The Number 1 Trick to Beat Procrastination | Be Productive
Procrastination in itself is a form of resistance. It is the thing that keeps you from doing your work. Why do we do this? Why do we decide to sabotage ourselves by purposefully choosing to distract ourselves from the work? It hurts our performance and creates anxiety. Seems like the perfect way to avoid success.
So why do we do it?
- Chronic procrastination is a habit. It has become part of your lifestyle. Bills don’t get paid on time even if you have the money, gift cards expire, and last minute shopping is normal.
Lack of self-discipline and regulation. Excuses keep you from taking action, even though you have good intentions.
Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, “I’ll be more productive if I feel like doing this so I should wait.” Or “I work best under pressure.”
Being afraid of failure leads procrastinators to distract themselves, particularly with distractions that don’t require too much commitment. For example checking social media.
If you are indecisive, procrastinating can free you of the responsibility for the outcome of events.
Research on procrastination in recent years has shown that procrastination is an issue of self-regulation failure. Specifically, it is a mis-regulation of emotional states. This means that there is more to procrastinating than a time management problem. It is a maladaptive coping strategy, which is a risk factor for mental as well as physical health.
Procrastinators tend to have a poor self-image. They are harder on themselves due to a lack of self-compassion. This leads to elevated stress levels, which in turn feeds poor self-esteem, anxiety attacks, and depression. With the inability to properly regulate your life, these issues continue to feed off each other.
Chronic procrastinators have been found to sleep poorly. They sleep fewer hours at night, and not surprisingly, find it tougher to stay awake during the day. They are more likely to use medication to aid with sleep. This is because they tend to experience more stress and restlessness, which in turn reduces sleep quality.
Procrastination is linked to stress. Studies show that stress is related to various illnesses from sore throats to high blood pressure. When compared to non-procrastinators, procrastinators have been found to have low immunity. Meaning they fall sick more often. This can be linked to poor lifestyle habits.
Studies also show that procrastination may be one of the factors that increase vulnerability to cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. These conditions are often mismanaged by procrastinators, who cannot deal with the stress. Due to the issue of dysfunctional coping mechanisms, procrastinators have a tendency to cope with stressful illnesses in damaging ways.
What is the Number 1 Way to Beat Procrastination?
You may not like it, but the best way to beat procrastination is to take action. I know, I know if it were that easy procrastination wouldn’t be an issue. BUT the trick is to make it that easy. Ask yourself:
What is the smallest, easiest, step I can take?
Make the first step towards taking action something so easy that it’s almost hard not to do. It can be something that takes 2 seconds. Such as, write your name at the top of the page. Now make the second step just as fast and easy. Such as, write the date at the top of the page. Continue on this process and you will find that you have built some momentum.
Set a time in which you will focus, specifically focus all your energy on the goal. No multi-tasking, just write that report. Do that workout. Clean that room. Etc. The time limit you put on yourself can be just 30 minutes. Don’t set an unreasonably long period of time that you know you will not be able to achieve. On the contrary, set it shorter and take the pressure off.
The goal is to reach a state in which you can use your momentum that you’ve built to allow your work to flow. Once you reach that flow state, you’ll be working efficiently and at optimal capacity. You may even find that you want to keep working past your time period. And that’s ok. It’s better to go beyond willingly than painstakingly torturing yourself to make it to the end.
If you need to work up to the 30 minute mark that’s ok. You can start with as little as a 1 minute time period to work. Everyday get into the habit of focusing for 1 minute on the goal. Slowly increase that time and work into reshaping your habit. These small minutes you accumulate will fuel your transformation. They will become larger accomplishments in time.