Why we procrastinate on the tiniest of tasks - Deepstash

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When tiny tasks become major irritants

When tiny tasks become major irritants

We put off small jobs, like a quick email to a colleague or menial paperwork. We keep putting it off. We waste time thinking about how annoying the task is, but it does not go away.

These small tasks take up a considerable amount of space in our minds. But there are simple ways to bring them back to size.

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Why small tasks become monsters

Procrastination involves the voluntary putting off a simple task, even though you will be worse off for doing so.

Procrastinating has little to do with poor time management. It's really about mood management.

  • Procrastinators are self-critical. The worry drains their cognitive resources, reducing their ability to problem solve.
  • Small tasks also lack hard deadlines. We think we can just slip them in during the day.

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How to motivate ourselves to do tiny tasks

Motivation often follows action. If you just do something immediately without stopping to think about why you don't want to do it, you will succeed better.

  • Next time you don't like doing a minor task, ask yourself: what is the next step I need to take on this little task? It will move your attention off your feelings and onto your action.
  • Another trick is to pair the smaller tasks with larger ones.

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Practice self-compassion

If you remember a negative emotional response that triggered past procrastination, start thinking about how you can reframe the task. You can look at the task as an opportunity to learn a new skill, or frame it as a fun and enjoyable task.

Don't beat yourself up too much if you've procrastinated. It's not some sort of moral failure. A little bit of self-compassion might be all you ned to get back on track.

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"Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

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