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7 ways to use emotional intelligence to beat procrastination

Set up rewards

Before you start on your to-do list, set yourself up with a system of rewards along the way. 

Make the reward something you wouldn’t normally give yourself or do something for yourself to feel special.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

7 ways to use emotional intelligence to beat procrastination

7 ways to use emotional intelligence to beat procrastination

https://www.fastcompany.com/90292753/7-ways-to-use-emotional-intelligence-to-beat-procrastination

fastcompany.com

7

Key Ideas

Tie the task to a larger goal

... you are passionate about.

Thinking about how wonderful it will feel to get that promotion we crave will help motivate us if we can see doing a great job on the report as a stepping-stone to advancement.

Start with the easiest part

The most difficult step in completing a task is getting started. 

Starting at the easiest part takes less emotional resistance, and once we get started, we tend to get on a roll, which gives us the momentum to keep going.

Break it down

The task will seem less daunting if we tell ourselves that we are going to only spend five minutes working on it. 

We’ll find ourselves continuing to work past the committed time that we told ourselves.

Manage your distractions

Think about what may throw you off track from your work before you start.

This allows you to unplug, disconnect, and put a hold on everything and everyone that could potentially disrupt your focus and throw you off.

Self-awareness

One size does not fit all when it comes to the best environment for you. 

If you don’t know what your best environment is, practice in different ones until you find the one that stimulates you the most.

Set up rewards

Before you start on your to-do list, set yourself up with a system of rewards along the way. 

Make the reward something you wouldn’t normally give yourself or do something for yourself to feel special.

Overcome perfectionism

Winston Churchill summed it up well, “Perfection(ism) is the enemy of progress.

The fear of making mistakes keeps many of us paralyzed and unable to begin. We learn by doing and making mistakes. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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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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. 

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Our brains are programmed to procrastinate
It’s easier for our brains to process concrete and immediate outcomes rather than abstract and future things. So the short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds— b...
To make the benefits of action feel bigger and more real:
  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.
  • Pre-commit, publicly.
  • Confront the downside of inaction.
Considering the downside of putting a task off will help move forward with it
While we might weigh the pros and cons of doing something new, we far less often consider the pros and cons of not doing that thing. This often leads us to ignore some obvious benefits of getting stuff done.
Procrastination has a price. It's related to:
  • Depression
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
Willpower Doesn’t Work. Systems Do.

People shy away from routines, systems and frameworks because they want to have “freedom.” But in order to get things done, you need rules.

To get things done, research found effective:
  • Self-imposed deadlines.
  • Accountability systems (commitment with friends, or a coach).
  • Working/studying in intervals.
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day.
  • A healthy diet.
  • Eliminating distractions.
  • And most importantly: Internal motivation.
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.

one more idea

Time boxing

It is one of the most effective time management tools.

Time boxing is about fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. Instead of working on a task until it’s don...

Dealing with small tasks

Time boxes are a great way to tackle those small but annoying tasks. 

A good strategy for dealing with them is to fix a time period and tackle all of them at one sitting.

Overcome procrastination

If you're procrastinating on a task, don't force yourself to finish it. Just put it in a time box.

Setting a time for it will help you overcome your resistance towards the task and chances are that when the time is up you’ll have built enough momentum to continue working on it much longer.

7 more ideas

Procrastination
Perseverance means you never quit. Procrastination usually means you never get started, although the inability to finish something is also a form of procrastination.
Break it down

The key to achievement is your ability to break down the task into manageable pieces and knock them off one at one time. 

Discipline yourself to look neither forward nor backward and you can accomplish things you never thought you could possibly do. 

Write it down

Instead of describing the things you want to do or the places you want to go, you’re going to describe what you actually do with your time.

Keep a diary of your activities. Make an entry in your time diary at least once every 30 minutes, and keep this up for at least a week. It forces you to see what you're actually doing and what you're not doing.

Addiction to information
Addiction to information, to the infinite and immediately available mental stimulation the internet offers in the form of information is real and is a perfect outlet for procrastination...
Neuroplasticity

... is how the brain changes (for better or worse) in response to repeated experience: the things we do often we become stronger at, and what we don't use fades away.

Learn yourself out of procrastination
  • Accept that you are going to procrastinate sometimes
  • Disconnect from your smartphone. Otherwise, it will demand your attention subconsciously 
  • Be mindful with your emotions when you catch yourself procrastinating
  • Focus on one thing at a time, to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Take breaks
  • Celebrate your accomplishments.

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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.

...
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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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.