Are you procrastinating on something right now? I procrastinate a lot more often than I realized. Why do we procrastinate? We all know it’s our worst enemy. How do we defeat it without hating ourselves and feeling overworked at the same time? Let’s reference some researchers, and spend some time digging through research.
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?
One of the first to consider, that procrastination is a human condition. Almost all people admit to putting off work, and those that don’t, are probably lying. As for the phenomenon of putting stuff off, it’s a visceral, demonstrative reaction to something we don’t want to do. The more loathsome you find a task, the more likely you are to procrastinate.
ITS EMOTIONAL, NOT NEUROLOGICAL STUPID
On a neurological level, procrastination is not logical, it’s emotional. The logical part of your brain surrenders when you choose social media over work, or decide to binge Netflix all night long. But there’s hope, a way you can give the logical side of your brain the upper hand. When you notice an approaching showdown between logic and emotional, resist the impulse to procrastinate. Here are three tip to help you combat the emotiona procrastination problem.
REVERSE THE PROCRASTINATION STARTS AND ENHANCE THE STOPS
Think about what procrastination triggers are set off by an activity you’re dreading. Then try to think differently about the task, making the idea of completing it more attractive and easier. Take writing a business expense report. We all find this boring, you can turn it into a game: see how many reports you can crank out in a 20-minute time period. Or if you find a work task unclear and unstructured, create a workflow that lays out the exact steps you and your team should follow each month to get it done.
RAISE RESISTANCE LEVELS LIKE A FORCE FIELD
When a task sets off procrastination triggers, we resist doing it. Let’s say you have to go through a dense piece of reading for an upcoming project. To find your resistance level, consider the effort you commit to that task along a sliding scale. For example, could you focus on reading for an hour? No, that period of time still seems unpleasant. What about 30 minutes? Shorten the amount of time until you find a resistance period with which you’re no longer resistant to the task — and then do it.
START, AND DON’T STOP UNTIL THE TASK IS DONE
It’s easier to keep going with a task after you’ve developed a resistance to overcome the initial hump of starting it in the first place. That’s because the tasks that induce procrastination are rarely as bad as we think. Getting started on something forces a subconscious reappraisal of that work, where we might find that the actual task sets off fewer triggers than we originally anticipated.