We’ve all lost hours looking at Social Media posts when we KNEW we should be doing something else.
Personally – the only time my house is spotless is when I know I have an important deadline coming up.
(Even dusting, and that’s saying something.)
We used to think that procrastination was about laziness – but actually it has been proven to be due the stress response.
Professor Timothy Pychyl (I checked – it’s his real name) of Carlton Uni. found that procrastination is a response of our powerful subconscious’ desire for instant gratification.
We are drawn to the procrastination because it gives us a relief from the stress.
If that also involves cute kittens, catching up with friends or watching something hilarious online – then that draw is super strong!
It’s the same with dealing with debt, the difficult call you have to make, or doing the tax return (or GDPR) – putting it all on hold for five minutes to do something far sexier and enticing eases the pressure.
For a while.
The thinking, stress and anxiety starts to tap you on the shoulder when the initial procrastination relief wears off… and it doesn’t really go away – just kind of builds up the longer things go on.
Procrastination is about surrendering control and taking a break from ‘adulting’.
Makes sense, right?
So here’s a very simple, but effective tip:
The Action Countdown.
The exact moment you find yourself starting to procrastinate ;
- Stand up immediately (to change your view)
- Don’t ruminate for even a second more (to sharpen your focus)
- Give yourself a countdown (to create a pattern interrupt)
And JUST DO IT.
At the end of that countdown you have to act.
The final part is to congratulate yourself when you have completed the task and to take time to celebrate – even tell someone.
Like a lot of strategies that somehow sound too simple to be true – its weirdly, madly effective
The countdown is you taking back control, and the beauty is – the more you do it, the more you programme your brain to want to do it.
You create new neural pathways that recognise your countdown as it’s time to get things done, and the one that sets the “I SMASHED IT” celebrations in motion.
How about now?
Have a great day