Tomorrow, I will start my new life. I will get 25 things done (half of which take 5h each) I will learn 20 languages and I will never, ever put things off ever again. And what happens the next morning at 5 am? Snooooooooooze.
So what what is the act of putting things of called? Procrasitnation.
Why do we procrastinate? If we are talking from a human experience point of view I would say we procrastinate for couple of reasons. Some more acceptable than others.
- Fear of Failure We as humans need to succeed. Failing has often this humiliating affect on us. Instead of accepting that we learned how not to do something, we think we just failed for the rest of our lives. So the next time we don’t even try (and lets be honest. That is the real failure)
- Bad health habits. Now there is a lot of research done on how to optimize your brain and one of those ways is to be healthy. So eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising and sleeping enough. It is quite simple … how ever sometimes we seem to procrastinate on becoming healthy… what a vicious cycle it is.
- Being addicted to something; in today’s age it is increasingly easy to boast about how you don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. BUT do you perhaps touch your phone every 6 minutes? Because that is an addiction. If someone would alcohol every 6 minutes or smoke a cigarette that often, you wouldn’t question that they have an addiction but somehow with phones it isn’t the same?
If we discuss why we procrastinate from a biological/ physical point of view its due to our brains being structured to not want to do things that are difficult or that we are afraid of. So if our brain senses a danger (aka we dread a project) it automatically puts us into a mode of resistance to the hard thing, and we reach for the phone or what ever it is that we rather do. (Even though we are more adapted to resist difficult things do not make this your excuse, you’ll just live a miserable life.) Read more here: Science Behind Procrastination
How do we make sure that we leave procrastination to the minimal? (sometimes we are allowed to stumble)
- Place in routines that help you. Start your morning smartly. Instead of procrastinating getting up, make your alarm ring across your room (and don’t let it be your phone) Do maybe a couple of jumping jacks so you don’t feel like going back into bed. Wash your face with cold water …or take a cold shower. (it suck to take it btw.) But when you do difficult things right in the morning, when you are somehow still able to resist temptation it makes your rest of the day less resistance based.
- Figure out the issues you have: Is the project too large to conceptualize right away? Well make it into small sections, e.g. research, take notes, write paragraph 1-3 and 4-6 and lastly 6-10, proof read, come up with a good title, write down the resources you used and send it. Often times people get into this head space of the end goal. If you are obese and your eventual goal is to be a body builder, you will have to find small wins along the way. It can’t count as a failure if you don’t wake up next morning with six pack abs after eating healthy once or going to the gym once. With this logic it can’t be counted as a failure to take smaller steps in completing a project either.
- Figure out what motivates you. Not on a short term. But on a bigger scale. Is it being proud of doing the things you promised yourself you would do. Maybe you want to feel beautiful and healthy. Maybe you don’t like being stressed all the time. What ever it is for you, link your goals to feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction and joy. Things won’t bring joy on a longer time line. So don’t count yourself to deserve a coffee if you get done with a project. It is very easy to talk yourself into having a coffee because your need a pick me up. Trying to believe that you will be proud of yourself even if you fail in an exam, isn’t that easy.
What do you guys struggle with the most when it comes to procrastination? Leave it down in the comments. Would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and until next time.