- Have you ever had something to do, but found yourself inexplicably browsing your email?
- Is it 5pm, and you’re still scrolling through Facebook (oops, where did the day go)?
The Greeks called procrastination akrasia — doing something you wouldn’t normally do. That is, knowingly putting something off, even though delaying it will make you worse off. (Akrasia)
The confusing thing about procrastination is, although it seems we are avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make us happy.
Procrastination often comes from feeling that we have so much to do that no single part of the to-do is worth doing. With this in mind, underneath is the more unsettling question, “Is it worth doing anything at all?”
Additionally, we often underestimate the time it will take to complete a given task. First, we fail to take account how long it took us to complete similar projects in the past. Then, we rely on smooth scenarios in which accidents or unforeseen problems never happen.
Another key point is we may be programmed to procrastinate. For one thing, it’s easier to complete something with a distinct reward than it is to think theoretically. In other words, we think an immediate hassle is tangible when we compare it to an unknown future benefit.
To begin with, the key is make the benefits of action seem real right now. For example, if we paint a clear mental picture of the benefits of getting something done, it can be enough to propel us forward.
In addition, our brain is responsive to how we’re viewed. For instance, we care whether we’re respected by others, or if we look foolish or lazy to other people. Therefore, making ourselves accountable (i.e., announcing, “I will do this…”)
- Make commitment easier. Design a strategy to change your behavior. Specifically, reduce the obstacles, or effort, needed to start. For example, to change a snacking habit, purchase food in individual packages, so no decision of amount is necessary when you feel ambivalent.
- Make starting easier. Generally, it’s not doing the work that’s hard, it’s starting the work. Significantly, once we begin, it’s less painful to do the work. To put it differently, make it as easy as possible to get started. For one thing, don’t focus on results. Instead, master the art of showing up.
- Make your goal specific and doable. The first thing to remember, specific goals positively impact everything, whether exercise habits or brushing your teeth. Accordingly, stating an exercise goal this way, “I will exercise for 30 minutes on [DATE] in [PLACE] at [TIME],” has been shown to make you 2x to 3x more likely to succeed. (SmartGoalSetting)
In whatever we do, there is a moment that requires us to slow our thought process. To that end, refrain from of settling for the first, or easiest solution. In reality, some procrastination might make you more creative.
A lifestyle approach can ease troublesome procrastination. As a certified Health and Wellness Coach, I am not about showing you the error of your ways. Coaching is about energizing you as you rediscover the strengths you possess to manage your life.