I’m honored that you’re reading this. Even if you’re here because you’re avoiding doing that other thing. You know — the thing that has been on your to-do list for a couple days.
Why don’t I mind being used for procrastination? Well, basically, procrastination is a reward for not doing something unpleasant. Like work. So you’re saying my post is a reward…something pleasant.
Like I said, I’m honored.
But you really do have to get back to work and do those things you think are unpleasant. So give yourself permission to stick with me a little bit longer while I briefly go over some options for taking care of procrastination:
Procrastinate Acting on Good Feelings
Like I said, if negative feelings pop up, we do what makes us feel better and put off what feels unpleasant.
So when we feel anxiety or displeasure about a task, we can freeze. Use the time to focus on the long-term gain of not procrastinating. Make that emotion feel like it is happening now.
If we manage to work past the urges to procrastinate, there are a ton of distractions that offer attractive choices other than being productive. Improve your chances of working through it by reducing distractions:
- Turn off email, social networks
- Turn off TV & radio
- Find a quiet, isolated place
- Clear your desk
Strengthen the Willpower Muscle
It helps to think of willpower as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. It will become easier to push past the short term gains of procrastination as you exercise willpower.
It’s about rewards. Sometimes we seize upon the immediate gains even though we know the importance of other tasks. We have to make ourselves feel better now about those delayed tasks to overcome procrastination.
(Image courtesy of Kyle May under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)
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Great advice Carl. I definitely agree that will power is muscle-like. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be when you use it more. Thanks for the advice!
Wow, nice article.
Everyone seems to struggle with this sometimes…. 🙁
It’s not easy. But I’m fighting through it as well.
Good advice! I’m struggling with distractions. They’re abundantly everywhere on my end.
I really appreciate the suggestion to “focus on the long-term gain of not procrastinating” – that bit of advice can be tremendously helpful. Eventually you ask yourself what you’re doing *not* getting that task or project finished!
My biggest hurdle is large scale projects. It’s hard to work on something huge that you won’t see reward for awhile. Everyone says to break it down, but feeling progress helps keep me motivated.
Procrastination is just like a credit card..
For me it helps to imagine all the bad things that would happen if I procrastinate to avoiding actually procrastinating. I use the unpleasant consequences of procrastination to fight it.