deepstash

Beta

Beyond Time Management: Why We Really Procrastinate and How to Finally Stop - Ambition & Balance

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.

1258 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Beyond Time Management: Why We Really Procrastinate and How to Finally Stop - Ambition & Balance

Beyond Time Management: Why We Really Procrastinate and How to Finally Stop - Ambition & Balance

https://doist.com/blog/strategies-for-overcoming-procrastination/

doist.com

10

Key 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.

We procrastinate because our brains are wired to care more about our present comfort than our future happiness.

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.

The right thing for the wrong reason

Since negative emotions are the cause of our procrastination, what if we could manage our negative emotions while working?

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely calls this method reward substitution. It is essentially getting yourself to do the right thing for the wrong reason. 

Ask for help

When my work directly affects others, I find it much harder to accept the consequences of procrastinating.

You could ask a friend or colleague to help you get started on something you’ve been putting off.

Imagine the future

Encouraging people to imagine the future can help them make better decisions now.

  • Looking at a digitally aged photograph can help us more effectively imagine ourselves in the future, thus helping us make better decisions.
  • Realistically imagine how you’ll feel tomorrow if you’re trying the old “I’ll feel like doing this tomorrow” excuse. 

Reframe your task and its deadline

  • Reframe your task into a challenge.  What if you got this work done before lunchtime? 
  • Challenge yourself to stay focused on a single task for as long as possible: … try a count-up timer. See how long you can remain on task. See if you can beat your last record…
  • Work away from your desk. " it’s a lot harder to believe I’m doing “real work”.
  • Changing your attitude toward the task. Think of your task as something you want to get done, to help adjust your motivation to be more internal.

Let yourself avoid uncomfortable tasks

“Structured procrastination” is a clever way to stay productive even while you procrastinate. Procrastinating doesn't mean you are doing absolutely nothing.

Next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, go for it. Avoid that Big Scary Task that makes you feel really uncomfortable. Instead, work on more important things than what you’re avoiding.

Use a timer

Set a timer for 30 minutes. During that time stay focused on your work. When the timer goes off, set it again for 10 minutes, and rewards yourself with a fun activity like YouTube videos, chatting with friends, or reading a book. After 10 minutes, reset the 30-minute timer and get back to work.

Forgive yourself

Forgiving yourself for procrastinating can help you overcome negative feelings about the work you’ve put off in the past, so you can more easily approach future tasks.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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 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.

Unproductive responses

... people have when they procrastinate:

  • Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  • Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively
  • Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  • Focusing on your other values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self
  • Denying responsibility to distance yourself from what you have to do
  • Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination.

9 more 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.

Procrastination is an emotion management problem
Happens when we feel uncomfortable (anxiety, overwhelm ) toward a task. We want to do it, but end up doing something else that feels better.  We run away from our negative thoughts and emoti...
The #1 skill to overcome procrastination

Facing a task, experiencing the uncomfortable emotions associated with it and doing the task despite those  emotions.

Our mind is a reason-giving machine

It rationalizes the shit out of anything that’s just a little bit uncomfortable and create excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something now. Those excuses are irrational, but sound superficially reasonable. 

2 more ideas