impact of doing something but not the impact of skipping it.
Before giving in to procrastination, think about the negative ripple effects it will cause. That will kick you into gear.
Most of us suffer from temporal short-sightedness, which happens when we don’t care about the consequences of procrastination. When we can effectively visualize our future self in a well-detailed manner, we are more aware of what we need to do and more impacted by it because we then recognize that we influence our own future.
We can use the STING method:
- Select one task
- Time yourself
- Ignore everything else
- No breaks
- Give yourself a Reward
STING is complicated because it requires us to overlook other tasks and focus on the one at hand. However, once we accept only to do one thing at a time, we will discover that we’ll have enough time for other things. Also, rather than pressure ourselves to achieve something as a whole, we can focus on breaking a task down into bits so that we can manage smaller chunks of work at a time. An effective hack in eliminating procrastination is making the tasks we hate to compete against each other. When doing this, we tend to procrastinate on our most hated tasks and still be productive while working on our less pleasant activities.
6- PROCRASTINATION ENGAGES YOU WHEN THERE’S NOTHING ON YOUR PLATE:
The first step in scheduling is knowing how to create our schedule and day structure, which can be done by pledging to have no more “zero days.” A zero day is a day in which we’ve done nothing to achieve our goals. If we find it difficult to dedicate a whole day to be productive, we can substitute a day with an hour, week, or minute.
Whatever the situation, having the intention not to remain idle all the time will help prevent procrastination. Scheduling tasks for ourselves and structuring them in an orderly manner prevents inertia and takes the decision to be idle out of our hands.
If we ask ourselves specific questions, we’ll be able to immediately take a step and break through the tendency to remain unchanged. The questions are
- What is one thing I can do right now?
- What are my top three priorities today?
- How can I make this easier for me to follow through?
- What will go wrong if I don’t try to persist or continue?
Nailing down our priorities each day and starting only from the top of the list works well against procrastination.
Scheduling everything into our daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly agendas is effective because it lets us picture what needs to be done. The more detailed and specific our tasks are, the better.
When we break each task into small bits, we have a chance to build momentum and take care of what we need to do in short order.
The 40-70 rule popularized by American politician and diplomat Colin Powell states that we only needwaiting longer. Tiny steps lead to big ones because they allow us to examine and reexamine our situations. Large tasks tend to be intimidating and impossible, especially when we start at a fast pace.