Procrastination, what you need to do to reduce it

Not in a minute, not after your shower, right now darn it!

We all know and have had experience with Procrastination. Why are some people lethal at putting things off and others are totally on it?

I have done a wee bit of research on this and the lads up in The University of Stockholm are very interested in this trait too, and I will share their findings in a little while.

First let's look at the perception of Procrastination.

  • Crap time management.
  • Laziness.
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Dizzyness
  • Being spoilt

The Definition of Procrastination

prə(ʊ)ˌkrastɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/ - noun

  1. the action of delaying or postponing something.

    "your first tip is to avoid procrastination"

    synonyms: dithering, delaying tactics, dilatoriness, stalling, temporising,

Researchers say:

Having a bad dose of (chronic) procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress and it can lead to significant issues in relationships, jobs, finances and health.

So you might giggle at yourself for scoring high on the ranking chart but it could be something you need to look at a bit further.

Something that could be stopping you achieve your goals in life & with your work.

Let's see what the Nordic researchers found....

In August, researchers from Stockholm University published one of the first randomised controlled trials on the treatment of procrastination.

It found a therapy, delivered online can significantly reduce it.

Psychologists also are studying other ways people might be able to reduce procrastination, such as better emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self.

As a LOVER of vision boards and having a clear picture of where you would like to be, I find this interesting.

And while we are on the subject of visions of the future self, I really need to share this TED talk with you.  

Seriously if you do not do anything else today PLEASE watch this, it could change your life and also how much you Procrastinate!

Why do we Procrastinate?

The essence of procrastination is “ we’re giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl says. “Procrastination is, ‘I know I should be doing it, I want to, it gets under my skin [when I don’t].’ ”

A friend of mine in his late 30's who I would consider a serial procrastinator, has never properly sat down and said..yup that is the diagnosis all right.

I guess procrastination is a loose enough term that is used but not taken very seriously really.

My buddy knows he is a procrastinator and accepts it as just the way he is. Even though he isn’t a lazy person, he says, he struggles with procrastination at work and in his personal life.

He says he feels paralyzed by wanting to do everything perfectly, which then makes him feel anxious about getting started.

Sound familiar?

 So if you do suffer from procrastination what can you do about it?

Tips from research led by Timothy Pychyl, Piers Steel and Alexander Rozental.

1. Break a long-term project down into specific sub-goals.

State the exact start time and how long (not just “tomorrow”) you plan to work on the task.

Let's take an example.

Goal: You want to write a Blog post every week. 

Sub-Goal: Choose a day of every week. 

Sub-Goal: On that day do NOT wake up and say - today I have to write a blog post.

Instead, say:

  • Today I have to get my blog page open on my computer and start doodling with topic names.
  • Take each step as if you are not actually going to perform your desired goal for the day. 

2. Just get started. 

So many projects are thought about, chatted about and even defined but not executed. Why? They never start.

So just begin the process. 

  • I want to write a blog every week.
  • Let's start today.
  • Let's begin to doodle about what I want to write about.
  • Let the process begin.

3. Remind yourself that finishing the task now helps you in the future.  

Stick this up near your computer, fridge, bathroom, wherever you tend to migrate to for the procrastination opt out.

Remind yourself when your inner voice says, yera I will wait until tomorrow to do that...stop and say... 

NO, I will do it now!

4. Implement “micro costs,” or mini-delays.

Micro costs require you to make a small effort to procrastinate, such as having to log on to a separate computer account for games.

 

5. Reward yourself not only for completing the entire project but also the sub-goals.

I like this bit - a nice strong coffee, a new magazine or treat yourself to a visit to the museum. Give yourself credit for making progress no matter how small it is.

 

I hope this helps.

 

I am off NOW to re-do my vision board....go get drawing yours and let's get jiggy with it! 

 

Talk next week

Keep Creative

Tara x