Do you Procrastinate?

Do you ever put off things today that you mean to get around to tomorrow? Procrastination…..  Killer of all dreams..

So why do we do it? To see how many things we can put on our to-do list for the next day to watch that list grow and grow? Love this definition I found on the internet.

The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well.

The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking

You keep promising yourself this will be the year you do all these things. You know your life would improve if you would just buckle down and put forth the effort.  The problem with procrastination it makes you feel even more out of control in life.  It’s like an invisible force that keeps you from doing what you want to do in life.  Like it is holding you back and has some power over you.

You can try to fight it back. You can buy a daily planner and a to-do list application for your phone. You can write yourself notes and fill out schedules. You can become a productivity junkie surrounded by instruments to make life more efficient, but these tools alone will not help, because the problem isn’t you are a bad manager of your time – you are a bad tactician in the war inside your brain.

Procrastination is such a pervasive element of the human experience there are over 600 books for sale promising to snap you out of your bad habits, and this year alone 120 new books on the topic were published. Obviously this is a problem everyone admits to, so why is it so hard to defeat?

To explain, consider the power of marshmallows.

Walter Mischel conducted experiments at Stanford University throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s in which he and his researchers offered a bargain to children.

The kids sat at a table in front of a bell and some treats. They could pick a pretzel, a cookie or a giant marshmallow. They told the little boys and girls they could either eat the treat right away or wait a few minutes. If they waited, they would double their payoff and get two treats. If they couldn’t wait, they had to ring the bell after which the researcher would end the experiment.

Some made no attempt at self-control and just ate right away. Others stared intensely at the object of their desire until they gave in to temptation. Many writhed in agony, twisting their hands and feet while looking away. Some made silly noises.

In the end, a third couldn’t resist.

Some tips to overcome this nasty little habit. Is first just start doing something towards your goal.  Get at least one thing you hate doing that you feel you must do out-of-the-way first thing.  It is a huge accomplishment and you feel empowered when you get the this thing off your to-do list.  Thinking about thinking, this is the key. In the struggle between should versus want, some people have figured out something crucial – want never goes away. Do an action step that will take you forward instead of keeping you going no where.

Procrastination is all about choosing want over should because you don’t have a plan for those times when you can expect to be tempted. Second, expect that when you face an unwanted or undesirable task that you’d rather put off, you’ll have lots of negative emotions. My advice is, “suck it up!” Yes, it’s a hard-nosed approach, but procrastinations need it. Don’t give into feeling good,  such that you focus on short-term mood repair.  Keep your focus on long-term goals, what you want ultimately.

Finally, my third tip is “be honest with yourself.” Too often procrastinations justify or rationalize their procrastination saying things like “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow” or “I work better under pressure” or “This can wait.” . . . No you won’t, no you don’t and no it can’t.  Stop the self-deception that comes with procrastination.  Start telling yourself nope this can not and should not wait.  I have time, I can do it now.

 

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10 thoughts on “Do you Procrastinate?

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