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The four keys that could unlock procrastination

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201222-the-four-keys-that-could-unlock-procrastination

bbc.com

The four keys that could unlock procrastination
Procrastination gets the best of all of us, to the detriment of our work, happiness and health. But a new theory could provide us with the easiest way to kick the habit.

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Kick The Habit Of Procrastination

Kick The Habit Of Procrastination

Procrastination in its chronic form is a barrier that prevents us from achieving happiness, health and success. Regular procrastinators skip their exercise routines, and also have high levels of anxiety, leading to various mental and physical ailments.

New research tries to target the root cause of procrastination, looking at it from a psychological angle.

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The Four Causes Of Procrastination

Using a variation of the Temporal Motivation Theory, procrastination is divided into four causes, which are interlinked:

  1. Expectancy: Our underestimation of our chances of succeeding, reducing our overall motivation.
  2. Sensitivity to Delay: Lack of recognition that our delaying will affect our chances of completion of the task on time.
  3. Value: We do not appreciate the value of the task being done on time.
  4. Metacognition: We lack the self-awareness about our own thinking patterns and behaviours.

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Procrastination: The Four Reflection Points

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a proven tool to resolve the psychological problem of procrastination, but it is time-consuming and not very scalable.

A quicker way is to ask these four questions to oneself:

  1. How would a highly successful person complete this task?
  2. How would you feel if the task is not completed?
  3. What is the next small and immediate step that needs to be done?
  4. If there was one thing that could be done to achieve the goal on time, what would it be?

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Why we procrastinate

Procrastination is more about our emotions than our tendencies for laziness or just being “bad at deadlines”. At its core, we procrastinate to keep ourselves happy in the moment.

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How to overcome your procrastination habit

We have two ways of dealing with our procrastination:

  1. Make whatever we’re procrastinating on feel less uncomfortable, and
  2. Convince our present selves into caring about our future selves.

Make getting started ridiculously easy

Often starting a task is the biggest hurdle. Research shows that progress—no matter how small—can be a huge motivator to help us keep going.

Set the timer for just 5 or 10 minutes. While the timer’s running, you don’t have to work, but you can’t do anything else. You have to sit with your work, even if you don’t get started.

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Procrastinating and emotions

According to traditional thinking, procrastinators have a time-management problem. They are unable to understand how long a task will take and need to learn how to schedule their time better.

Short-term mood lifters

Studies show low mood only increases procrastination if enjoyable activities are available as a distraction. In other words, we're drawn to other activities to avoid the discomfort of applying ourselves.

Adverse consequences

Procrastination leads to two primary consequences.

  1. It's stressful to keep putting off important tasks and failing to meet your goals.
  2. Procrastination often involves delaying important health behaviors, such as taking up exercise or visiting a doctor.

Self-Efficacy

A person’s belief and expectation that they are capable of completing a task. 

When we don't trust the fact that we'll be able to complete a task (with good results), we're mor...

Value

The more enjoyable a task, the less we procrastinate on it. 

Boring tasks are more likely to lead to procrastination than difficult ones, that's why we keep postponing all the busywork (work that keeps us busy but has little value in itself.)

Impulsiveness

Difficulty maintaining focus in the face of immediate and more appealing distractions.

If we work in an environment where we're bombarded with distractions and we are not capable of resisting them, we're more likely to procrastinate.