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Here's why you procrastinate, and 10 tactics that will help you stop

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https://alifeofproductivity.com/why-you-procrastinate-10-tactics-to-help-you-stop/

alifeofproductivity.com

Here's why you procrastinate, and 10 tactics that will help you stop
Takeaway: The more boring, frustrating, difficult, meaningless, ambiguous, and unstructured a task is, the more likely you are to procrastinate with it.

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Why you procrastinate

Procrastination is fundamentally an emotional reaction to what you have to do. The more aversive a task is to you, the more you’ll resist it, and the more likely you are to procrastinate.

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Make a task less aversive

When you notice yourself procrastinating, use your procrastination as a trigger to examine a task’s characteristics and think about what you should change.

By breaking down exactly whi...

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Unproductive responses

... people have when they procrastinate:

  • Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  • Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively

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Limit your time

Limiting how much time you spend on a task makes the task more fun, more structured, and less frustrating and difficult because you’ll always be able to see an end in sight.

And instead of th...

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Be kind to yourself

Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself, and watch out for times when you try to deceive yourself. 

The reason you deceive yourself when you procrastinate: at the same time that you k...

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Just get started

You just need enough motivation to get started. Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think: your attributions of the task change, and what you think about yourself changes, t...

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The costs of procrastinating

Activating the rational part of your brain to identify the costs of procrastinating is a great strategy to get unstuck.

So make a list of the tasks you’re procrastinating on, and ...

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Think about your future-self

Research has shown that we have the tendency to treat our future-selves like complete strangers, and that’s why we give them the same kind of load that we’d give a stranger.

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"We’re not very good at predicting how we will feel in the future. We are overly optimistic, and our optimism comes crashing down when tomorrow comes. When our mood sours, we end up giving in to...

Tim Pychyl

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Disconnect from the Internet

47% of people’s time online is spent procrastinating, so our best tools for productivity (computers, smartphones) are potentially also one of our greatest time wasters.

To get somethin...

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Form “implementation intentions”

Especially for tasks that are not defined and poorly structured.

This means thinking about when, where, and how you’re going to do them. Move from broad goal intentions to sp...

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Seek out more meaningful work

You procrastinate a lot less with meaningful tasks that are intrinsically rewarding. 

In every job, there are going to be tasks you find aversive, but when you constantly find you...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Procrastination as a coping mechanism

People tend to procrastinate to avoid emotionally unpleasant tasks - so they choose to focus on something that provides a temporary mood boost.

This creates a vicious cycl...

The science behind getting started

Progress on our goals feeds our well-being. So the most important thing to do is bootstrap a little progress: get a little progress, and that’s going to fuel your well-being and your motivation.

Implementation intentions for better focus

This is a self-regulatory strategy in the form of an "if-then plan": "If the phone rings, then I’m not going to answer it." "If my friends call me to say we’re going out, I’m going to say no." So you’ve already made these pre-commitments.

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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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.

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