Advertising

Motovational Tips For Procrastinators

Advertising
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

Advertising

Reference

More by this author

Tammy Sons

Master Gardener, Horticulurist, Arborist

How To Go Off the Grid And Escape City Life There’s No Such Thing as Unconditional Love. You Either Love Someone or You Don’t To Really Overcome Grief, You Have to Experience These 5 Stages Supercharge Brain Health With These Foods Anxiety and Depression Are Linked To Chemical Brain Imbalances

Trending in Brain

1 How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly 2 11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind 3 4 Ways to Develop a Flexible Mindset 4 What Is Creative Thinking and Why Is It Important? 5 How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Advertising
How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

Advertising

After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

Advertising

Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

Advertising

Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

Advertising

Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

Read Next