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Procrastination Is Not the Enemy - It's Necessary to Do Great Work

Being human

Days cannot be flawless and perfectly productive. Life gets in the way: we waste time; we battle with the human experience.

We will struggle because we are human. Keep that in mind.

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Procrastination Is Not the Enemy - It's Necessary to Do Great Work

Procrastination Is Not the Enemy - It's Necessary to Do Great Work

https://medium.com/swlh/procrastination-is-not-the-enemy-its-necessary-to-do-great-work-5a16489c5961

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Helpful procrastination

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.

From the outside, postponing your work can seem like a big waste of time. However, procrastination can help you do your work.

Meaningful work

Doing creative and deep work requires you to let go. Procrastination allows one to get rid of the thoughts that are still occupying your mind. It helps you to loosen up.

Letting go

When you have been able to delay your work, your thoughts are empty and you are better able to work with challenging ideas. The work that follows is highly productive.

Delaying and postponing

When you delay your work, you build up frustration as well as a craving for the task. The work that follows then comes easier to you.

Not a big danger

Procrastination is a distraction and could be just what you need. 

Your life is not over if you procrastinate. Know why you procrastinate so that you may benefit from it.

New ideas

Ideas are all around us if we will take the time to look for them. When you delay doing the important work by doing other random things, you will get different ideas from normal conversations or videos. Procrastination will allow you to further explore ideas.

Being human

Days cannot be flawless and perfectly productive. Life gets in the way: we waste time; we battle with the human experience.

We will struggle because we are human. Keep that in mind.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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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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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 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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Plan the Rest of Your Day

When you don't feel like working on your tasks, take a few moments to plan your day.

Even if you do it as a form of procrastination, to postpone doing the actual work, it will help you...

Smaller Manageable Parts

Break the project you don't want to start into smaller pieces.

Breaking it down into small tasks and adding those to your to-do list isn't exactly fun, but it is less overwhelming than working. And it's also useful: When you finally do get around to starting, you've got a strategy.

Clean Something

Clean something every time you don't want to get started on a work project. Don't listen to a podcast or turn on the radio. Just clean. Make it as boring as possible, so that your mind wanders.

This does two things: it delays actually working on your project and it gives you time to think, possibly generating ideas that will come in handy whenever you get back to the project you're trying to put off. 

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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.

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.
You can generate Motivation

You can produce motivation at your own command if you understand how it works.

Motivation is not random. Like every other effect, it's caused by something. When you grasp this, y...

Power versus Force

Forcing yourself to work is like swimming against the current. You'll need a lot of force to get to your destination.

Getting yourself motivated to do the work is like swimming with the current. You'll make use of power that will energize and support you. You'll get to your destination in a completely different mood and perspective.

Generate the power of Motivation

The most likely reason you feel unmotivated is that you are in a lousy state of mind. It can be caused by various things, like:

  • Feeling stressed
  • Sleeping in
  • Excessive drinking
  • Hanging out with unmotivated and unambitious people
  • The lack of clear goals & priorities
  • Watching a lot of TV or Netflix or scrolling through social media
  • Eating bad foods that create energy crashes or a heavy feeling
  • Procrastinating

As an antidote, apply a few state change 'hacks' to turn your state of mind.

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About Procrastination

Everybody procrastinates, but it depends on the type of procrastination: harmless or harmful.

If we procrastinate doing a useful or informative activity that we find refreshing, or if we take...

Making Decisions

People take a break or procrastinate because they don't want to decide anything and let their brains drift away wherever it is comfortable, enjoyable and easy.

If someone is tired, the mind naturally moves away from what we perceive as work.

Simplified Habit Reversal Therapy

It is a way to be aware of what is sucking you into habits that are not rewarding to you.

Example: Facebook is designed to be easy to check, and one can find interesting things in it quickly, leading to procrastination and time-wasting to someone who is not aware.

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Money Doesn’t Motivate

Many people think money alone will be enough to motivate them, and whilst that may do so initially, it’s very hard to sustain financial motivation if the work you are doing actually drags.

Procrastinate Wisely

Procrastination gives you a break which is a good thing for your brain

If you become distracted, it can be your brain’s signals that you should have a break. However, if you procrastinate all the time and don’t accomplish your daily tasks, it means that you should change something.

Change Your Routine Location

A new place makes your brain work in a fresh way and you’ll achieve the necessary results faster.

Our brain can get used to a routine, even to places and you work on autopilot. Of course, you’ll accomplish your tasks but they will not be creative. 

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