Sunday, October 25, 2020

How to stop procrastination taking control

 


Procrastination is a motherfucka

Procrastination is simply a mechanism we all use to swerve doing something that we particularly don't want to do.  It's not always a bad thing either, but sometimes it can very harmful.  

There are different types of procrastinator and many of them can come from our unconscious drivers based on:

Our Genes 

Although procrastination isn't genetically passed down from our parents, our Central Nervous System (CNS) does effect decision making based on our safety and survival.  The sympathetic nervous system is the autonomic part of the brain that reacts to danger.   You may have heard of 'flight or flee', well in terms of modern procrastination or 'danger', it can be described as 'skive to survive'. 

The 'avoider' - will tend to do exactly that, avoid 'danger'.  Avoiders will stay away from confrontation, pain looking silly and an uncertain outcome.


The 'freezer' - will not necessary 'actively' avoid a given task, their natural response is just to stop, stand still and take no action.  Think of a deer in headlights.


Unmotivated - Individuals that are not INtrinsically motivated (based on experiences and environment) just won't do it.  They need to be EXtriniscally motivated, until that happens unmotivated people can be coined as lazy or idle.


Life Experiences 

The Rebel

Imagine being repeatedly told you or must do 'this or that' from a person of influence.  Over a long period of time, the inner rebel will stick their fingers up and completely avoid the circumstance.  Now, at those veggies, or else!

Conversely, if someone's repeatedly been told 'no' or, 'you can't do...' over a long time, that's going to damage someone's self esteem.  The individual won't have the belief or capability in themselves to achieve something and will tend to wait until they're given permission or told to do something.


The Perfectionist

Will wait and wait and wait until the time is right.  Perfectionism is another away of avoiding pain/disappointment/rejection.  Things are always changing and evolving, so something is never going to be perfect, or if it is, it's only for a short period of time, so why wait.


Arousal or Thrill Seekers 

Are actually procrastinators.  They have to wait until the very last moment to get something done and will get a kick from waiting to until the stress/pressure is so much before participating.   The dopamine hit that comes from the excitement becomes and addictive and has a link to drug, gambling and sex addiction.

Context

Addicts - Are people who are too busy doing something that they're already addicted to, to do the said thing they need to do.  It could come in the form of gaming, social media-ing or socialising etc.  They're  just busy doing other stuff that's more important.


Equalisers - Are people that just don't know how to prioritise, so they spend all of their time jumping from one thing to the next and never quite accomplishing the main 'thing'.


Will Power 


Procrastination tends to come with the stigma of being lazy, as nothing productive is happening.  However  that's just a myth, as everyone has 'will power'.  If you didn't have will power, you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.   

Below the illustrations demonstrates how temptation actually has an impact on procrastination:  




The main problem that comes from procrastination is stress and over long period of time, can have a massive impact on our:
  • Emotions
  • Work
  • Productivity 
  • Relationships
  • Gut health 
  • Physical well being 
...and ultimately getting anything done and missing out on opportunities.

Happy hormones = Happy habits!


Dopamine (our happy hormone) makes us feel good and when connect with a new habit, will make us more likely to adhere to it.   The more we can associate dopamine strategies with tasks, the more faster and more likely we are to get them done.


Visualise 

Visualising has repeatedly been proven by high performers to be successful tool for achieving desired outcomes.  When visualising aim to make the image as vivid as possible.  Include sounds, smells and sensations as much as possible and obviously, visualise having accomplished said task.  


Gamify 

The reason why gaming is so addictive is because of the dopamine hit from achieving the next level, beating the boss, collecting points etc keep us going.  Think about how you can gamify your take to make it more fun and what will be your 'reward'?

Look on the bright side 

Look, no-one likes doing shit they don't want to do, but hey, it could be a lot worse. Going to the gym sucks, but it's only an hour and once it's done and out of the way and you can crack on with the rest of the day and as an extra bonus, you're one step closer to your health goal.

Love/hate bundle 

If you really do hate going to the gym, mix it with something you do like.  For example, the only opportunity you may have to listen to thrash metal, might be when you've got a set of head phones in and by yourself (understandibly).   Take training in the gym, listening to your tunes as that opportunity.

Lists 

Break down the task you're putting off into some achievable chunks and write them down.  With that list, complete each 'little job' one-by-one.  Each tick is a small win and even the little wins release dopamine.

Contextual strategies 

Change your environment to give yourself a boot up the butt.

Quality of social environment

Have a look at the people around you, are they helping, or hindering you? 

Team up 

Join like minded people who are also experiencing difficulty.  There's no great bond than teamwork and sharing the struggle together.

Take away temptation 

It goes without saying, if you didn't have biscuits in the biscuit tin, you can't them.   Get rid of the biscuits, or don't buy them in the first place, If need-be, avoid the biscuit shop.  Catch my drift?

Buddy up/find an expert 

If you don't where to start and that's holding you back, find an expert who knows how to do what you don't.  Maybe you just need accountability, a coach or mentor in that particular field can help with that and keep you on track.

Bore yourself into doing the task

Hate the gym do ya?  Well how's taking the missus shopping?  Nuf said, now get your arse down the gym!

Brain hacks 

Sometimes it just takes a bit of neuro re-wiring to get started.  Instead of saying "I've got to go to the gym", change it to "I get to go the gym".  Reframe your language and avoid 'lame-cop out' words like:
  • Try 
  • Can't
  • Hopefully 
  • Maybe 
  • But (unless used after a negative ie "I hate training, but at least it keeps me fit")
  • Attempt 
  • I'm busy 


Focus no the big picture

Yes it may all suck now but, when you're on holiday having a great time with your top off, drinking cocktails by the pool, then it'll all be worth it.

Just let it happen.  

Other times you may need to chill and let things happen when you're relaxed.  Ultimately we all procrastinate, but if it's dragging out too long and it's causing stress, then we need to address it.

Keep it real folks 

Phil 


If you've been putting off gym and need some accountability for your weight loss, stop procrastinating, get in touch and let's get amongst it!

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