Procrastination is defined as the action of delaying or postponing something.
We’ve all been guilty of doing this to some degree, some people do it more than others.
We know we would be better spending time doing things that move us closer to our goals. Work that is productive, and worthwhile. When in college or university, it’s revision for that all important next exam, presentation or completion of the next assignment in time for the submission deadline.
So many students procrastinate right up until the looming deadline gets so close that delay can no longer be extended, pulling the all-nighters just to have any chance of submitting something reasonable.
It doesn’t get much better for non-students, in fact, most people struggle with procrastination in some aspect of their lives. Pulled and push about by distractions and temptations, we spend way too much time on social media or surfing the net, in a vain attempt to avoid doing what we should be doing. Or doing anything we can, to get out of going to the gym.
Our instant gratification monkey keeps us seeking pleasurable experiences and avoid doing things that we perceive as work or difficult and thus unpleasant.
We’re hardwired to avoid discomfort, either physically or psychologically.
So how can we better get on with the things that will improve us, encourage growth, and that will lead us to our goals?
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We’ll add just a couple of options here, but there are many others throughout the website.
Use CONSEQUENCES to your advantage.
At college or university we have deadlines. The fear of a failed exam or a poor score on your assignment are enough for you to resort to pulling an all-nighter, so that you don’t have to suffer the indignity and shame of the consequences of failure. And although students are known for cramming right up the the finishing line, they do still do all they can to hit those deadlines. Deadlines work.
So putting yourself in a position where you give yourself a DEADLINE, and where failure has adverse consequences, will help you hack your motivation. For instance, having an accountability buddy, who holds you to account for your progress, milestones and end result, is one idea. Broadcasting your intentions and date for completion to your family and friends is another, say on social media. You don’t want to look like a failure to the people closest to you, so you better get the work done.
Give yourself REWARDS for following through; if you get [x] amount done in the next 2 hours, you’ll reward yourself with 30 minutes doing fun stuff, or a lovely treat or whatever works for you.
Use INCENTIVES along your journey, daily targets achieved result in something good coming your way. If you get [x] done by [y] you can have/do [z].
In the same way as incentives, use PUNISHMENTS to direct your actions but for the opposite reasons. If you don’t get [x] done by [y] deadline you can’t do [z].
One last thing to consider before we wrap up this post; if you can do something that you love to do so much, and doing it doesn’t feel like work, this will be motivation enough to put in the work. So doing what you love, that also moves you towards your goal(s) is the best scenario possible. It’s worth trying to figure out a way of aligning your purpose (goal) with your day to day activities (actions/behaviours) whenever possible, because this is perfect alignment between your outer world and inner world.
Good luck in your journey.