How to Overcome Procrastination

If you’re reading this, it is because you want something else in life. You want more wealth or more fitness or a better social life. You want things that you do not have. You might be sitting in a cube right now and thinking “there must be more to life than this, right?”

What prevents you from achieving the goals you have set for yourself is discipline. You do not do enough of the things that yield results. I know I have often thought that if there was one thing in my life that I could have, it would be that: more discipline. If I could change myself to be less… I’ll describe it as “human” and more “robotic”… then I would be able to set a good goal and work towards it. When I set that goal, I could then start working on achieving that goal, having discipline. Also, having discipline, I would work on it until it is achieved. That isn’t what it is like to be human.

Being human means that we have to deal with the emotions of “I don’t want to” or “I want to do something else.”

How do you overcome the conflict between what you want to do and what you should do. It isn’t easy, but it is straightforward. On the other hand, sometimes it is complicated, but it isn’t hard. Keep reading, and you will understand.

The answer is to keep reinventing the way that you approach your procrastination or your lack of discipline or your need for variety or your need for the lack of variety. You keep throwing yourself at the problem, because, then, you learn more about how you work and about what it is that you can do to address your problem.

So, what you do is that you have to find out how to manage your own emotions. You have to find out what makes you choose between the short-term and the long-term. I don’t mean some kind of book learning or theoretical learning. I mean what is the underlying deep cause of why you like to do the emotional things. Here are some examples to jog your mind.

Do you choose to do things that are routine?

Do you choose to do things at random?

Is there an emotion that you most often pursue?

In my own case, I found that I had a difficult time sitting down to blog. I have a lot of ideas. I wanted to do it. I enjoy it a lot when I’m doing it. I love writing. However, the sitting down part is difficult. Nothing special here, right? That’s just every normal human.

So, what I did was that I started to look at the things that I do in life. I cleaned my house, I went for a walk, I paid bills, I would work on my books, I would play video games, I would exercise, I would call my mother, I would pray, and so on.

I also found that when I got into an activity, such as writing, or dancing, or playing video games, that I would tend to stay in that activity. I also found that I became less productive at whatever I was doing the longer that I did it. So, sit me down in front of a television with a show I want to watch, and I’ll watch the show in entirety. That’s not productive. However, sit me down in front of the computer and let me start writing, and I will write. That is productive. The question is, how do I get more of the productive activities, and how do I prevent the unproductive activities from taking too much time and reducing my motivation for other things?

What I did to address this was to get a computer timer. It is actually called “Free Timer” but I have no association with the software, nor am I recommending it. I would set the timer for 10 minutes and pick a song that I found relaxing that would play at the end of the timer.

All of the sudden, I was able to take my need for methodical behavior and add randomness to it. I would clean my house for approximately 10 minutes and then I would go exercise for 10 minutes. Then I would go video game. Then I would pay bills. Then I would call my mother. Then I would go out for a short walk. Then I would write 10 minutes on my blog. Then I would watch 10 minutes of a show I wanted to watch. Then I would prepare food for my lunch at work tomorrow.

Not only was I not getting bored and not having trouble starting a task, but I was also learning to not procrastinate, because I was always starting a new task. How often do I use this? A lot. It is a “reset” for me. When I get off track, I “reset.”

So, this is a “gimmick” if you want to consider it, which means that it might not work for you if your mind works differently. However, you should consider giving it a try. It will teach you a lot about your own mind and how you motivate yourself and how you prioritize your own tasks. But, most of all, it will make it so that you create a pattern in your own mind where you can start tasks that you do not want to. When your mind finds that it is not painful to start a task, then it will apply that to other tasks, because you will already be active.

When I use this technique, I always aim to do what I want to do, but I choose something that is easy. So, if I want to work on a difficult section of one of my books, I aim to use this technique, and then I, for the first 10 minutes, go do something easier such as go clean my house. Then I play video games for 10 minutes. Then I read my book, because I’m already moving and having no trouble starting and doing something for 10 minutes.

What happens? When I’ve gotten into an activity that I am enjoying, I find that I don’t want to stop. That actually creates a second emotion in the mind. That emotion is the desire to continue. I find that after I have gone 10 minutes writing a blog entry, and have to stop in the middle (this also helps with never having writer’s block) that I am very interested to come back to it. So, I am creating in my own mind an intense desire to do something that I was having trouble doing.

In short, you do not have to “not like” the things that you “don’t like.” You actually can start to “like” the things that you “don’t like” if you keep trying to find a way to act on them.

My own belief is that desire, or the lack thereof, is artificial. If you can change the emotion that you experience in your mind, or prevent your mind from engaging in the conflict of “do I want to or do I not want to?” then you can start to add in those activities that you are having a harder time doing.