Is there anything you always tend to put off? Any areas of your life where you don’t make the commitment required? Do you generally tend to do things at the last minute?
If the answer is yes, then you are a procrastinator!
For a long time I myself have been a competition procrastinator.
– “I will do it when I am less tired”
– “I will do it tomorrow”
I was always waiting for the perfect moment to do things, a moment that never came.
I remember when I received a reminder concerning the expiry of the car insurance by a month in advance from my insurance company.
To remind myself to renew it in time, I put the memo on the table.
Every day, for thirty days I kept seeing that sheet on the table and repeating myself “I will go there tomorrow, there is so much time”.
Considering that this mechanism was repeated almost in any activity other than pure entertainment, it is easy to imagine the consequences of this attitude.
This is why procrastination is one of the areas of your life that you need to remedy.
What is procrastination
Let’s see a little better what procrastination is. First of all, it is a very common bad habit among people. Psychology Today magazine reported that 20% of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. Postponing activities in every area of life leads to very powerful negative effects to the point of reducing self-esteem, damaging relationships and undermining a career.
Fortunately, the habit of putting it off can be defeated in many ways. In this article I want to give you a precise strategy useful for this purpose.
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with what happened yesterday, to avoid tomorrow.”
How to defeat procrastination in 7 steps.
1) Deep reasons.
Start by finding reasons why you should stop procrastinating by asking yourself the following questions:
“If I had in the past the discipline and constancy to start and continue the activities that I had considered important for the achievement of certain objectives, how would my current reality have been different?”
Write the answers on a sheet of paper. Go ahead and ask yourself:
“If from now on I had the discipline and constancy to start and continue the activities that I consider important for the achievement of certain objectives, how could my reality be different in 5 years?
Close your eyes and imagine how it would change your life if you finally started doing things … Think about it a little and then always write on a sheet of paper all the benefits that would derive if this change occurred in your life.
2) Identify the area.
Some people tend to procrastinate only in some specific areas of their life, while others postpone activities in many areas, but it is rare to find someone who procrastinates in all areas.
Make a list of the main things to do that you usually postpone (e.g. cleaning the house, exercising, going out with friends, …). People usually tend to procrastinate in one or two areas of their lives no more, you in which areas you tend to postpone:
– Home (e.g. ironing clothes, call the technician to fix the refrigerator, …)
– Job/ school (e.g. postponing exams, postponing the delivery of a report)
– Relationships (e.g. making a serious commitment)
– Health (e.g. medical visits)
3) Set a goal.
Identify a specific task to focus on. You can choose a task you have set for years such as learning to play a musical instrument, or another simpler one such as putting the closet in order. The goal must be specific, concrete and precise; for example, ‘learning to play Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to heaven’ is a more precise goal than ‘learning to play the guitar’. Another important thing is to set a specific deadline and try to meet it.
4) Identify the causes of procrastination.
To set up an effective anti-procrastination strategy, it is important to clarify the causes that push you to put it off. The most common ones are:
Each cause on the list deserves a separate article for further investigation. For the moment, once you have identified your root cause, you can think of the most appropriate strategy to deal with it. For example, if your goal is to write a book and the cause of procrastination is the overload of things to do, the strategies to be undertaken will be to make an action plan, break the project into smaller tasks and adopt a productive mentality.
5) Neutralizes evasive strategies.
Referring to the goal identified in point 3, ask yourself: what excuses do I use to avoid starting or completing activities? For example “I don’t have enough time”, “I’m tired”, “there is time to do it”. Take a moment to think about your task and how it went the last time you tried to start doing it but didn’t finish anything. Go back to that moment and ask yourself:
What were you thinking before putting the business off?
What were you focused on?
How do you justify your behavior?
What excuses did you use?
What happened in the environment?
What are the alternative activities you have decided to do?
Once you are aware of your evasive strategies, you will be able to fight them and maybe postpone them 🙂 in the future.
6) Be specific.
Describe the specific behaviors you intend to use to complete your tasks, including details such as when, what, where and how you will do that action. Researchers have found that procrastinators who spell out the actions needed to accomplish their goal have 8 times more chance of starting a task compared to procrastinators who don’t use them. For example, instead of saying “I will do some physical activity every day” you can say “every evening at 7 am I will go for a 15 minute run.”
7) Schedule everything.
Mark on a calendar the actions you need to take to complete your task and draw a colored line every day that you have done what you had to do.
Procrastinating is like using a credit card: you have a lot of fun until your bill arrives.
3 Tricks that Separate “Doing” from “Wating”.
I want to conclude the article by sharing 3 other “psychological” tricks that can play a crucial role in eliminating procrastination. These are: motivation, reward, internal dialogue.
On the way to your goal, it’s important to keep motivation high. An effective technique suitable for this purpose is the visualization of the gap: close your eyes and see how nice the clean and organized wardrobe is, feel the emotional benefit you feel in seeing order and cleanliness in your wardrobe. Now open your eyes and look at the messy and disorganized closet.
Now try to visualize the gap between the wardrobe in front of you now and how it will look once in order, how does it make you feel? This exercise can be very motivating.
2) Reward your progress.
Do not forget to reward your results with what you like most, a dinner out, a small gift. This recognition of your efforts will help your brain associate doing a task with positive feelings and will help you develop a habit of action.
3) Use the right words.
The language you use internally plays a very important role in procrastination (and not only).
“I have to finish this task by 10 otherwise …”
“I should go to the gym to lose 5 kilos.”
Remember that expressions as I should, should communicate conflicting messages to our unconscious that evoke internal resistance. Unfortunately, it is often the words that those who procrastinate say to themselves to spur action.
The secret is to talk to yourself in a motivating way, and you do it by transforming the activity to be performed into a choice or an act of determination (I want, I choose, I will go).
So “I have to register in the gym” can become “I want to register in the gym because I want to feel more fit”, “I have to finish this task by 10” it could become “I choose to finish this task by 10 in order to have much more free time to devote to my favorite activities “,” I should go to the mechanic “in” I will go to the mechanic. ”
This is a very powerful practical strategy for effectively eliminating procrastination. Remember that procrastinating means moving into a future that will never come the actions that can create what you want in life. Last tip: do not be discouraged if you find yourself putting it off, but do your set activity as soon as you can.