July 10, 2018

How to fight Procrastination?

Last week I researched and tried to describe exactly what procrastination is. Here's the definition I came up with:

  • Procrastination is the lack of self control
  • Self control is using your better judgment rather than giving into instant gratification
  • Instant gratification wins when the long term rewards or long term pain are not obvious enough to justify immediate action

The question for today is: How can I fight procrastination?

I think the answer lies in the definition. In order to overcome procrastination, I need to convince myself that the ultimate reward of the goal is worth much more than the immediate pain of doing the tasks to acheive the goal.

James Clear's article on procrastination provides a few excellent suggestions on how to implement this idea in order to overcome procrastination. He suggestions a number of useful techniques. I highly recommend reading the article.

I think all tactics and techniques for overcoming procrastination involve one aspect of the following:

  • Increase amount of immediate reward of doing a task.
  • Lessening immediate pain of doing a task.
  • Increasing awareness of future reward for accomplishing goals.
  • Increasing awareness of future pain for not accomplishing goals.

For example, putting your guitar in your living room is an example of lessening immediate pain. If the guitar were in it's case in the closet, it'd take more effort (more pain) to practice.

Another example: when you combine a fun task with a task that you'd rather not do, you're increasing immediate reward.

Meditating and reflecting about your goals is helpful because it makes the future rewards more tangible.

If the doctor suggests you might not be able to walk your daughter down the aisle unless you eat healthy, that is an example of increasing awareness of future pain for not doing tasks.

By the way, isn't it ironic that I procrastinated for 5 days about writing this blog post about fighting procrastination?!

I suppose I don't really believe these posts will pay off in the future. I think need to reflect more about why this is!

Tags: mindset limiting beliefs personal development