What is procrastination and why do we do it?
Procrastination is that weird foggy state you fall into when you know you have to do something, but you just put it off. You know it’s super important to do it, but you think to yourself “I will just read the news for five minutes to get started” or “I will just check Facebook it there is something new” and before you know it’s half an hour later and you haven’t started working yet.
We procrastinate because it’s comfortable and easy. It’s an unconscious decision between something that is nice and something that is actually unpleasant. In order to break it, we have to make a conscious decision for the thing that is unpleasant. But why is it so difficult to break this pattern? When you say “I will just do this for a couple of minutes…” You are not telling yourself that you are not gona do it, you are just telling yourself that you will do it a couple of minutes later, which is perfectly ok if that would be the truth, but that five minutes often become 15, 20 or even 30 minutes, and you are just wasting you precious time. You could easily say that it has something to do with laws of physics as Sir Isaac Newton already taught us long ago, objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. We can easily apply this law for humans. It is much easier to continue doing what you were doing (procrastinating) than to start doing something new.
How to beat procrastination
The first step in order to beat your procrastination is to get organised. Make a plan of your daily activities, and the first bullet on your daily to do list should be to create/revise your daily activities and plan.
Make a plan, make it strict and stick to it
The thing is that if you take the first 5 minutes in the morning to plan your day, you will know exactly what you need to do that day. You are much more efficient once you know what needs to be done. The key skill of highly successful people is that they are highly organised and efficient. They do not waste time on things that don’t bring any value to their life. Once you have a tangible plan you don’t forget to do it and it makes it much easier to track your progress. You can also award yourself after you finished all the tasks on your daily to-do which will motivate you even more and you will be surprised how efficient and fast you can become.
Make use of the 2-Minute Rule
What is the 2-minute rule? There are two rules for the 2-Minute Rule.
Rule #1 – If it takes less than 2 minutes to do it, than do it immediately.
It is really interesting how we are constantly putting off tasks that could be done in two minutes or less. Sending that email, taking out the trash, make your bed in the morning and so on. You wouldn’t believe how much more work you could do if you would do all the little things immediately.
Rule #2 – Even if you don’t feel like doing something, just do it for 2 minutes and chances are you will do it for much more than 2 minutes.
The psychology behind this is, that the hardest part of a task is to actually begin doing it. Once you have started it is fairly easy to just continue doing what you are already doing.
A couple of examples when you can use the 2-minute rule
Want to read a book? Start by reading the first page, once you will get past the first page you will most probably just continue reading and even if not you have read one more page of the book.
Want to exercise in the morning but are to lazy? Just start doing your exercises for 2 minutes and chances are you will continue doing them.
Want to learn a new skill? Just start googling how to learn it and you will be quickly drawn into reading more about it.
Divide larger tasks into smaller easier tasks
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It can be overwhelming to imagine an enormous task especially if it can take you very long time to finish it. It is much better to divide it into smaller tasks that are easily achievable and you can finish them quickly. It is also very rewarding when you actually finish something and this can give you additional motivation to continue working on the more difficult tasks.