A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at one point or another. For as long as humans have been around, we have struggled with delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us.
During our more productive moments, when we temporarily figure out how to stop procrastinating, we feel satisfied and accomplished.
Want to know how to make those rare moments of productivity more routine?
To know how to change Procrastinating first we need to understand it.
What is Procrastination?
In Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.
Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else.
The modern definition is: Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.
Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.
The best way to understand this is by imagining that you have two selves: your Present Self and your Future Self. When you set goals for yourself — like losing weight — you are actually making plans for your Future Self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future.
Researchers have found that when you think about your Future Self, it is quite easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits. The Future Self values long-term rewards... The thing is only the Present Self can take action.
When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self.
This is the reason why you might go to sleep feeling motivated to make a change in your life, but when you wake up you find yourself falling back into old patterns. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future (tomorrow), but it values immediate gratification when it comes to the present moment (today).
SO, HOW CAN WE CHANGE IT?
1: Make the Rewards of Taking Action More Immediate
If you can find a way to make the benefits of long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination.
2: Make the Consequences of Procrastination More Immediate
If you commit to working out with a friend at 7 a.m. next Monday, then the cost of skipping your workout becomes more immediate. Miss this one workout and you look like a jerk.
3: Design Your Future Actions
One of the favorite tools psychologists use to overcome procrastination is called a “commitment device.” Commitment devices can help you stop procrastinating by designing your future actions ahead of time.
Make a schedule for a week before or even plan for you all month then you do not have "Empty time".
4: Make your Task More Achievable
Making your tasks more achievable is important for two reasons.
Small measures of progress help to maintain momentum over the long run, which means you’re more likely to finish large tasks.
The faster you complete a productive task, the more quickly your day develops an attitude of productivity and effectiveness.
The most important thing is to be consistent and start with your daily routine.
One reason it is so easy to slip back into procrastination time after time is that we don’t have a clear system for deciding what is important and what we should work on first.
Let me give you a few Tips on how to make sure your daily routine will be productive in the long run:
At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
The day after, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
Approach the rest of your list in the same way. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day. It's ok if you didn't finish at all on the same day, just keep working.
Repeat this process every working day.
I found that those 5 rules work for me so effectively, and what?
It forces me to make tough decisions, removes the friction of starting, and it requires me to single-task every time.
So, for me, it's systematic every day.
I hope you found this short guide on procrastination useful. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to stop procrastinating and take action, contact me for spiritual consulting.