Would you like to cure your procrastination?
Would you answer this by saying, “Naw Doug, I’ll do it later!”
If so, you are a committed procrastinator!
I’m going to assume you’d like to cure your procrastination, which is why you are reading this.
Our last blog, What Causes You to Procrastinate?, shared why you procrastinate: to relieve stress, and Step One in overcoming procrastination - begin forgiving yourself.
Today we bore into Steps 2 and 3
Since I know you hate to procrastinate, let’s get started with….
What Would the Future You Do?
Psychology professor, Timothy Pychyl, at Carleton University, (mentioned in our previous blog) has studied procrastination for more than 19 years. Dr. Pychyl’s team researches your “present self” versus your “future self.”
Your “future self” is the person you want to become. Research proves when you picture the “Future You,” you gain objectivity to push yourself into the present moment. In experiments when researchers show people their own pictures digitally aged, they’re more likely to save for retirement.
This is why vision boards work.
You envision the Future You!
It’s a great coping mechanism for the stress you experience today as the Present You.
Step 2 is to create a vision board or a mental image of what your life looks like when this current stress is behind you. You are where you wish to be. The moment you feel yourself procrastinating, just ask yourself, “What would ‘Future You’ do?”
Step 3. Get Started (The 5-Second Rule)
You understand the source of procrastination, right?
Dr. Pychyl’s favorite advice is, “Just get started.”
One of the most powerful ways to create new habits, according to researchers, is to “create a starting ritual.” There’s no better-starting ritual than the 5-Second Rule. Once you understand the science of all this, it explains why “just get started” works.
If procrastinating is a habit, you have to replace the bad behavior pattern (avoidance) with a new positive one (getting started).
The moment you feel yourself hesitate, doing easier tasks, or avoiding hard work, use the Rule, 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 to push yourself to start the important thing you need to do. See The 5-Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. We’ll share more on The 5 Second Rule in a future blog.
Getting started takes us to the concept of a “locus of control.”
Procrastination makes you feel like you have no control over yourself. When you assert yourself and get started, you take control of the moment and your life.
The 5 Second Rule or “Just Do It”
In The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage Mel Robbins explains, exerting effort with 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 switches the gears in your mind and allows the prefrontal cortex to help you get started.
Each time you use the Rule, it gets easier and easier to stop procrastinating and just start.
On top of that, once you start a project, you’ll have triggered a mechanism in your brain to cue you to keep at it. Researchers find the brain remembers unfinished tasks better than finished ones. Once you start, your mind keeps nudging you to finish.
Whatever you are doing to procrastinate, hitting the snooze button 5x before getting up, having a piece of chocolate cake instead of exercising, it’s giving you momentary relief from the larger stresses in your life.
Learn and effectively use the 5 Second Rule to beat procrastination: use it to make yourself start. (Or just “Do It!”)
Start small. Attack what you avoid for just 15 minutes at a time.
Then, take a break. Give yourself a break from blowing things off until now. You’re only human. (RULE #1 FORGIVE YOURSELF)
You eat the elephant (in the room) one bite at a time.
What I enjoyed/learned most from Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage is to beat the feelings that trigger your bad habits and push yourself to just get started, if not you’ll never change.
You’ll either find a way or you’ll find an excuse.
Just do it! Or use The 5 Second Rule. 5- 4- 3- 2- 1!
Growth demands Strategic Discipline.
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The Discipline of Perception – Next Blog
Imagine: Your twenty-five, a group of investors offer to invest approximately $500,000 at your direction if he could find the right oil wells in which to deploy the money. You set out to tour nearby oil fields. A few days later, you shock your investors by returning empty-handed, not having spent or invested a dollar of the funds. You don’t feel the opportunity is right, no matter how excited the rest of the market is. You refund the money and stay away from drilling. Who is this 25-year-old, and what should it teach us about the Discipline of Perception? That’s the next blog.