Why Do I Procrastinate So Much?

I had to laugh at myself at how much I procrastinated writing this post.

Why do I always procrastinateI imagine I’m not the only one who finds themselves regularly procrastinating.

So I wanted to share some of the tips and strategies I learned from, Solving The Procrastination Puzzle by Timothy A. Pychyl.  

Pychyl has been researching and writing about procrastination for 20 years and distills the absolute best ideas in this great little book.

Why do we fail to act when it is in our best interest to act?

Answering that puzzling question is, what the book is all about.

Just Get Started vs Just Do It

Don't let procrastination stop you“Let go of the misconceptions that your motivational state must match the task at hand.”

You don’t need to FEEL like doing it to do it.

Nike tells us to “Just Do It!”

That sounds like it will work, but it actually CAUSES procrastination.

Huh?!?

If you think you have to “just do it” – your brain thinks you have to finish the task or project so you put off starting it.

Trick Your Brain

You can trick your brain by telling yourself all you need to do is just get started!

Then when you get started, you create momentum and in all likelihood WANT TO KEEP GOING.

Just get startedI do this all the time to get myself to the gym…

I tell myself just go there and do 10 minutes on the treadmill.

I always end up doing more!

Then you feel good, because you are getting something done…

Why do I procrastinate all the timeAnd you WANT to keep going.

Just like when you do mediation – if your mind wanders, you just bring it back.

The Desire To Feel Good

One of the greatest pitfalls of procrastination Pychyl comes back to throughout the book is our desire to feel good right now.

Because of this, most of us avoid the pain you anticipate you’ll feel having to get something done.  

You distract yourself with something that brings immediate gratification like looking at your friends on FB.

Instead try just getting started — you’ll actually feel much better because of it!

Decide In Advance

The next step – have a strategy in place to deal with all the inevitable distractions and disruptions that challenge you getting things done.

To preserve your limited willpower, you will need to make a pre-decision or pre-commitment in advance of what you will do when you are distracted.

IF … THEN

Why do I procrastinate important thingsIf that happens…then I will do this…

IF you say to yourself, “I think I’ll check my email/Facebook/Twitter/whatever and do this later”

THEN instead you just get started.

Have clear intentions and pre-commitments of a course of action.

PREDECIDE

It’s all about IF … THEN.

It’s OK – you may need to “Just get started!!” many times throughout any given day.

IF you find your attention wandering, THEN just bring it back… 

Again and again.Why do I procrastinate important things

Odysseus And The Sirens

Remember the story of Odysseus and the Sirens?

Odysseus had his crew tie him to the mast, so he would not be tempted by the Siren’s song.

Odysseus per-committed in advance to avoid temptation!

It Will Only Take One Minute

We all believe the myth, “this will only take a minute…”

“I’m just going to check my email for a minute or FB.”

It’s a slippery slope.

You hop on to check your email and hours later you realize your day is gone.  

How many times have you experienced that?!?

One minute can end up taking hours.

Time Saving Tip

If a task or project will take less than 2 minutes – just do it.

But…

IF you’re working on something and feel called to do something for “only a minute”, THEN ignore it and continue doing what you are doing.

WARNING: Random web surfing is hazardous to your health! Smart people spend lots of time and money trying to grab (and destroy) your attention.

Try turning off your email or FB notifications.

Multitasking Is A Myth

The ability to multitask is a myth.

“Multitasking doesn’t save time — it wastes time.”  ~Gary Keller who wrote The One Thing.

Why do I procrastinate important thingsResearchers have proven:

Texting while driving is 6X as dangerous as driving while being intoxicated.

The myth of multitasking is also true in your personal life.

The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is your full attention.

Turn off your phone and try being present.

Expect To Stumble

We all face setbacks, disappointing moments, and frustrations from our lack of progress.

It’s your attitude toward your setbacks that’s important.

leaping forward Be willing to forgive yourself when you do not live up to your own expectations.

No one is perfect.

Expect to take 2 steps backwards, before you can take the leap forward.

Self Forgiveness Gets Stuff Done

High levels of self forgiveness correlate with less procrastination and high levels of getting stuff done.

All you need to do is just keep showing up again and again.

High Standards And Self Compassion

Need help holding yourself to high standards with high levels of self-compassion to finally figure out your procrastination puzzle?

If you are struggling with setting up a strategy to move yourself forward I offer a complimentary clarity session to help you get clear.

Click on the graphic below to set that up.

Clarity Session with Wendy Lynne, Life Coach