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Motovational Tips For Procrastinators

Motovational Tips For Procrastinators

Procrastination is a problem for millions of people. Whether you are putting off doing some work that you do not enjoy or staring at that pile of laundry that just continues to grow, there are ways for you to break out of procrastination mode and into action. Here are some motivational tips for procrastinators that will set you on the path to productivity.

Make a List

It’s a simple idea, but making a list will help you increase your productivity. Famed speaker and personal development pioneer Zig Ziglar once said, “Goals enable you to do more for yourself and others, too.” When you think about it, that’s all a list is: the goals you want to accomplish in a given period of time. If you feel like you always make lists but never complete them, then try making a list of the simplest things you do every day. Have you taken your morning shower? Cross it off the list. Did you brush your teeth? Good. Check that one off, too. Seeing that you have completed even the smallest, most routine activities will give you a feeling of accomplishment and set you up for further success with more difficult tasks.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Put Off Daily Lists

Once you have mastered the art of making lists, the next challenge is regularly completing them. We all know that unexpected demands on our time tend to pop up at the worst possible moments. Staying current with your daily to-do list will help you be better prepared to handled such situations. If you suddenly find out at the last minute that your boss has requested a meeting with you that is expected to consume the entire last hour of the work day, you will be much less stressed if all of your daily reports have already been completed and filed. Walking into an end-of-day meeting with the manager is much easier to do when you know you don’t have to rush back to your desk and finish the rest of your work before you leave.

Devise a Realistic Plan

One reason that some procrastinators are not productive is that they tend to overwhelm themselves with ambitious plans that immediately set them up for failure.[1] Establishing a course of action is important when you are trying to get more done, but it is critical that you be honest with yourself about what you will be able to accomplish. You can definitely paint the family room, wash the car, do all the laundry, and make your daughter’s Halloween costume. You just can’t do all of that in one day. It is understandable that you might feel guilty for having let so many chores remain undone, but you will get more completed in the long run by giving yourself permission to take things one step at a time.

Make the Clock Your Friend

People tend to think that productivity only occurs when someone spends long hours on competing a chore, but small spurts of accomplishment can lead to great success. If you are struggling with procrastination, try setting a timer for a small amount of time such as 15 minutes. Spend that 15 minutes focusing on completing one task or even a few very small ones. Doing this will almost make being productive fun. It’s like a game for yourself. After you have completed one of these 15-minute sprints, you very likely will want to challenge yourself to see if you can do more the next time. You may even try reducing the amount of time to really see what you can do. Not only does this help you be more productive overall, it can give you that same sense of accomplishment you felt when showered and brushed your teeth earlier.

Figure Out Why You Tend to Procrastinate

It is easy to say that procrastination stems from pure laziness. While that may be true for some people, it is not uncommon for a lack of productivity to be a symptom of a much deeper issue. What if I try to accomplish a goal but don’t quite make it? What will everyone think? How will I pick up the pieces and try again after such a setback? These are all questions that people tend to ask when they are talking themselves out of doing something. Some believe that this fear of failure is rooted in the ancient parts of our brain. The instinct that kept our prehistoric ancestors from taking dangerous risks and therefore kept them alive is the same one than tends to hold us back from trying things that may not work. If you are saddled with a fear of failure, it is critical that you recognize it, acknowledge it, and take steps to defeat it. As pioneering businessman, Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”[2]

The reasons that people procrastinate are varied, and there is surely no shortage of things to avoid doing. But there are ways to combat procrastination and move forward. If you find yourself lacking motivation or simply do not know where to start, try some of these tips and remember to congratulate yourself for all of your accomplishments.

Featured photo credit: Sander Smeekes via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

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