Forgive Yourself for Procrastinating… to Beat Procrastination

Forgive Yourself for Procrastinating… to Beat Procrastination

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Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. You have an important task to do and yet you keep avoiding it. You clear small things first. You go for another coffee. You will help a colleague out. You will go for a walk. You will check the news.

You will do everything.

Just not the task.

Everything to avoid the task.

Let’s discuss now 8 cures for procrastination.
  1. Check if you really have to do it.
    Oftentimes the task isn’t your responsibility anyway. You can outsource it. You can delegate it. You can dump it altogether. Make sure your task doesn’t fall into one of these categories.
  2. Make the task more appealing.
    If it’s an outright repulsive job, see if you can make it more fun. Lack of fun in a job is the number one reason for people to avoid it at any cost. Hating tedious work is normal.
  3. Understand the consequences of avoiding the task further.
    Fear of consequences should motivate you to complete the task sooner.
  4. Break the task down into smaller tasks.
    Maybe simply you are trying to swallow a bit too big for your mouth. Try breaking it down into smaller tasks. As Brian Tracy says “You eat an elephant one bite at a time“. After you break it into smaller, easier to manage tasks return to point #1 and see which of these you can outsource or delegate, or scratch out altogether. Then proceed to make whatever parts of the job you can more fun.
  5. Stop multitasking and focus on the task at hand.
    If you are preoccupied with a hundred tasks, how do you expect to ever keep track of them all? Give your brain a break. Get organized. Focus.
  6. Accept that the first draft won’t be perfect from the start… And that’s perfect!
    Collect more feedback, revisit the draft at a later time and then make another!
  7. Act before you are ready! If you can’t decide… Make a decision!
    Truth is if you are hesitant, you will never feel ready! Act! Decide! A bad decision is always better than no decision! You can always revisit the task later and correct yourself. If you’ve done nothing though, you won’t be able to correct yourself ever.
  8. Forgive yourself.
    I can’t stress this enough. Intense feelings of guilt and worry are part of procrastination and actually make it worse, not better.

    When it comes to procrastination, the brain is protecting us against possible negative feelings. The norepinephrine chemical takes over, causing increased levels of fear and anxiety.

    But a good way to calm the stress response and overcome procrastination is to forgive yourself for it, according to Michael Wohl, a psychology professor at Carleton University in Canada.

    Dr. Wohl and colleagues have proposed a rather surprising cure for the habit: self-forgiveness.

    Wohl and his colleagues followed 134 students through two rounds of mid-term testing, asking each student to report how much they procrastinated when studying for the first round and how bad they felt about it in the period between the exams.

    The researchers then looked at how much the students procrastinated on their second exams and how well they performed on them. The results?

    The key finding was that students who’d forgiven themselves for their initial bout of procrastination subsequently showed less negative affect in the intermediate period between exams and were less likely to procrastinate before the second round of exams.

    Crucially, self-forgiveness wasn’t related to performance in the first set of exams but it did predict better performance in the second set.

    The happy conclusion: if you’re guilty of procrastination, the first step in overcoming this common vice is simply forgiving yourself for it. The more you obsess, the more likely you are to procrastinate again on future tasks. SOURCE

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