Being able to stop procrastinating can completely start to change your life around for the better. Procrastination occurs when you have something to do, you know you should be doing it, but for one reason or another, you’re not doing it. This can be a habit that can literally destroy your life if you don’t take control of it. This article will be about why we procrastinate as well as give you some tips to help you take action more often in order to achieve your goals and get done what needs to get done.
What Causes Procrastination?
Before you can stop procrastination, you first need to understand what causes it in the first place. It’s actually quite simple. The reason why we do or don’t do anything comes down to two things: Pain and Pleasure.
Everything we do comes down to either avoiding pain or gaining pleasure. Let me give you an example. Have you ever procrastinated on studying or writing a term paper? Of course you have. But why do we do this when we know it’s important? The reason is because we associate more pain to taking action than not taking action. Now what normally ends up happening after you have procrastinated to the last minute? I don’t know about you but no matter how much I would procrastinate on doing something, there will come a time when I will just bite the bullet and just get it done. The reason is because after a while, NOT getting that task done is more painful than just getting it done.
Understanding why you procrastinate will help you stop being a procrastinator. Think about the last time you put something off. Now ask yourself why you put it off. Chances are, the reason why you just didn’t get the job done was because you associated some type of pain to taking action. Now think about something you don’t have a problem doing like going out with your friends. The reason why you won’t put something like that off is because you associate pleasure to doing it.
How to Stop Procrastinating
Here are some steps to stop procrastination. The first thing you will want to do is to figure out what is causing you to associate pain to getting a task done. Let’s say you want to clean out the garage. Just thinking about it makes you shiver. Well, that’s the reason why you have been putting it off. It’s what you visualize in your mind that is causing you the pain. You haven’t actually done anything yet so in reality, you aren’t experiencing any pain.
This means you need to work on what you are focusing on in your mind. In this case, instead of thinking about how long cleaning the garage is going to take, focus on how great it would feel once it’s all cleaned up. Or you can focus on all the free time you will have after you get this task over with.
The point here is to get yourself to associate pleasure to getting the task done. When you can get yourself to look forward to taking action, you won’t procrastinate.
Another way you can stop procrastinating is to associate more pain to NOT taking action. Let’s say you need to get back into shape but you keep putting off going to the gym and no matter how much you try to tell yourself how great you will look if you get yourself to go to the gym, you still don’t go. In this case, you will need to focus on the pain of not getting into shape. Imagine how your body and health will be 5 years from now if you don’t start taking better care of yourself. Now imagine how you will look 10 years from now, 20 years from now.
The key to making this work is to actually feel the pain you would cause yourself by not taking action. Where would your life be 5, 10, or 20 years from now if you keep letting procrastination take the best of you? If you can make this experience intense enough, it will drive you to take immediate action.
There are other ways to stop procrastination but they all come down to either avoiding pain or gaining pleasure. If you are a guy, think about it. How far will guys go to impress a girl in hopes that the will get lucky? They will do things they never thought they can get themselves to do. How about if you’re a mom? How far will you go to keep your children from starving? Will you do anything, even work at a job you hate, just to give them what they need?
Knowing how to stop procrastination is the first step. The second and final step is to make taking action a habit. The more you can get yourself to immediate action, the less you will be inclined to procrastinate. Putting things off is just a habit. The more you do it, the more you will continue doing it.
In order to stop procrastinating, you will need to get in the habit of taking action regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Focusing on the pain of not following through or the pleasure of getting something done will work but sometimes, you will be too lazy to even focus on anything. This is where having the habit of taking immediate action will come into play.
When the choice comes down to getting something done and putting it off, you will get it done. This one habit, if you can develop it, will change your life. The alternative is reaching the end of your life and having nothing but regret. Develop the habit taking action and stop procrastinating and you will prevent that situation from happening.