Procrastination is sneaky. By combining the use of a bullet journal with healthy habits, I thought I’d conquered that particular lifelong bad habit.
Not so. For the past few weeks I’ve dithered on several projects. Why? Finally it occurred to me that I’d dropped a good habit, because I forgot to do it, every day.
Procrastination is your brain’s fault
This article,Why Do People Procrastinate? A New Study Suggests It’s A Lot To Do With Your Brain, discusses recent scientific research. It discusses the amygdala as well as another area of the brain:
”Individuals with a larger amygdala may be more anxious about the negative consequences of an action — they tend to hesitate and put off things.” And a poorer connection between the amygdala and the DACC results in individuals being “less able to filter out interfering emotions and distractions.”
If you’re a procrastinator too, the article’s worth reading.
Let’s look at some tips to overcome procrastination. I’ve gone back to using all three tips. (They work.)
1. Meditate to take charge of your mind and life
Meditation’s been part of my life for many years, because I know how useful it is. A combination of circumstances meant that I’d let my practice slide.
This articled reminded me of how much I need it. From One Trick to Beat Procrastination Forever:
Every time you catch yourself with a wandering mind is a chance to practice awareness of your thoughts.
That’s a skill that you can use outside of your meditation session. So next time you’re procrastinating ask yourself, “What are you so afraid of?”
Yes. I meditated yesterday and today, and I’ve finally got moving on a couple of tasks.
2. Avoid obsession: it doesn’t need to be perfect (it just needs to be done)
While thinking about why I procrastinated, it suddenly occurred to me that I’d fallen into a familiar pattern… the need to do something as well as I possible can.
Unfortunately, it’s guaranteed that if you commit to doing tasks perfectly, even trivial tasks loom large. It’s easier to put them off, because they need so much energy.
So, I’ve committed to ACTION; getting it done, whether or not it’s done perfectly, or even done well.
3. Keep a running task list
The proverb, “For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the man was lost”, is many centuries old.
I’ve returned to maintaining a running task list for all those “horseshoe nail” tasks. These are those tasks which while small, have the potential to cause havoc.
My criteria for adding a task to the running list:
- The task is short; it will take fewer than 20 minutes to complete;
- Or: the task will take hours — it’s a project, rather than a single task. If I decide that a task is really a project, I schedule a planning session for it immediately.
Procrastination: when you think you’ve beaten it, it returns
Yes, procrastination is sneaky. However, it’s also a good measuring stick. When you realize that you’re procrastinating, it’s a chance to assess what’s going on in your life.
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