The boss has you under a deadline, and you’re Googling ‘how to stop procrastinating at work’ instead of getting your work done. If this is you, then you are probably procrastinating in other areas of your life as well. Abraham Lincon once said,”we cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today” If this is true, then why do we continue to delay?
Putting off the task or problem only serves to compound the issue and makes it more difficult to overcome, yet we still find ourselves making all kinds excuses. Perhaps your professional life has become a series of commitments that make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Maybe your home is piling up with projects because you would rather spend your time doing something fun than finish putting up that fence. Your progress is slow, and your successes are minimal. It’s hard to feel enthused and motivated, so you give yourself excuses like “I work better under pressure” or “it’s really not that important right now.”
Procrastination isn’t a problem of laziness or a lack of time management skills. Procrastination is your mind’s way of protecting you from doing something that you decided was difficult or unpleasant. When you made up your mind that a particular job was unattractive, your mind went about the task of quickly relieving you from the duty of doing it.
The human mind is designed to avoid stress. If unpleasant tasks are stress inducing, then procrastination is simply a stress reducer. What better way to ease the stress of an impending deadline or a looming stack of laundry than to take a break. So, you surf the internet, play on your phone, or do anything else to avoid doing what needs to get done. Not only is your mind doing a great job of removing the unwanted task, but you are rewarded doubly by receiving immediate gratification from other more enjoyable activities.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that “the most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.” The key to ending procrastination isn’t in having more willpower or becoming more organized. You don’t need to wait for inspiration or motivation. Procrastination is a habit, and the key to solving the procrastination problem is in interrupting the habit loop and creating new patterns of productivity.
You can end procrastination with these simple steps
Take a deep breath and begin by acknowledging that you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. You can’t get where you are going if you don’t know where you are.
Connect with why the job at hand is valuable or important. Even the most terrible of tasks has its reward. What do you have to gain from getting it done? Make a list of at least three positive returns; these can range from positive feelings to tangible results.
Close your eyes and visualize working on your project. See the smile on your face as you envision yourself diligently working. Use your imagination to see the project all the way through, and feel the joy and pride of accomplishment that comes with a job well done.
Open your eyes and begin your project. Don’t think! Just start moving. Work on your project for a predetermined amount of time. It may just be five minutes to start. What’s important is that you are creating momentum.
Take a short break! Get up and stretch, drink a glass of water, or play a game for a couple of minutes. By rewarding yourself, you are activating the pleasure centers in your brain and forging new neuro pathways to create a stimulus response. You are conditioning your mind to accept the new habit. Set a timer this is just a short break!
Get back to work. If you need a little motivation to get started; begin by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and repeating the process. You are now completing the loop, creating new habits, and accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.
Every week I receive multiple calls from people looking to end the procrastination cycle. Clients come to see me for a broad range of procrastination habits, including work-related projects, exercise, cluttered homes, and writer’s block. Through hypnotic suggestion, I can directly communicate these powerful techniques and other positive suggestions to the subconscious mind; rapidly improving productivity and increasing the clients’ ability to make lasting change.
Clients who have procrastinated for years come out of hypnosis with a greater appreciation for their projects. They let go of the daily struggle just to get it done, and rapidly begin completing their goals. You can end your procrastination problem now by following these simple steps and by seeing a hypnotherapist.
Written by Tara Martin CH, Airó Hypnosis