If you’re reading this instead of doing something more constructive, it’s OK!
It’s OK because in the short time it takes to read this, you will have learned 3 powerful methods to finish the big tasks you used to put off until later. This knowledge will give you an edge over 99% of the population and supercharge your productivity forever.
We are all familiar with the behaviour of putting things off until later and the word procrastinate derives from the Latin ”pro” meaning “put forward” and “crastinus” meaning “tomorrow”.
Top 3 reasons we procrastinate
The more aversive or unpleasant a task is, the more likely we are to put it off.
Our impulse or desire to do something more enjoyable may overwhelm our self-control.
Fear of failure or judgement
The fear of doing a task and failing or being found inadequate is greater than the stress not doing it.
3 powerful methods to eliminate procrastination
Want it more
The language we use has a profound effect on our thoughts, choices and actions. When we use language such as“I need to write that business case…” or “I should go to the gym tonight…” we subconsciously make ourselves feel obligation which triggers a sense of guilt when we don’t oblige. Consciously choosing to replace the word “should” with “want” indicates desire and something we associate getting pleasure from – this reinforces your intention and stimulates motivation to do the task. Try it out – it’s a weird feeling!
Divide and conquer
Do the task for just 4 minutes. Completion of the task will come easily thanks to the the Zierganick effect (Discovered by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeiganick) which describes how once we start something, our mind remains alert until it is complete. Have you ever started a jigsaw puzzle and been compelled to keep going? Have you ever binged watched 3 episodes of a TV show in a row because of their cliffhanger endings? Starting the task is the hardest part although when you commit to do it for just 4 minutes, our mind's desire to see it through to completion will take over.
Know your enemy
Holding onto a feeling of certainty that you will fail or not meet expectations immobilises your resourceful thinking. Invigorate your approach to the task by examining your thoughts about failure. In a single sentence that begins with “I feel that I will fail because…”, write down specifically what you doubt about yourself successfully completing the task...and be honest! Now answer the following questions:
What is funny about this belief?
How would a stranger consider this belief?
What is the exact opposite way of thinking about this belief? “I feel that I will succeed because…”
How would this new belief be helpful in finishing the task?
You will emerge from this exercise with a resourceful mindset to tackle the task.
I believe these methods will benefit people all over the world, so I appreciate you liking and sharing this with your social media network because it is an easy way to make a big difference!
I help leaders and teams perform at their best by enabling them to clarify strategic vision, discover inner confidence and unlock motivation! If I can help you or your team, please feel free to contact me so I can listen to your requirements.