November 26, 2018
Below is a lesson from Forbes on how to escape the procrastination doom loop, as well as our key learning.
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How To Escape The Procrastination Doom Loop
When you imagine a highly productive person, you likely think of someone who focuses effortlessly on the job and never succumbs to procrastination. You know, the type who can sit on the ground in a subway station with their laptop and still manage to get more done in an hour than you would in a day at the library.
The truth is, ridiculously productive people face the same procrastination challenges as the rest of us. The difference is, they beat procrastination by using a calculated approach. First, they understand why they procrastinate, and then they apply strategies that beat procrastination before it takes hold. Anyone can follow this two-step, research-driven process to overcome procrastination.
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- You can’t hope to stop procrastinating until you first have a firm understanding of why you procrastinate. Procrastination stems from negative emotions that hijack your mood.
- Instead of being lazy or disorganized, people usually put things off because they aren’t in the right mood to complete the task.
- The Procrastination Doom Loop – you aren’t in the right mood to work so you distract yourself with other tasks. By the time you feel up to task, you feel guilty for wasting time and this worsens your mood, and as declines draw near you feel worse than before.
- Escape the doom loop by taking control of your mood with these strategies:
- Figure out why – it could be something simple, such as your need for a break or to eat. It could also be something complex, such as you’re carrying the team on your back.
- Remove your obstacles – prior to getting started on a task, take a moment to carefully consider the obstacles that might get in your way and develop a plan to ensure that they don’t.
- Jump right in, no matter what – that first step is difficult, but once you get going, your mood improves dramatically. When you focus your attention on how difficult and cruddy it is, you discourage yourself from doing so.
- Cut holes in your project – we often procrastinate because we feel intimidated by the size of the project. Find smaller pieces of the task that you can quickly and easily accomplish. Before you know it, these smaller tasks have cut serious holes in the project and it’s no longer intimidating.
- Work in the right environment – working in the wrong environment can make you succumb to procrastination. See yourself away from TV, electronics, friends, loud places.
- Enjoy small victories – Keep yourself from procrastinating by experiencing the sense of accomplishment by tracking your progress carefully. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle challenges.
- Get real – setting unrealistic goals for your day is a great way to become discouraged and succumb to negative moods that fuel procrastination.
- Take control of your self-talk – Don’t tell yourself “I’m not going to procrastinate.” The opposite will happen. The trick is to shift your attention to something completely different and positive. Think about what you will do and how great it will feel to have done it.
- Don’t be a perfectionist – We tend to freeze when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t start and give your ideas time to evolve?
- Focus on results – While it may make you anxious to get started, don’t focus on that — think of how great it’s going to feel to get things done and how much worse you’ll feel if you wait and don’t give it your best effort.
- Forgive yourself – don’t beat yourself up when you slip up and procrastinate — it sends you right back into the procrastination doom loop.
- Remember, procrastination is rooted in emotions.
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