Procrastinating is in the nature of the human being, also in mine. In fact, supposedly this article should have been published yesterday...
A definition of Procrastination you can be: The tendency to postpone the things we have to do.
Some are important and may have negative consequences in the short term (studying a test, renewing the identity card, paying the debts...) and others are less important, although in the long run they can be inconvenient (washing dishes, washing, doing exercise…).
Some symptoms of procrastination may be:
- Leave a pile of dishes unwashed.
- Buy weights to exercise and always end up watching TV.
- To propose to be to diet but in the end you end up eating in a hamburger.
- You studied the exam the day before.
- You deliver the work one minute before the deadline expires.
As Napoleon Hill said:
Procrastination is the bad habit of leaving for the day after tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.
To leave things for tomorrow is related to the law of minimum effort and the pursuit of pleasure; We always seek what makes us feel good and avoid what makes us strive.
It's okay if you leave the dishes unwashed, if you do not go running, if you do not study or if you do not start the diet one day. The downside is whether those tasks are postponed weeks, months or even years. How far could you have advanced in your objectives If you had worked a little daily without postponing the tasks? It is something that does not let you get everything you want.
As this phrase says:
Procrastinating is like a credit card: it's really fun until you get the bill. "Christopher Parker."
It seems that the tendency to procrastinate is affected by genetic factors, As this study says , Which does not mean that you can not avoid it. Therefore, do not make excuses with that data
In addition, according to research, your tendency to procrastinate is related to the impulsiveness . Remember this because I will talk about it later, since it is key to overcoming procasting.
On the other hand, many studies have shown that humans have Inconsistent preferences . For example, if you want to lose weight and are asked if you prefer fruit or cake within a week, you probably say fruit.
However, if you are asked the same thing a week later, you will surely say cake. Another example: you've been saying weeks that you're going to read that interesting book instead of watching TV. However, arrive at 9pm and you get to watch the Simpsons or any other program instead of reading.
Is what is called Bias of the present ; We are not able to understand what will change over time, what we want now and what we will want in the future. Surely you have bought bananas, lettuce and apples and then you have thrown them because you preferred to take as dessert an ice cream or a yogurt.
This is explained by the bias of the present. It also explains why you always propose to lose weight or change something on January 1st of every year.
It is possible that understanding the reason, help you to overcome this tendency, however it is best to find a solution.
Think about what you think: Metacognition
One of the keys to overcoming procrastination is that you know how to do to avoid what harms you and do what is beneficial.
It is about thinking about your own thought processes or metacognition. For example, are you aware of what's going on in your head when you want to go to the fridge and get ice cream? Or what happens to get you anxious or want to smoke a cigarette?
If you realize, when procastinas you are choosing to do what you want, instead of choosing to do what you should. You can not predict when the time of temptation will come, but it comes and, since you have nothing planned, you fall into it.
We always tend to choose what we are going to enjoy now rather than what we are going to enjoy later. For example, it is likely that if I offer you 50 euros now or 100 in a year, choose the first option. And this is completely normal; So has evolution for thousands of years.
Do you think that your ancestors who lived in caves would think that eating too much meat would hurt them in the future? Of course not, mainly because reaching the age of 30 was already a lot and few reached a late age.
There are parts of your brain that want you to take what benefits you in the present.
Surely you have tried many ways to start quitting smoking, starting a diet, going to the gym, managing your time. But in the end, nothing works because the problem is that you are fighting against your instinct.
To stop procasting, you must be realistic about your own tendency to procrastinate and not over-confident about your ability to do things in the future. People who admit their weaknesses in this sense, have more ability to improve and commit to doing things.
Therefore, a very important point is Do not believe that you will not procast . If you overestimate your ability to manage time or achieve your goals, you will fail because you will not develop techniques or strategies to deal with your weaknesses.
Example with Ulysses in the Odyssey
Ulysses, existed or not, is an example of someone who used a good strategy to stop procasting and not to fall into impulsiveness. He did not underestimate his ability not to fall into temptation (sirens), but was aware that in the future he would fall into temptation and that he had to use some strategy to overcome it (to tie himself to the pole of a candle and ask his companions That they ignored him).
