Before you can begin to improve your productivity, you have to slay your habit of procrastination. This article is going to present you with the three general strategies for overcoming your procrastination. These tactics can motivate you even more to continue staying clear of the habit of procrastination.
1) Keeping it simple
Simple plans of action and expected results are much easier to understand and implement. Also, plans that are easier to understand and implement are plans that are at low risk for procrastination, that is unless you are already a habitual procrastinator.
You can look at it this way, are you more likely to procrastinate when you have the task of doing something that scares you or stretches you outside of your comfort zone. Chances are pretty high that you’ll procrastinate on tasks you perceive as complex and complicated, compared to something simple. The mere thought of having to do something you dislike or hate is enough for you to put off doing it until the last minute.
Also, it’s worth remembering that your mind is geared toward self-preservation. If you’ve been through a painful experience or trauma in your early or childhood years your mind will remember that and actively push you to avoid any situation which resembles it. I’ll discuss that later in the article.
2) Talk to yourself
To beat procrastination, you have to use positive self-talk. If you don’t know how to start positive self-talk, here are a couple of ways to get you started. First, you can use positive affirmations or declarations to help you overcome bad habits like procrastination. You may be wondering how this works exactly.
The human mind controls how you behave and act, but there are two aspects of the human mind that account for different kinds of behaviors. There’s the subconscious mind, which regulates many of your actions, especially those that you’re not aware of but are important, like breathing, your heart beat, your ability to walk. All the actions that require conscious thought or awareness, like solving a math problem, writing, and eating, are all controlled by your conscious mind.
Habits, like procrastination are unconscious and they fall under the control of the subconscious mind. This is the reason why you can only go so far when trying to consciously changing your habits before you revert back to your normal habits. This includes things like smoking, cursing, and procrastinating. The only way you can make lasting personal changes is by converting them into habits, either subconscious or conscious, through reprogramming your subconscious mind.
According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho Cybernetics, the subconscious mind can be likened to heat-seeking or laser guided missiles launched from fighter jets and warships. When these kinds of missiles are launched, they automatically seek out the targets given to them. After the missiles are launched, the pilots and warship captains no longer have control over the movements or trajectories of the missiles. The missiles’ on-board computer systems are what control them in route to their programmed targets. The best way to control these kinds of missiles is to give them their targets before they’re launched.
Your subconscious mind is like these guided missiles. You can make it go wherever you want and achieve what you want by simply programming it to acquire certain targets or habits, like eating healthy, exercising, and ending procrastination. You can do this by using your conscious mind through visualization and affirmations or through declarations and positive self-talk.
To help you retrain your subconscious mind and end procrastinations, you need to say your positive declaration several times a day and with emotion. An example affirmation might be, “I will stop procrastinating and, instead be a very proactive person.” When you continually tell yourself this, you can change your subconscious mind’s programming over time so that it will manifest the affirmation. It can even become more powerful if you combine it with visualization exercises, where you play a movie in your mind’s eye and you see yourself acting or living out your affirmations.
Another way you can use positive self-talk to reprogram your subconscious mind and end procrastination is by asking the right questions, particularly positive and empowering ones. An example of a right question to ask would be, “What should I do to start closing more sales?” rather than “Why am I not able to close enough sales?”
By asking how you can achieve something rather than why you can’t, allows your subconscious mind to focus on how you can. When you ask why you can’t achieve something, you are effectively programming your subconscious mind to continue keeping you from successfully accomplishing something or getting rid of a bad habit.
What you focus your mind on often determines, to a great extent, how your subconscious mind will be programmed. If you can program your subconscious mind for the possibilities, it will go after those possibilities. If you program it for limitations, it will do what it can to enforce them.
3) Just do it – in 5 seconds or less
The last general strategy for beating procrastination is simple. Mel Robbins, wrote the book, The 5-Second Rule, and while you may be familiar with this rule when it comes to dropping food on the floor, this book focuses on the neuro-scientific foundations for how our minds work when we procrastinate.
The idea behind this rule is that it requires you to disarm and decapitate procrastination by taking necessary action within the first five seconds, because the longer you put off action, the higher your risks of procrastinating.
Our brains are naturally wired toward self-preservation. So, whenever we experience stress, such as when we have to wake up in the morning or having to exercise when we don’t feel like it, our brains take those signals that something is wrong. This puts the subconscious mind into the fight or flight mode to try to preserve the body through inaction in an attempt to pre-empt dangers from happening. It results in feeling more and more sluggish causing us to procrastinate.
However, with the five-second rule, you don’t give the subconscious mind the time to build momentum and yield its power. By acting against its wishes to procrastinate, you nip the procrastination problem in the bud. When you act within the first five seconds, you set your body in motion, which in turn creates emotion. So, by getting up and immediately moving, you’ll be able to create a counter-emotion that makes you want to continue moving forward.
So, when you feel the temptation to put off working on the first few tasks of the day, just count backwards from five. As you get closer to zero, act. Action will break the inertia and motion will create emotion. The more you can do this on a consistent basis, the quicker you can develop a habit that will stop procrastination for good.
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