Here's why you procrastinate, and 10 tactics that will help you stop
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 something done, we need to disconnect from potential distractions like social-networking tools.
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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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.
Aversive tasks tend to: be boring, frustrating, difficult, lack intrinsic rewards, be ambiguous and unstructured.
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 which attributes an aversive task has (boring, frustrating, difficult, meaningless, ambiguous, unstructured), you can take those qualities and turn them around to make the task more appealing to you.
... people have when they procrastinate:
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 throwing more time at the problem, you force yourself to exert more energy over less time to get it done, which will make you a lot more productive.
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 know you should be doing something, a different part of you is very much aware that you’re not actually doing it, so you make up a story about why you’re not getting that thing done.
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, too.
For example, to go for a swim in a cold pool, you just need to be motivated for the 30 seconds it takes you to jump in and start swimming.
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 then note how your procrastination has affected you in terms of things such as your happiness, stress, health, finances, relationships, and so on.
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.
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 specific implementation intentions.
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 yourself procrastinating because your work is aversive, there may be other jobs that are more aligned to your passions, that you will be much more motivated and productive in.
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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.
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....
We have two ways of dealing with our procrastination:
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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Procrastination is not just avoiding or delaying a task.
It also has to include an aspect that’s counterproductive, irrational or unnecessary.
Many people are inherently more productive at certain times of the day.
Work around these natural productivity ebbs and flows when you schedule your days.
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