The habit of procrastination has caused more people to fail in life than any other habit on the planet. Like they say, “The cost of procrastination is the life you could have lived.”
The truth is that most people want the best for their lives, and they do want to make positive changes and focus on what matters. However, in most cases, doing what you need to do is often associated with discomfort.
If you want to get fit, you’ll need to exercise daily. That will mean sweat and exertion. Unless you love exercise, this is not a pleasant thought and your mind will conjure up a thousand excuses as to why you should procrastinate the workout to the next day or skip it totally.
The same applies to any type of productive work that will elevate you to a higher level. Your mind will try to protect you from pain by cooking up multiple plausible excuses for you to avoid doing what you’re supposed to do.
In this article, we’ll look at 3 hacks you can apply to beat procrastination.
- The 2-minute rule
Inspired by author, David Allen, this rule states that you just need to do the activity you’re avoiding for 2 minutes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a workout session or writing a report.
If you’re avoiding it or thinking of procrastinating it, just give yourself that 2 minutes. This is a short enough duration for it not to be overwhelming and you’ll trick your mind so it doesn’t go into ‘self-preservation mode’ and cook up excuses.
In most cases, you’ll notice that once you start, the entire mental hurdle disappears. You’ll often go well past that 2 minutes and take your task to completion.
If after 2 minutes, you’re still not in the mood, you can take a break and come back to it later for another 2 minutes. Over time, your mind will get conditioned to accept a higher threshold of discomfort.
It’s overcoming the inertia and getting started which is the hardest part of the process. Quite frankly, if you just applied this hack, you’d beat procrastination most of the time.
- A tight schedule
An object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest. If you want to beat procrastination, it’s best to have a tight schedule where you maintain your momentum from start to finish without taking too many breaks.
Many of the most successful people wake up early in the day and start working on their most important tasks first thing in the morning. Very often, by 1 pm, they’re done for the day and are more productive than most people who work till 5 or 6 pm.
By keeping their routine tight, they moved from one task to another in rapid fashion and didn’t give their minds much time to think of ways to procrastinate. So, you’d be wise to plan your days ahead of time and keep breaks to no longer than 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
Once the biggest chunk of your important work is done, you can take a break for an hour or so.
- Manage your environment
You’d be amazed at how many distractions can pop up to detract you from the task at hand. Social media notifications, email alert, phone calls, other people, etc. can all get in the way of your daily work and disrupt your momentum.
This is why highly productive people prefer to work either very early in the morning or late at night when most people are sleeping. Do whatever you can to eliminate most of the distractions during your working hours.
You may wish to set your phone in silent mode or even place it in another room, if you can’t resist the temptation to look at it. If you’re addicted to social media, you may wish to use an app like LeechBlock to block the sites you normally visit (during your working hours). Removing social media apps from your phone is another way to eliminate distractions.
In conclusion, procrastination is a nasty habit that will stop you from achieving your full potential – but only if you let it. Always be aware of what’s going on in your own mind, and reflect on your daily activities to see if you’re procrastinating.
From there, it’s just a matter of curbing the occasional instances when you shirk your commitments and staying on track with your daily plans. Always remember that immediate action will destroy procrastination. So, get started without hesitation.
Until Next Time
Dominus Owen Markham