Even if you think that in the future you will be able to do things or avoid temptation, you probably are not right, because in the future you will be in another state of mind. The key is to accept that in the future you will fail and therefore you have to carry out Self-control strategies , Time management and finishing things.
To be more aware of your own thoughts and live more the present, I recommend the Mindfulnes .
Treatment of procrastination; Techniques
Actually the word treatment applies only to diseases, but can pro-infection be considered a disease? In my opinion, if it is affecting your physical or mental health, yes.
Let's look at the strategies to follow to begin to leave this habit and encourage in your behavior the tendency to do things. These techniques will be the"supplement"to metacognition (think about your thoughts) and be aware that you need a strategy to overcome impulsiveness and procasting.
It is important that you know what are the most important things to finish and focus on.
For example, if you have to finish a report, do the dishes and go to the gym, it is logical that the report should have priority and you'd better finish it before. What tasks and your order will do it planning.
Planning is strategically organizing what tasks you have to do to meet a goal. Such planning can be annual, monthly, day to day, even hours.
If you are going to plan your day, planning will be guided in small steps that lead to a greater goal. One of the simplest, best, and most effective ways to plan is to make a List of tasks to finish .
- Check emails and respond.
- Send report.
- Write an article for Juan.
- Call Mary.
Also and to make better use of the time, I recommend that you make a list of the Things you should not do . This will make you aware of it and remember it:
- Do not open facebook.
- Do not see whatsapp. Leave the smartphone away.
Divide the big goals into small goals / steps
Surely if you think about the report of 500 pages you have to write will be cumbersome and difficult to start. But if you think about finishing the introduction or the first 10 pages will be much easier.
In addition, it is advisable to divide the major objectives into medium- and short-term objectives.
For example, the long-term goal is to lose 15 kilos:
- First steps: Exercise this afternoon and start the diet.
- In the short term (August 6): slimming 2 kilos.
- In the medium term (October 10): slimming 8 kilos.
- In the long term (January 10): slimming 15 kilos.
In addition, to meet that goal you will have to have a strategy and planning (diet, exercise, how to buy, what meals to avoid...).
Put limits to finish things
In this respect, I recommend that you read this article About the Parkinson's Law. It is based on putting time limits to do what you have to do. For example, one hour to complete the report.
Think about the reward / get one
If you think you will be working all day, you will be much heavier, however, if you have listened to the previous point, you will have set a limit to finish your tasks.
In addition, it is advisable that you put a reward if you finish everything you had to do. That will make you aware that at the end of all the effort there will be something pleasant. It can be from watching a movie to going for a walk or having a drink in a bar.
Phrases to stop procrastinating
If you have read another of my articles, you will know that I think there are Personal motivational phrases Which convey what could be said in several paragraphs.
- "Plan only 4-5 hours of actual work each day."- David Heinemeier.
- "It's normal to have days when you can not work and days when you'll work 12 hours without stopping. Work more when you are in that state. Relax when you're not."- Alain Paquin.
- "Your time is worth 1000 dollars an hour and you need to act accordingly."- Jason Cohen.
- "We are always more focused and more productive with time limits."
- "Working is the best way to get started. Start with small tasks to make the ball begin to move."
- "A thing done is much better than idealized perfection."
- "More hours worked means no more productivity."
- "Separate thinking and execution to execute faster and think better"-Sol Tanguay.
- "Organize meetings early in the day. The waiting time of the meetings is wasted."
- "Keep the same project during the day. Switching from one project / client to another is unproductive."
- "A great goal is only achieved when every little thing you do every day, brings you closer to that goal"-Maren Kate.
- "2 tasks do not have the same importance. Always prioritize. Be very careful with lists of things to do."
- "Work on what has the greatest impact"- Jason Cohen.
- "If something can be done to 80% by someone else, delegate"-John C. Maxwell.
- "Set time limits for everything. Do not let tasks expand indefinitely."
- "Sets end dates for stressful tasks. It all ends sometime."
- "Write down anything that distracts you and they will stop distracting you when you're productive."-Steven Corona.
- "Take breaks from time to time."
And what do you do to stop procrastinating?
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