How to Shift Your Procrastination Habit Into Working FOR You
Ah, procrastination. The invisible gap between thinkers and doers.
My take on it is that people procrastinate because of different reasons. I am not “all people” to list all of them, nor am I a psychologist, so this article will not present you with definitions on procrastination or psychologically proven ways to deal with it.
It is, however, going to share one way, which might work for you. I have come up with something on my own and cannot explain the science behind it. Neither can I promise its effect on you. But it is undeniable that it works for me and has helped me so much for the past few years. This is the main reason I found the courage to share it with the world and see if I am the odd one out or if it actually works. So in this regard, feel free to let me know if it has helped you, too!
Best for last
First, let me say that I often procrastinate because I build such high expectations in my mind about the way I should be doing things that they stop me from doing anything even close to what I should be doing.
In fact, the most peculiar thing is that I procrastinate with the things I really want to do and LOVE doing! Unbelievable. From my life experience, I have noticed that some people tend to do the things they like doing, leaving the things they don’t.
I operate in the exact opposite way!
A silly example from my childhood is that whenever I had a meal served in front of me, I would always eat everything else but my favourite thing, which I would leave for last — sort of like a reward for the job well done. Even though I do not do that with food anymore, I find that I do it with other things. For example, I signed up for the Masterclass Classes and wow — do they look amazing! I am getting overexcited just thinking about them now, but the truth is that for a whole year, I only watched three (!), and they weren’t even the ones I really wanted to! The reason for that was that in my mind, there had to be a special time in which I would watch them — I would take a full day, would listen carefully and intensely to every word, would take in all the information, writing down notes on everything important (which probably would be everything!), would colour the notes in the appropriate colours… You get the gist!
Of course, this “full-day” never happened. So instead of taking at least some of the information in, I missed all of it, because as you might suspect, my subscription expired. My desire to sign up again had completely deserted me because I realised I was in a pattern, and getting another subscription would be money wasted down the drain. As for the masterclasses I watched, I did it “casually”, but that was okay at the time because they weren’t my “chosen” ones, and they didn’t need my “undivided attention”.
As you can clearly see, my “best for last” attitude was not working at all, so I had to find a way to leave it in the past, which I did by…
Cheating my mind
“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment” — Robert Benchley
Now… You may think that sounds cheeky, but it works! I even did it with this article. Let me start by telling you where the idea came from.
When trying to fall asleep one night, I wondered why life is so unfair — when I want to fall asleep, I am more awake than ever but when morning time comes, getting out of bed seems like the most difficult thing to do. And then it dawned on me. I was going to force myself to get out of bed instead of falling asleep…
I was lying in bed thinking: “I am going to get up and get dressed now. Okay, NOW! This time I really am going to get out of bed and start writing. I should be writing right now…” And in my attempt to get out of bed, I ended up dozing off! I couldn’t believe it!
First, I only did it with sleep, but then I realised it could be applied to most things — procrastination included.
So if I had a few tasks for the day, I would make myself do something else instead, and I would end up doing what needs to be done. This may sound confusing, but this is what it looks like.
Today one of the tasks on my list was to start writing this very article. I spent a whole morning thinking that I have plenty of time to do it and I started cleaning (which is something I wanted to do yesterday but didn’t have enough time to do) when my mother called and asked me to buy food for the cat and bring it over because she is currently under quarantine. Now, I know that the pet store works until 2 pm, so I have to get there before that, and I still have plenty of time to do that. But I began thinking I should get dressed and do it now when my mind shifted and decided to write this article first. So essentially, I started the article now and not later because another task came up, and I chose to procrastinate with this other task.
Therefore in my mind, the trick to ending procrastination is to find more tasks to procrastinate with and trick your mind into doing the most important or urgent ones first by instructing it to do the less important ones first. This way, your rebellious mind may go exactly where you need it to!
I realise this may be something that only works for me, and the truth is I had never shared it with anyone before, not even my friends because I thought it sounds silly. But if it can help at least one more person stop procrastinating and start moving towards their goals, it is worth sharing and risking the embarrassment. So, let me know if you have ever tried it or might want to have a go! I will really love to know if it works for you!
Good luck, and keep on “procrastinating” towards your dreams!