Procrastination is in a human’s biological makeup. Thanks to our limbic system, the neurological powerhouse that controls our emotions and memory, we are inclined to feel before we think. To avoid experiencing negative feelings, we keep away from tasks that may overwhelm or inconvenience us.
Because we are inclined to seek and enjoy pleasure first, we tend to give in to things that make us happy instantly. It is so instant that we don’t see a point in neglecting ourselves. But it blinds us from viewing the consequences due to procrastination — more than 3 hours go missing every single day, and about 55 days — almost 2 months are lost every year.
It All Comes down to Our Emotions
The essential way to overcome procrastination is by regulating these emotions. When obligations are dreadful, they drag our feet to complete them. Most people tend to confuse work with emotional suffering because the task at hand may appear to be complicated or difficult; which can cause anxiety or despair.
The more complicated or challenging the work may be, the more challenge-averse we become. All of these negative feelings and reservations add up, making people avoid the tasks altogether to keep from experiencing suffering or negativity.
Adjust the Task and Your Mood Will Change
Difficult or complicated tasks tend to easily overwhelm people, causing them to lose interest in the project and faith in themselves. The key is to make these tasks more manageable.
How do you do this? By breaking them up into smaller, digestible elements that will eventually add up to complete the big picture. This way, a lot of the strain is lifted, and you can find a little more enjoyment in your work.
Before breaking down the tasks, as a whole they appear to be time consuming and challenging. Small, manageable parts you can take action on immediately. The smaller the tasks, the easier you will find them to manage. So it’s good to break down your tasks into elements that will only take you 45 minutes or less to complete.
Keep the big picture in mind, but keep your workload light and only focus on one small task at a time. When you commit your attention to one element at a time, you are gradually making your way towards the larger goal.
Since we are inclined to seek out things that bring us pleasure, small rewards can go a long way to help to satisfy our need for pleasure and positivity. Rewards give you small goals to work towards, which will help to keep you motivated. Even if you aren’t able to physically reward yourself, still celebrate the progress you’ve made along the way.
Celebrate the completion of each small step to encourage morale. Keep up momentum throughout the entire project, and tiny celebrations will help you to do just that. Expecting to see results of the task at hand immediately is unrealistic. Accomplishments are measured by the differences you have made along the way, not the end result.
Imagine holding an event at work. You must find a venue, caterer, and entertainment. You also need to come up with a theme, and decorate the venue and table settings. This is a huge project. Break it down into smaller parts. For example, maybe focus on deciding on a theme first. When you’ve completed that, give yourself a small break as a reward before moving on to the next part. One thing at a time and reward yourself to stay motivated. Then the big project will not overwhelm you.
What if no matter how small the task is, it’s still dreadful? No job is perfect. You will always at some point find yourself faced with tedious and uninteresting tasks that you must complete. Sometimes you just need to suck it up and push through. To stay motivated, plan to complete positive tasks along with the negative ones. This will regulate your emotions, and ensure that you don’t only do the things that you “feel like” doing. Always remember to keep your eye on the big picture, which will give meaning to all of your tasks (even the tedious ones).
When you alter your attitude towards your obligations, it will make the tasks seem less tedious. It takes a lot of practice and reinforcement, but eventually it will change your work ethic. Refer to these tips to help you beat procrastination every time!