Continuing with the previous blog, if you want to know if you are a procrastinator, then stay to read this section.
I'm not going to test you or anything like that. Simply answer briefly the following questions (which I have already mentioned in part before):
- Do you leave for later what you know you should be doing now?
- Do you feel that you leave everything for the last moment?
- Do you prioritize trivial tasks over those you know are important due to laziness?
If you answered yes to any of them, you already have your answer to the question 😛
Let's break down the explanation behind it a little more in detail.
The Brain Of a Procrastinator
But I'll let Tim Urban of the Wait But Why blog does it. And he does it in this fun TED talk below.
Please, dedicate 15 minutes to this funny video where he very aptly explains all the factors that go through the mind of a procrastinator. (You can activate the subtitles in Spanish).
What do you think? Tell me in the comments when you finish 😉
Similarly, I leave you my summary of this TED talk.
We are people who make rational decisions and think long-term until the short-term benefit factor appears.
This factor (from now on, the monkey), will be the one that throws away any start-up of an important task that you have to do. The monkey prefers that you spend time on trivial tasks, on distractions that lead nowhere.
That's when the monkey takes the helm of your decisions and you let go of what you really should be doing. This scene stretches out in time until it takes up all the available time you have.
Until the next figure appears on the scene: panic.
The panic to see that the time limit has come and that we have not done what we should have done. Now chaos reigns in the scene and the monkey disappears. Now it's just you facing the panic and that's when you get to work.
Your job here is to make sure that the panic does not come and that the monkey does not make the decisions for you 😉
Please watch the video. It is very good!
The Eisenhower matrix is a concept brought to light by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Very used to seeing what you are spending your time on and knowing if you are productive or not. Taken from Tim Urban's blog, I put it below:
Eisenhower Matrix: To overcome procrastination, avoid quadrants 3 and 4.
A person who achieves important goals is focused on the first two quadrants. Many times they are tasks that require greater concentration, research, and dedication. And for this reason, it is common for people who suffer from procrastination to avoid them and focus on the other two quadrants.
Only when the figure of panic appears, is when it pushes you into quadrant one again, but not before.
You have more detailed information about the procrastination matrix in this article by Tim Urban.
How To Overcome Procrastination: The Perfect Strategy
If the monkey is next to you, get it out of your head and take action once and for all. The long-term benefit is much better than what you can have right now, I assure you.
Obviously, you do not have to take all the points that I am going to break down to you at the same time to practice. Start with the first one, and when you don't have to think about doing it (when the habit is mastered), move on to the next one.
You're going to experience a brutal change, you'll see.
1. Your Action Plan The Night Before
I am not going to talk to you here about the importance of having a daily (or weekly, quarterly, or annual) action plan. I recommend that you have a list of actionable tasks for your day.
Why? Because you will feel a great relief not having to spend time in the morning seeing what you have to do, where you had stayed, etc.
So don't hesitate, and when you end the day, take even a piece of paper and write down the tasks you have for the day but, not 87 tasks. You have to be realistic. And remember that at least one of them has to be really important. It will be that task where you should start.
A day of trivial tasks and it is a day that you do not come close to your dream.
2. Set a Deadline
Remember Parkinson's Law:
The work expands to fill the time available for its completion. – Cyril Northcott Parkinson
As Tim Urban has also explained before at the beginning of the video. It is extremely easy for you to rush to the maximum and leave everything for the last moment, even if you end up finishing it.
But if you don't even tell yourself when you want to have it ready, the monkey will always be by your side.
When you have a goal in mind, get it out of your head and start setting a date for it. Both the fat goal and the subtasks you have to complete, that depend on it.
New tasks may appear that you had not taken into account. No problem. Recalculate and continue.
3. Combine The Activity With Something You Like
And it is that a study concluded that the tasks that people considered boring are those that tended to be postponed in time.
Combining a task that your mind understands as boring with something that your mind likes, can be the push you need to stop procrastinating.
Get to work with a cup of coffee, on a terrace if you wish, or with the music that you like the most. Look for what encourages you to work on that kryptonite that is killing you.
4. Divide and Conquer
Regardless of the field you are working in, and as I discussed in point one of the strategy, a list of actionable tasks is essential.
Try to grab the target and break it into pieces. Little ones you can do already.
For example, the objective is “Make a vacation video”. Laziness from minute 1. Let's break it down:
1. Download videos and photos.
2. Sort by days/places.
3. Clean up what doesn't work.
4. Assemble by day/place.
5. Find background music.
6. Final assembly.
7. Export and enjoy 🙂
This is the example that came to mind. I hope it serves as an example 😀
5. Eat The Frog!
Liken the "frog" to that tedious task that bores you, that you keep putting off for another day and that by far motivates you to do it.
Brian tells us to eat that frog and get through this unpleasant experience as soon as possible so that we can enjoy the rest of the day without thinking about it anymore.
Otherwise, your mind will go round and round. You will not stop procrastinating, and when the end of the day comes, it will be the last thing you will want to do. And start again.
Start your day with the frog, dedicate if you want a time that you stipulate, like one or two hours, before getting on with something else. At least, you will have made some progress towards your main goal 🙂
6. Do Not Cut Yourself Defining The Task
To do this, I'm talking about smart goals.
It is about defining a goal as specifically as you can, that it be realistic (and not a utopia), and that you can measure it in time to track it.
In this way, you will be able to give yourself feedback on whether or not what you are doing is on the right track and you will be able to change course if necessary.
7. Support Yourself and Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
If you work on common goals with other people, you can move forward at the same time, setting common delivery dates to force both of you to meet.
Make the challenge public among family and friends, to create a commitment that motivates you to give results. The figure of the Accountability Partner is great in these cases. Someone to account for what you're doing.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
Take into account those people with whom you surround yourself. They are key to advancing your goals and stopping postponing tasks.
8. Detox Distractions
Television, social networks, mobile, etc.
Choose a time when you are going to work outside in which all sources of distraction are blocked.
9. Power Management
Statistically, and due to the behavior of the human being, the mornings are usually the period of time where the body has the most energy. When you wake up, your batteries are spent until it's time to go to sleep again.
Study yourself and look for the ranges where you have the most energy. That is when you have to place the important task, where you can give your best, and not outside of it.
If you don't know where your highest energy range is, you can start measuring it now. Take a pen and paper of the hours in which you put to work and start writing down how you feel. Do it for hours, for at least two full weeks. You can also do this test.
From there, pull data to make a graph.
If you are a night person, nothing happens, it is also great!
Find your comfort to stop procrastinating.
10. Train Your Discipline
You have to stop fooling yourself and take the next step. Train your discipline, be consistent with the actions you take, and be aware when you know you are procrastinating.
The lack of discipline and self-control can appear, even more so in the early stages or when you are starting to change this bad habit.
Maintaining and even strengthening willpower is possible. I will talk about it in the next blog since it is a fundamental pillar.
11. Visualize Your Future Self With The Task At Hand
I bet you feel great, gratified, and even a little proud.
Vision for meeting objectives. Very important.
For a moment, close your eyes and imagine what you will be doing or how you will feel when you finish that task. Think about the next thing you can do, imagine the benefits of it, and the classic "it's finally ready" that will come out of your mouth.
Cool, isn't it?
It's one more way to help you overcome procrastination from the start.
Don't make everything you just read stay in a corner of your brain next to the monkey 😛
Do you procrastinate your tasks and goals?
Do you feel how the panic monster is nearing the end?
Do you have any other tips to help you avoid procrastination that I haven't mentioned?
Tell me in the comments. But do it now, don't procrastinate 😀