Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after. . .
Procrastination is a force to be reckoned with. Many of us struggle with the ever-growing To Do list. We keep putting things off until the last minute, or even beyond that. Sometimes breaking our procrastination habit seems like something we should just wait to do until tomorrow. . .
Almost everyone can benefit from avoiding procrastination. In fact, many things achieve better results in less time when we don’t wait until the last moment. This TED talk from Tim Urban explains the mechanics of how procrastination works. He also has a great illustrated post on procrastination his blog waitbutwhy.com.
Most of us know we shouldn’t procrastinate, so why do we keep doing it!? The reason is pretty simple: we follow a dialogue in our heads that goes something like this:
- Doing this task will cause discomfort right now
- NOT doing this task will NOT cause discomfort right now
- What can I do right now instead, that will bring the greatest amount of pleasure right now?
This flawed internal reasoning may lead us to spend our time reading news, watching funny cat videos, or trolling Instagram instead of completing our task. The internet offers endless ways for us to keep putting off that task. . .We’ve all been there. But how do we break this pattern?
Things usually change when we have a deadline coming up. Now we start feeling the pain of not getting something done. Once that pain becomes greater than the discomfort of doing the task, we’ll usually (but not always) get it done.
Ending procrastination once and for all!
Together with your coach, you can retrain yourself to end procrastination. Since we are all motivated by different things, your coach can help you understand what specific strategies will work best for you. Maybe it involves breaking up tasks into smaller pieces and setting a schedule to accomplish each. Maybe you want to develop a personal reward system for completing tasks on schedule or ahead of time. It may be enough to simply build mindfulness of the fact that our future pain from not getting something done will be much greater than the discomfort of doing it today.
You can check in with your coach daily, bi-weekly or weekly to your coach know how much, or how little, you are procrastinating. If you have an extra challenging project, you might consider scheduling a phone session for extra strategies and support. Whatever methods you choose, having your coach to keep you accountable is the number one factor in successfully ending your procrastination.
Is your procrastination a sign of something?
There might be a deeper reason for why we are procrastinating. If we constantly procrastinate in our work or family life, it may be a sign that we are not satisfied with the status quo. If every task feels hard to do, we might want to ask ourselves “How did all these tasks (that I don’t want to do) get on my to-do list in the first place?
A good coach can help us see the big picture, and evaluate whether we are happy with our overall situation before asking ourselves about individual tasks. When we do this analysis, we often discover that our procrastination is a symptom rather than a cause.
A good coach can work with us in order to identify what our ideal situation would be, and construct a plan to go from where we are to where to want to be.
At this stage, many of our clients have a huge “Aha!” moment. Once they are excited about a big picture goal, the same tasks that were causing discomfort before now become easy and even fun.
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Wishing you success,
The LiveCoach team