M4S 105: How to Get Over Procrastination and Get Things Done
Do you have a list of things to do but you’re sitting there watching YouTube (or reading this blog) eating a snack? Do you put things off – sometimes until it’s too late? Would you like to know how to get over procrastination and finally get things done?
What is Procrastination?
To understand how to get over procrastination, we have to understand what it is.
We all often put off doing something even though we know we should be getting it done. In other words, we procrastinate.
It could be long-delayed. It could be something we truly intend to do but we never get to it. Think of New Year’s resolutions. On January 1st or January 2nd, I might say, “I’m going to go start working out again.” And in February, we’re not working out anymore, so we say, “I might go do this, or I might go paint the house.” Whatever the case may be, whatever our goal is, we find reasons not to do things.
We oftentimes procrastinate because something seems difficult in our subconscious. It may not seem difficult to us as we’re thinking like, “Oh, that’s not going to be hard,” but subconsciously, our mind doesn’t want to deal with it. Our mind feels insecure.
Don’t think that every time you’re waiting to do something, you are procrastinating. If you are intentional about it, there’s a reason you are putting off the task. If you are delaying because you’re waiting on more relevant information or more information that really is part of your decision-making process, then maybe you aren’t procrastinating. Maybe you’re trying to develop that situation.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
For example, let’s say you’re trimming a tree for the first time. You’re uncomfortable because you’ve never done it before. It’s easier to get sucked into doing something else because trimming the tree makes you nervous. Are you using a chainsaw for the first time? Are you going to be up on a ladder? What are you doing? That uncertainty comes in. That’s an uncomfortable feeling.
That’s why mindset is so important because when it’s uncomfortable, and you start investigating it within yourself, you can, a lot of times, find out what your hang-up is: why are you not doing that. Is it just a matter of being fearful or a matter of not knowing what you’re doing? Well, maybe you could fix that. Maybe you can ask for some help or advice, whatever it is. You can find a way to get around that.
Many times procrastinating feels good in the moment, which is called delay relief. You don’t do something that feels uncomfortable, so you feel relief in not doing it … for now. Our minds lock in on the good feeling we get in delaying the task, and that good feeling sets up a positive reinforcement loop in our brains to not do it.
Your brain takes it in as, “When I procrastinate, I feel good because I avoided the thing that makes me feel bad (which is the thing I need to get done).” However, later, we feel bad because we didn’t get it done, so what do we tell ourselves is, “I’ll get to it tomorrow, next week, when the weather’s better, pick-another-reason” etc.
How to Get Over Procrastination
Think about something that you need or want to do. What is it?
- Understand that procrastination is in your mind. Oftentimes, avoiding something because of our unfamiliarity with it.
- Create a plan
- Make the project/task manageable by biting it off in chunks (milestones)
- Just do it. Get started. We often don’t start because we don’t know where to. Remember to create a starting point/step in your plan, and do it.
- Make your environment conducive to completing your task.
- Have others hold you accountable. Tell your family, friends, etc., you will have “X” done by this date, and tell them to bust your balls if you don’t. Basically, ask them to help you hold yourself accountable.
- Celebrate reaching your milestones, your accomplishment.
- When you catch yourself procrastinating along the way, refer to step one and remind yourself that you are procrastinating because your subconscious is holding you back (your emotional mind) and that you need for your rational mind to kick in a little harder so you can get things done.
It’s about becoming more self-reliant. For example, building composting bins will allow me to make sure what goes on my food is good and healthy, not harmful to me and others who eat what I grow. While that may not be a big deal to some, it is to me. So we each should seek out something productive towards our preparedness and do it. What’s the worst that may happen? You find out a way NOT to do something?
The Bottom Line on How to Get Over Procrastination
The act of coming up with what you are doing through planning, the execution phase, and assessing whether you can do better is a part of the problem-solving process.
At the same time, doing productive stuff helps reduce stress, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and is something to be both proud of and grateful for. So, get busy doing something. As Ben Franklin said, “You may delay, but time will not.”
Stay safe, secure, and prepared,
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