Nearly everyone I ever talk to about this complains in some way, or other, of procrastinating. It’s almost as if it is a global epidemic. It’s a wonder that anything gets done at all with all of these people putting things off.
Let’s start with the definition of procrastination. It is the period of time between an intention and an action. The longer this is then I suppose the more of a procrastinator you are. But what’s the problem with this? Obviously this depends on what you’re putting off and how often you do it. As long as it is harmless household chores that you put off doing before finally getting round to doing them later, then who cares, but if you can’t be bothered to go to work then this could be a bit more of a problem.
Procrastination in a way is systematic of the society that we live in. There are so many deadlines in all that we do. It’s something that is drilled into us once again at school. You must finish this by then, so you have to start it by then. Only nerds will do as they’re told so everyone experiences this trait at an early age. The system brings out the evil head of procrastination in all of us, even if we naturally have quite low levels of it.
Creativity sometimes thrives when things are left to the last minute, and the added pressure of completing something after a period of terrible procrastination has created some of the greatest inventions of our time.
Some people are naturally lazier than others, but is this really procrastination either? Laziness in itself is not a problem, and procrastinating implies more of a deliberate attempt to put off a task. We must also not confuse procrastination with depression; an illness which causes a lack of energy and motivation.
The best way to end a bout of procrastination is to turn up your level of motivation, the arch-nemesis of the Doctor Evil Procrastinator. Motivation is that feeling you have when you are full of energy. You ignore all obstacles and concentrate on how good it is going to feel when you have completed the task at hand. The good news is that we can all feel motivated any time we want to by thinking of a time when in the past we were completely motivated. As the unconscious mind, which is the driver of how we feel, does not differentiate between reality and memory, in order to fire off a particular way of feeling is easy.
You can also use an anchor to store this way of feeling so that when you need it again it is easily accessible. Choose a trigger, like touching two fingers together for example, every time that your feelings of motivation are at their highest. That way a link is created in your neurology that means that you can access it again immediately. The more you do this the more the link is strengthened.
So, most of us procrastinate in some way, but remember how to defeat it and think of all those wonderful things that you can now go ahead and complete. And remember, by calling yourself a procrastinator it probably means you are.
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