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Rewire your brain to beat 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.

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Rewire your brain to beat procrastination

Rewire your brain to beat procrastination

https://medium.com/taking-note/rewire-your-brain-to-beat-procrastination-30b7d172c9d2

medium.com

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Key Ideas

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.

Emotions and procrastination

If you noticed fear or anxiety around starting (or not finishing) a particular task, pay attention. These emotions are a great indicator of why you’re procrastinating.

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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.

"Just do it” - not a solution for procrastination

If we repeatedly find ourselves avoiding certain tasks, an underlying problem needs to be addressed.

Once we identify the real cause, we can search for the appropr...

Most common reasons that lead us to procrastinate:

1. We feel like we’re not making progress.

2. We’re not sure where to start.

3. We’re afraid of failing.

4. We dislike the task itself

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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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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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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Tailor your to-do lists

Use the 1-3-5 rule when putting together her daily to-do list.

On any give...
Build good habits in two minutes

The “two-minute rule”  has two parts.

First, if something takes less than two minutes, do it now. Next, start building new habits for two minutes at a time. The rule for this is: When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. The idea is to make your habits as easy to start as possible. 

Think of these “two-minute habits” as gateway habits that will lead to your overarching goal.

Complete tasks in batches

It takes time to get into a rhythm to work on a task. Instead of constantly starting and stopping that process, it’s better to keep your rhythm going by bundling similar tasks together.

By doing this, you avoid interruptions and prevents himself from procrastinating.

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A fraction of our attention
A fraction of our attention

When we put into our daily activities only a fraction of our attention:

  • We never fully give ourselves to any task.
  • Our minds become stressed from the neverend...
Meticulous attention

To give your meticulous attention to a task, a person, an action, a moment means to give it everything you have right now: all of your concentration, time, love and devotion.

The practice of Meticulous attention
  • Notice each activity that you’re doing as a separate event.
  • For every event, ask yourself what you can do to give it your full attention. Turn off your phone? Turn your body fully toward the person asking for your attention?
  • Give the moment your undivided attention. Let go of thoughts about the future and past and turn toward what you’re facing even more.
Learn To Use Procrastination
Learn To Use Procrastination

The desire to procrastinate is a healthy brain craving, a natural need for novelty and curiosity. We must stop the negative self-talk we have towards us not working as a machine all the time. The l...

Observe Your Need To Procrastinate
  1. Observe the need to procrastinate, recognizing and being aware of your desire. This is called meta-recognition and is what all the Gurus keep talking about when they speak about awareness.
  2. Label and accept your urge to waste your time, but without any negative judgement.
  3. Validate your urge to procrastinate, increasing your self-esteem.
  4. Approach procrastination as a friend, not as a threat.
The Real Enemy of Flow

The biggest obstacle, the main villain hampering our productivity is always in your hands, and rarely in your pockets. _It’s your smartphone. It needs to be powered off for some time. Your laptop, clamouring for attention, is not helping either. Remove all distractions and notifications so that you can get in the ‘flow’ mode.

Creating friction between us and the open black hole of the online distractions helps us focus on work.

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The "frog"

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positiv...

Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy

"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".

The ABCDE prioritization approach
  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.
Smartphone Addiction

There are about two billion smartphone users in the world, who check their devices on an average 85 times a day.

Checking your smartphone repeatedly is normally assumed as being addict...

Not Really an Addiction

While being glued to smartphones may look like addiction, for most people it is just a behavior pattern, a habit that can be broken.

A set of people may be having a fixation with checking specific apps on the smartphone, like a gambling site or pornography.

Addiction Defined

The World Health Organization defines addiction as physical and behavioral dependence on a substance.

An addiction can create psychological harm and many social problems with family and friends

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