Procrastination, where it comes from and how to fight it

I’m a procrastinator. Not chronic but serious enough when I get to it. My best procrastination trigger: writing or calling. For some reasons these 2 activities just burst the most rejection in me so I decided to do something about it. I studied the subject in order to master this bad habbit of mine. Here is what I learned:

If procratination is the result of a conflict between our urge to do some stuffs and an imposed to do list. Feed the urge, let the need have it’s way. Accept the consequences of doing so, work harder after the fun and procrastination can be beaten.
If procrastination is about avoiding the work for useless but rewarding activities then you need to work on forgiveness & emotions to overcome it.

Self awareness & emotions

The key is to be self aware about what type of proscratination we are talking about. I do proscratinate when I have to write but prioritize passion when I decide to fix my bike first and to work after-hours to keep up.

If you’re a real procrastinator, studies shows that it has to do with higher levels of stress and lower well-being. The inability to manage emotions seems to be at it’s very foundation. As the preparatory tasks becomes more difficult and stressful, we put them off for more pleasant rewarding activities. Facebook, news reading, cleaning or any other directly gratifying task. You probably recognize the temporal harm that your actions can cause but can’t overcome the emotional urge toward a diversion. In this case, here some solutions to work on.

Future self

When making long-term decisions, procrastinator tend to fundamentally feel a lack of emotional connection to their future selves. In other words it’s llack of empathy for the trouble our current actions are going to cause. It’s like telling yourself that a better you in the futur will overcome procrastination and actually do the work. Despite of course any good judgement on what it actually implies.

I remember in my childhood, when I had to do homework and waited for the last hour to actually start. I thought it would be fine but when I got there, I realize how much trouble I was in, I didn’t have enough time!

The most important question of all: What will it cost you NOT to do this?

Hereby lies the very core of the procrastination mechanism: ignoring the harm we are doing to our future self.

To fight this, the first step is forgiveness of your own actions.

Forgiveness

Forgiving yourself about the last procrastination session is the foundation of the process. Procrastination starts with a bad feeling of yourself & the job that has to be done. Starting with a tormented mind about past failure gives even more power to the urge of the brain to find quick and easy dopamine releve You can’t move forward if you carry with you the burden of the past failure. This is also a fundamental to break the loop between the reality of the moment that is deceptive and the project of a better future.

Less feeling

Procrastinator like myself have the tendency to let feelings predominate the importance of the task. It is crucial to recognize that being in a good mood is not a necessity to accomplish a tasks.

Instead of trying to overcome procrastination, I try to rewrite the prioritization of my mood over the task to be done. My mood has no effect on what has to be done and should not enter into consideration. And chances are you will never be in the right mood to get the task done, might just do it anyway.

Think less about feeling, more about actions.

Moving forward

The last step of the process is to value action more than anything else. Because each task completed will trigger the well being sensation, it’s crucial to get the ball rowling. The completion of small tasks will trigger a well being sensation that should fill the need to procrastinate to feel better. Remember, nobody builds a house, they put one brick after the other.

Bonus trick, don’t be afraid to start by the end if necessary, it’s important to own the process.

Small advancement is better than none.

Contact me if you’re interested by more.

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