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Procrastination: A Quick Guide To Overcome It

The Internet has not given birth to Procrastination. For as long as humans have been around, we have been dealing with delaying, postponing, procrastinating on issues that matter to us.

Procrastination is a challenge we have faced at one point or another. So, in this post I am going to tell you what Procrastination is, why do we Procrastinate, and how to stop doing it. 

You ready? Let’s get started.

What is Procrastination?

Human beings have been procrastinating for so long that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behaviour: Akrasia.

If you google it, Akrasia means the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will or lack of self-control, basically known as Procrastination.

And below is the modern definition of Procrastination.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline.

Why do we Procrastinate?

Ok, definitions are great and all, but why do we procrastinate? What is going on in the brain that causes us to avoid the things we know we should be doing?

This is a good time to bring some science into our discussion. 

Behavioural psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. It refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

It must have happened to you too that you went to bed having all great plans for yourself in the morning like working out and eating healthy. But when you wake up the next morning, you are back to your old patterns. We all are aware of the fact that working out or moving our bodies is good for us in the long run. Obviously we can not see the benefits of it overnight. But sometimes, not working out can give instant relief from the pain, and that is what the theory speaks about. 

Our mind prioritizes the instant benefits over the long term ones. We like instant gratification, not the long term benefits. And this is why we procrastinate.

How to stop Procrastination?

The problem is not doing the work, it is starting the work. 

If we genuinely want to do the work, we need to go through the pain of starting it. Because once you have started doing something, the motivation will eventually come. Motivation often comes after starting something.

I have mentioned a few points below that might help you stop procrastinating. They help me sometimes, but the other times I still procrastinate.

Point 1 – Break down your task into multiple small tasks

There might be some scientific reason behind this but this is how it works for me. 

Break your task into multiple smaller tasks. By doing this, I try to fool my brain that we just need to complete a bunch of small tasks, nothing much. This way, the task becomes more achievable and doesn’t seem daunting to me anymore.

For example, starting to write every new blog post is difficult. It is definitely something I enjoy, but still difficult. So what I do is, I break the writing process into small tasks like research, decide the title and structure of the post, decide the subtopics, and then comes the content for every subtopic, one at a time. 

This way the entire writing process gets split into multiple tasks and doesn’t scare me anymore.

Point 2 – Use the Pomodoro technique

Now, this one specifically works wonders. 

Pomodoro technique is a time management method developed in the 1980s. It uses a timer to break down work into time intervals, generally 25 minutes long.

As I have mentioned above, starting work is more difficult than doing it. This technique can help you get your work started. All you have to do is set a timer of 25 minutes and sit down to do your work. Tell your mind that you just have to work for these 25 minutes and then you are free.

But, what generally happens with me when I use this Pomodoro technique is after the timer goes off, I still continue to do my work as now I am in the process of doing it, the harder part of starting the task is over. This is the benefit of using it.

Point 3 – Reward yourself for every small achievement

We don’t pamper ourselves enough, do we? Just like every other person, our mind too needs appreciation. 

The reason behind this is having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick with something when you’re feeling a lack of motivation (or when you’re simply too tired to get started).

This can be anything. A few examples are mentioned below. But before moving forward, just make sure that your reward should not derail or demotivate you from your goal.

Make a cup of coffee and listen to music while sitting on the balcony.

Watch any one of your favourite movies.

Sleep extra for another one or two hours.

And the best part is that all the three techniques mentioned above can be applied altogether as well. Isn’t it great?

Well, this is it for now from my end.

So yeah, these are the techniques that I use on a daily basis to overcome procrastination. I hope you found this short guide on procrastination useful. Tell me in the comments what other techniques you are using to overcome it.

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