How to Overcome Procrastination



This is an article from Daniel of Grow Up Proper

 

Hello fellow procrastinator!

How do I know you procrastinate? It is not because you are reading this article, you're here to learn.

I know because procrastinating is in your nature. It is a common human behaviour which manifests in all of us.

In fact, it is so common that most find themselves procrastinating more often than they are taking action. I'm going to share with you some tips on how to overcome procrastination, but first, let's explore what procrastination actually is.

Overcome Procrastination

 

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of replacing high priority tasks with low priority ones. It is the act of watching television when your exams are 3 days away. It is the act of sitting on your computer instead of going out and socializing.

Let’s say (to oversimplify things) that your daily routine is: wake up, eat, take a dump, go back to sleep. Let’s say that you stuck to this routine for the past 10 year. You have mastered this routine; you are the master of wake up, eat, take a dump, go back to sleep. It does not require any forethought; it’s on complete autopilot which makes it energy efficient.

This routine has kept you alive for the past 10 years. Your body rationalizes that if you keep this routine up you will keep on living. That’s what your body and part of your mind wants: for you to live as long as possible and spread your DNA.

Part of your mind views any change in the daily routine as a threat to your very existence. This need to preserve the routine is so extreme that you will ignore not only the actions that can improve your lifestyle (eating healthy, working out, etc.) but also threats to your well-being (like the approaching exams, the imminent need for money, your loved ones becoming alienated from you due to your bratty behavior, etc).

So how do we escape getting sucked back into the habit loop?

 

Overcoming Procrastination

The first thing we need to do to overcome procrastination is to identify when we are on autopilot.

How do you feel about your life? If you’re like me, there are times when you feel great about your life, times when you feel terrible about your life and times when life is just ok.

You FEEL great about your life when things are going smoothly; you’ve probably been taking massive action in order to improve it as of late (and probably still are).

You FEEL terrible about your life when things are going downhill. You haven’t been doing anything constructive for a while now and you feel the world around you slowly degrading. You literally feel yourself becoming a lower, pathetic version of your former self. And this is a good thing. It means that you are aware that your life is not turning out how you want it and it’s ussually only a matter of time before you do something about it.

So feeling great or terrible about your life will motivate you to take action. What about when everything is OK? What do you feel when everything is OK? You feel content don’t you? Feeling terrible motivates you to take action, and so does feeling great but what about content?

 

The Common Scenario

Here’s a scenario: you’ve recently taken massive action to improve your income. You’ve made great progress, feel great, so you decide to take it easy for a bit. Slowly but surely you begin to slightly neglect your finances, but it’s OK. You’re still doing pretty well. It’s not the end of the world; you deserve a break.

Then a feeling of guilt starts to slowly creep in as your so called break doesn’t seem to end. You count your money and realize that your cash flow is slowly degrading. You feel worse and worse until finally you can’t take it anymore; you become sick of your own laziness.

So, you do something about it. You take massive action. You once again feel great about your work. And then you decide to take a break. And the process repeats itself again and again and again. I’ve been through this process so many times I’ve lost count.

So where did we mess up? Was it when we didn’t listen to that initial warning, that initial feeling of guilt? But why were we feeling guilty in the first place? We were feeling guilty because we’ve made no progress with our finances in a relatively long time; and we did not make any progress with our finances in a long time because we decided to take that one, single break.

We go on autopilot (and therefore procrastinate) when we stop taking action, when we allow the feeling of content to sweep in, when we say everything is OK.

REMEMBER: while you're busy feeling OK, your life is falling to pieces!

 

Specific Tips

When you want to take a break from your work ask yourself:

a) Are you physically tired? If your body is not functioning properly then you need to rest. If you’ve slept 9 hours last night and still feel sleepy, it might not be because you’re tired.

b) Are you mentally tired? Are you so stressed out that you are unable to even think about what you’re supposed to do next? Are you incapable of making decisions (even though you normally don’t have this problem)? Are you feeling like your head’s about to burst?

If yes, then meditate for half an hour (it works wonders). If you don’t know how, look for a guide online and, if you still can’t think properly, take a nap. If no, then get off your lazy ass and do something! If you never want to be procrastinating, then never allow yourself to take a break from your life’s work.

I am not saying to always do stuff you don’t like and I am not saying to do pointless work that gets you nowhere. I’m saying: do the “work” that puts you on your path, work which sooner or later will get you to where you want to go.

The second you stop walking the path, life begins to slowly but surely crumble under your feet.

Don't allow it to happen. Stick to the road.

 

Author Bio: Colisnicencu Daniel is a teacher, karate-ka, aspiring writer and entrepreneur. How many adults have actually grown up and how many of us are overgrown babies? Learn how "big" you actually are at his website: http://www.growupproper.com/

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I needed this article when I was in college. I was the king of procrastination. Of course there were many other kings and queens, I was just one among many.

    Looking back it is interesting to see how our motivation fluctuates. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book peaks and valleys, but it is about this phenomenon.

    I have found that if I oversleep then I tend to be more tired than usual.

    Thanks for the post.
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels invites you to read..Tips to Help You Wean Off of a DrugMy Profile

  2. says

    As always, amazing! It usually helps me to get scared A LOT after seeing somebody suffering because they were lazy and easily distracted. At one point I got so freaking scared when I saw my friend going bankrupt, that I stopped procrastinating. Period. I am a person of action now. :)

  3. says

    Hi Daniel,

    Meditation has really helped me to refocus my thoughts and stop my procrastination over the past few days. It really works! Thank you for sharing this great tip!

    I believed that another reason why people procrastinate is because they are not clear about their purpose in life. In fact, I was like this in the past. However, after reading books like Think and Grow Rich and spending some time on self reflection, I am much clearer about my life purpose now. And this has helped me to overcome my procrastination much faster.

    Have a great day!
    Edmund

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