1. Understanding Procrastination
2. Realise you are procrastinating and change mindset.
- I choose to: While it is common practice to try to motivate ourselves with statements such as “I have to do it” or “I should do it,” such statements loudly communicate to the mind, “I don’t want to do it, but I must force myself to do it for them.” Replace “I have to” with “I choose to.”
- Replace “I must finish” with “When can I start?”
- Stop Procrastinating by Reminding Yourself You’ll be Lazy Later, Too
- To manage the critical voices in your head, give them names and personalities.
- Notice the voices in your head as voices. A lot of the time, most of us simply believe what we hear – either from other people or from ourselves. If your inner voice calls you lazy, it’s hard not to think you’re lazy. It helps if you imagine it’s Joey calling you lazy instead.
- Resist the urge to judge whether the voices in your head are right. It’s impossible to know and it doesn’t matter anyway. Are you lazy? The truth is that you probably are, in some ways. And, in other ways, you’re not. But that’s not the right question.
- Instead, think about the outcome you want and ask this question: Is what this voice is saying — and how it’s saying it — useful right now? This is the same question you should be asking if you’re confronted by an actual Joey or Vicky. Is this voice helpful to me in this particular moment? If you think it’ll motivate you, listen to it. If it will demoralize you, don’t.
- Next time you don’t want to do something, stop, pause, and ask yourself this, “Since when did I need to feel like doing something in order to do it?” And then just do it. It’s very very powerful.
3. Building Tempo
- The five-minute rule: If it is going to take you less than five minutes to do it, then just do it.
- “I count to 5. This is a secret rule I have for myself. Whenever I don’t want to do something (something small like getting out of bed, to something bigger, like asking a girl out), I count to 5 in my head. Whenever I reach 5, I have to do it. I have never failed to do what I set out to do once I hit 5, so it always works for me, in a weird sort of way. I know that if I didn’t do it, the “rule of 5” would cease to exist, and since I need it to exist, I have to do what I said I would do. It’s a weird paradox, but it works.“
- There are going to be times in which you really have to get a paper, project, or assignment done and you’re really not feeling up for it. Maybe your brain has become distraction city, or everything on the internet is all of a sudden interesting. In these moments, to get that extra “push” of work done, everytime you feel the need or want to go do something, tell yourself, “I can’t ‘x’ until I do ‘one more page.'” The mental “trick” creates a reward out of nothing and helps curb procrastination.
- Example: Problem: I really have to pee. Solution: I cannot pee until I finish two more paragraphs.
- Example: Problem: I really want to get up and get a snack. Solution: I can’t get up to get a snack until I finished this problem.
Next time you find yourself thinking, “I do not have time for X.” Instead think “I am not making X a priority.” Then stop and see how it feels.