And you guessed it, it’s procrastination.
Even if you’ve never been a procrastinator yourself. the chances are you know someone who is. Other people who are procrastinating – whether it’s work or something else. If that’s your case, or if you know that you yourself procrastinate more than you’d like to, you’ll find that what you learn today will effectively help you succeed in stamping out procrastination.
So Why Do We Procrastinate?
Let’s look at a typical procrastination syndrome. Ben had a report to write which was hanging over his head. He didn’t know why he couldn’t seem to get started. He used the ‘lack of motivation’ as an excuse.
The root cause of all procrastination is the mind’s belief that the job is too big or too demanding to start it now. The mind prefers us to do routine tasks – tasks which we are used to doing. That is because it can put us on automatic pilot to accomplish them.
When the mind says something is too demanding, what it really means is that it is not routine.
When we try to engage in a new, non-routine task, the mind has to turn off automatic pilot and give full attention to this new task. Since this distracts it from its favourite pastimes, it sends us messages that encourage us to procrastinate, such as:
- ‘That takes too long, you don’t have time now’
- ‘You’re busy now, so just do it tomorrow’
- ‘It’s too much work’
How Can I Stop Procrastination?
We have to entice the mind into participating, and the best way of doing this is to show it that the new task won’t be so bad. The closer we can make it seem to its old pattern of operation, the more readily it will accept it.
The most effective way to do this is to break the job up into small, distinct steps. The mind won’t object to tackling a small, familiar piece. It can do that in automatic. The smaller we make the pieces so that is can operate in automatic, the better it likes it. Therefore we create more chance of starting and finishing.
Turning Your Knowledge Into Real Change
Now, if you read my last blog. You will know that knowledge and information without action creates no change. So now, lets turn the knowledge you have into a real-life skill.
Lets write it in four simple steps.
- Stop procrastination by making the job seem routine. As you read above, you need to make the new task seem like it’s part of your everyday routine. That way the mind will accept it.
- Sweep away all of the unknowns and get all the facts. Naturally, the mind doesn’t like anything new, so make sure there are no unknowns in the job/task that you need to get done. If you have an open mind-set, it will help you out a lot in this step.
- Learn to eliminate the mind’s excuses. This is for sure harder than I make it sound, I know. So every time an excuse comes into your mind, think about how you will feel and the benefits you will have after you have finished the job/task.
- Press the starter button. After you have completed all of the steps above, the fourth should be the easiest. Because most people don’t know about steps one, two and three, and they go straight to this step, which is just ‘starting’. Getting straight to the point and just starting may sound good, but you can’t change the structure of the mind, so you have to change your thinking. This means working with the mind rather than against it.
Remember Who Is The Master
We sometimes forget that we are the master of our minds. To nudge the mind in a new direction, such as to undertake a new task, requires a conscious effort from us. In other words, we have to tell it what to do or it will automatically do something else. The best way to get it to take action is through segmenting.
For the best success, segment into smallest, most distinct pieces possible!
Today we looked at the root causes of procrastination and how to overcome them. I hope this really helped you. Now, get to work. Please share this with your friends on social media!