On Overcoming Procrastination

There’s so much you want to get done.
Phone calls to make, books to read, businesses to start.
Yet you can’t seem to get moving.
You simply don’t have the motivation.

Sound familiar? I know it does for me.

Fortunately, there are many strategies we can use to get motivated and get to work.
I’ve used these tactics myself, and they’ve helped me tremendously.

Let’s take a look at a few.

The Motivation Myth

One of the biggest motivation mistakes we make is placing too much importance on motivation in the first place.
We’re always waiting for that perfect mood to strike before we start a task.

But that feeling never comes.
We end up putting the job off until the last minute.
Until there’s a fear of failure or confrontation pushing us to finish.

Successful people aren’t necessarily more motivated than you…
They just understand how motivation works!

Action vs. Thinking

You can sit there and pump yourself up all day, but mental states are fleeting.
That’s why it’s important to supplement them with action.

Stop waiting for motivation to strike.

Take action. Get started.

You’ll often notice that once you begin, you quickly pick up momentum.
You realize the task wasn’t as difficult as you thought, and now you’re on a roll.

In this case, starting the job fueled your motivation…
Not the other way around!

But we can be stubborn creatures.
We know we should just start, but we don’t want to.
Lucky for us, there are many different ways to encourage yourself to start whatever task you’re facing.

Avoid “All or Nothing” Thinking

We tend to see most tasks as an all or nothing endeavor.

We look at the sink piled up with dishes and think
“There’s no way I’m doing ALL of those. It would take forever”.

Next time you’re having trouble starting a task, tell yourself, “I don’t have to do the whole thing right now. Let’s just do a little”.

Of course, once you’ve already started, you’ll often find the motivation to keep going and finish.
And even if you don’t, at least the job is a little more manageable when you come back to it later.

Stop Beating Yourself Up

We need to  do that, we should do this, we’d better get that done.
These are the types of things we say – either mentally or verbally – when we want to motivate ourselves (or others).

But there’s a problem with this line of thinking.

If you’re feeling unmotivated but you keep telling yourself, “I need to do this, I need to do this”, you start to feel terrible when you don’t do it.
“I should do this, but I can’t. What’s wrong with me?”

Changing the way we look at these situations is one of the foundations of cognitive behavioral therapy.
It’s a powerful and scientifically proven way to treat many of the mindset problems people face.

Next time you need to get something done, don’t think about what you should do.
Frame it differently.

Replace “I need to clean the house, because it’s such a mess and people will think I’m a slob” with “I want to clean the house, because I’ll have a sense of accomplishment, I’ll be more comfortable, and I can have friends over”.

Make a List

You can supplement this thought exercise with a little action.

Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.
Label the left column “advantages” and the right “disadvantages”.

Now start listing the advantages and disadvantages of doing something.
If you want to apply for a new job, disadvantages would be things like “It’s a lot of work” or “I’d rather play video games instead”.
Advantages might be: making (more) money, advancing in your career, a sense of accomplishment, relieving stress, supporting your family, more job satisfaction, making your parents proud, etc.

You’ll quickly notice that the list of advantages is almost always much longer.
And the disadvantages are usually a little silly when you see them written out.
Sure, playing Clash of Clans might be more fun than job applications and interviews, but it doesn’t have nearly as many benefits.
And you’ll realize that when you write it out.

Change the Way You Think

Solving your problems can be as simple as changing the way you approach them.
Try using these mental tactics in your daily life, and follow them with a big dose of action.

You’ll be surprised how effective it is.

Posted 3 years ago on 17 May 2021

About Parker

Parker Benjamin is the owner of DMAD and has been writing for the web for over 10 years. He is passionate about design, Wordpress, travel, language learning, fine dining, and online marketing. Note: Some links on this site are monetized by affiliate programs - see disclosure for more details.

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