First posted on 25/12/2014
Merry Christmas Everybody! As for Christmas I'll write about something that we are all cursed with, procrastination, and how to snap out of it.
I know it's very frustrating to be plagued by procrastination because I used to have a lot of trouble with it; we know we should be doing something productive, like studying, doing the assignments or exercising, but we keep putting it off till later until the very last minute or never doing it, and instead watch TV or check Facebook. And end up feeling like crap after, regretting and wondering why can't we just start up the task earlier.
And no, please don't follow the image's advice above.
Isn't it ironic? We know being productive is good for us, it gets us closer to our goals, and makes us feels good; but we choose to put if off and it's so difficult to get started.
I remember my primary school teacher told me that in life, the hardest thing to do is to get started. She's so right. It always feel like you have to muster up all your strength to snap out of procrastination.
I will not dwell too much on the reason here why procrastinate; but the simple version of the answer is that our mind is wired to do the easy pleasurable things first, rather than the hard unpleasurable task.
It takes willpower to snap out of procrastination, and it a little skill that take a bit of practice to cultivate, but it will reap big rewards in life! I'm going to teach you about a little system I came out with to snap out of procrastination that served me well.
First of all, grab yourself a piece of paper and make a list of all the productive task that could be done. You can be specific or general, like read Chapter 3 of Modern Physics or just exercise. Don't write too many, just a few will do.
Got it? Good, now next to every task write down reasons why you should do the task, the more the better! For example, for reading Chapter 3 of Modern Physics could be like makes me more intelligent, I get to learn more quantum mechanics, and I get to get better grades! Take note this list is only temporary and needs to be updated constantly as the task might vary from time to time.
With this list in mind, the next thing to practice is catching yourself procrastinating. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. Because the human mind is on autopilot most of the time, very often you'll end up procrastinating without realizing only after a while where you'll go "Oh crap, what am I doing?". The earlier you can catch yourself procrastinating the better.
Now how do you snap out of procrastination? Remember the list of productive things I've asked you to write? Whenever you catch yourself procrastinating, bring to mind the list of the productive things that can be done, select one of the thing on the list and start doing it. Very often you'll find yourself trying to come out with excuses to not do the task you gave yourself, this is where the reasons you've came out with on why you should do it will push you to do it.
For example, you want to do some exercise, very likely the excuses you'll come out with is something like "I'm tired" or "I'll do it later", but when you start thinking about all the reasons why you want to do the exercise, like "So I can be stronger!", "I'll feel more energetic after!" and "So I'll have a sexier body!", you'll feel more compelled to do the exercise NOW rather than later.
Remember, you don't have to do a fantastic job at it, the key here is just to start doing it. Do something small first. Usually when you just start doing it, you'll find you'll need some time to warm up. But when you started doing something productive, it's a lot easier to keep going than snapping out of procrastination. Once you're in the state of getting things done, you'll immediately realize staying productive is actually very easy and enjoyable!
Learning how snap out of procrastination is definitely not easy at first, but it's just like working on a muscle, it takes time and commitment, and it will gradually get easier!
To summarize, three steps to help yourself snap out of procrastination:
On a concluding note, procrastination can never be completely eliminated, it can only be minimized. So don't aim for perfection, just focus on progression. Even for me, I do procrastinate once in a while, but I've gotten better at snapping out of it, hence spending my days doing more productive things. I hope you can take what I taught you in this post and practice it and make your days more productive!