Procrastination? Follow these 3 simple rules.

Abbs
4 min readAug 12, 2020

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Procrastination is one of the best ways to be least productive, yet it sure brings a level of comfort. Every procrastinator out there can relate to this. I have mastered the art of procrastination for so long that it used to come naturally to me. It’s such a stress reliever to ignore the task at hand and immerse in that Netflix series that you have watched over and over or take a nap or even just masturbate to porn.

But, have you ever wondered why you procrastinate? First thing to solve any problem is to understand why it is happening, when and how?

What I am about to tell you may not be relatable to all. But, 90% of the population procrastinate because of three reasons.

1. Thinking about the task stresses you out

2. You cannot see immediate results and you crave activities that gives you immediate rewards.

3. You are not accountable to anyone for your tasks at hand.

Try to catch your mind when it tells you to ‘put down that essay you need to submit and just relax’ the next time you feel you are about to procrastinate. It will be because of one of the above reasons.

Now that you have identified the reason, you can start working on the root cause.

If thinking about the task stresses you, then the only solution is to follow the 5 seconds rule by Mel Robbins.

It goes by this, if you want to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, then you need to count down from 5 to 1 and do it. No overthinking. No evaluation of choices. Just do it. If you want to get up from bed, count down and just get up. Otherwise, your brain kills any decision that makes you uncomfortable if you don’t act in that tiny window.

You can read about it more here.

I am someone who craves short term gratification. But the more you crave it the less chances are there for you to do tasks which doesn’t offer you that. For example, it takes months of hard work to attain fitness and sculpting that six-pack. It takes weeks and weeks of applications and rejections to land that job. But, if you don’t do what needs to be done, then you will not see the results neither in short term nor long term.

So, the idea is to use the ‘carrot and donkey’ approach. Try to trick your mind with a short-term reward. For example, promise yourself that you can have a bite of that chocolate or can check your messages or watch that series after you have do your work for an hour. But, make sure whatever reward you are offering are not addictive and doesn’t make you lose track of time. Beware of having rewards such as Instagram or Facebook which are not only addictive but also shifts your focus and drains your motivation.

Finally, if you are doing something that needs no accountability you might not feel the pressure to do it on time and you would rather follow the pace your lazy brain is instructing you to. For example, I finished my graduation and right now I am looking for jobs. There is no deadline to finish my resume or cover letter and to connect with the people that works in the companies that I want to work for. Unlike your time when you are an employee or a student when you know you need to get things done every day, there is nobody to push you. So, it was very difficult for me to follow the routine of applying to jobs every single day.

So, what I did was I call up my friends who are also on the similar phase and we set aside 3 to 4 hours to work on our stuff. After that we send each other pictures of the work we have done as proof. Sometimes, I set work dates with my colleagues at a coffee shop and we both do our own individual work for a fixed time. This gave me the peer pressure as well as the accountability that was needed. That slight hint of shame that I felt when I couldn’t fulfill my promises were enough for me to put on my productivity hat.

Make sure you catch your brain the next time you are about to procrastinate and employ these techniques.

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Abbs
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