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How to stop procrastinating

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GoGetter101

New Contributor
Jun 18, 2021
6
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This is something I've struggled with for many years and still do to some extent. We can't completely defeat procrastination.
This isn't a gimmick to fight procrastination. Like a 5 step system, or tricking your brain or rewarding yourself for finishing tasks.
I've read so many articles and watched YouTube videos on these so called ways to defeat procrastination but they only work temporalily.

This is something new I've been trying and this is one of the most productive years of my life.

I watched a video by Jordan Peterson. I couldn't find the full video but this video has all the relevant parts.

This is what I learnt from it.

MOTIVATION
Motivation: What is it and why is it important
I hear a lot of self help gurus say that motivation is not important, habits are more important.
This is true to some extent but you can't function without motivation.
Motivation is like fuel; you have to know when to fuel and refuel.
Motivation is a sense of purpose
Motivation is the destination.

HABITS
So you get 'fuel' through motivation.
Now you need to fill the right 'bike' with the right fuel.

Habits shouldn't be a challenge. It should as easy as riding a bike.
I use to create 30 day challenges for myself like
- Wake up 6am everyday for 30 days
- Go for a run everyday for 30 days
- Read everyday for 30 days

You need to make these challeges 'easy'. For example:
- Keep eyes open for 3 minutes when the alarm goes off. (This helps me get out of bed)
- Run or walk for 5 minutes
- Read one page per day.

These are small steps that will compound over time and eventually you'll have 'bike' that's easy to ride everyday.

But you need to be motivated when the road gets rough so always remember to 'refuel'


FEAR
Learn how to use your fears instead of running away from it.
What would happen if you keep procrastinating for the next week, month or year.
What would your life look like?
Write these down and let your fears motivate you just much as your dreams

Nowadays self help books tell you create mood boards of your ideal life.
People usually stick photos of places to travel, cars, mansions, beaches, etc
Knowing what you want is important but also knowing what you are willing to do to get there and the fears you'll encounter on the way is just imporant.
Your moodboards need to have stories of failures of what would happen if you kept procrastinating.
So keep letting what you want motivate you but also make sure you know your fears and let it motivate you.

How does all this help fight procrastination:
Now you should have a 'bike'(habit) and you know how to 'fuel'(motivation) it.
You can use this bike to fight procrastination.

For this you need a pen, paper and task you need to finish.
Point of focus:
Establish exactly what the task is. Reading, writing an essay, building a website, etc
Start the task.

Internal distractions:
When you start the task you'll get internal thoughts coming into your mind.
"I don't want to do this"
"I want to watch TV"
"I want to go out with friends"
"I'm lonely"

When these thoughts come write exactly what thoughts are on the sheet of paper.
You need to write EVERYTHING down. You are cleaning up your mind.

This helps you identify you internal distractions and unidentify yourself from these thoughts.
This is the child in your head wanting more! and you are the parent dicscipling the child.

Permission to not focus:
You'll also notice when you try to fight your thoughts it just gets bottled up and eventually all of it comes out!
Every now and then give yourself permission to not focus.
This is like taking your inner child to the park.
You need to let your mind have fun.
But there are still boundaries around the park.
Set the boundaries your mind needs.

CONCLUSION

Create your bike (habits)
Learn how to fuel it daily/weekly/monthly/yearly (motivation)
Know your destination (point of focus)
Learn to navigate the obstacles (Internal distractions)
 

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JAJT

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For what it's worth, I've always struggled with motivation and procrastination DESPITE an intense desire for action. I wasn't avoiding things I didn't want to do - I was avoiding things I DID want to do. It was mentally very difficult - like the gears in my head were grinding and smoking against the conflict.

A few years back we had our son diagnosed with ADHD and after exhausting all behavioral / environmental options we decided to try medication. He thrived immediately in all areas of his life - social, academic, home life, extra curricular, etc.

Knowing that ADHD has a significant hereditary link, and seeing that many of the issues I saw in my son I saw in myself from childhood, I decided to get checked, diagnosed, and got a prescription for stimulant medication. Initially I tried the same drug my son was on (Conerta AKA Methylphenidate) but due to not responding well to it, I switched to "Adderall" (a generic brand called Santos, just labelled as "mixed amphetamine salts").

I have to say - I wish I had this from childhood. I've been relatively successful in life despite my motivational and procrastination issues but I honestly wonder where I'd be today if I had access to these amazing medications.

It's like someone untied my hands and kicked me in the a$$. I can get started early, very little hesitation towards even the most difficult tasks, I work better for longer, I'm more social and outgoing, cold calling is no issue, doing taxes is no issue, doing boring repetitive work for hours on end is no issue, I find "mindless" tasks like surfing the net and dicking around online very frustrating now instead of welcoming because I'd just rather be doing something meaningful - I'm just able to 'do' for the first time in my life. Also it significantly improved my general mood and wellbeing. I don't feel totally spent at the end of the day either - it has completely eliminated that "out of gas" feeling I'd get after even a mediocre day of work.

I don't want to sound like a pill pusher here - I'd sooner rather NOT have the medication. In fact, I'm working on lifestyle changes and habits that I'm hoping will help get me even 60% of my medicated activity levels (exercise, diet changes, structured routines, etc). But if you suspect you have undiagnosed ADHD and have extreme difficulties with things like distractions, motivation, procrastination and other issues that are genuinely holding you back against your will - I'd suggest looking into it. It's so far been one of the best decisions I've made for my personal and professional development. That being said, there are side effects and risks that I'd sooner not have to account for, but all medication is about benefits vs downsides and for me the downsides are insignificant compared to the benefits.
 

Flint

Bronze Contributor
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Jul 14, 2020
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mood boards
Is that a thing now? Huh...

The drive comes from the flesh and the mind can only squeeze out of us/exercise what is available in the system. No feel-good voodoo will help if your biochemistry is lacking.

Have you checked your total testosterone and free testosterone levels? The high total number is good but high free testosterone is important. Free T is responsible for/influences that what testosterone is (in)famous for.
 

Mattie

Platinum Contributor
I've Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 28, 2014
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This is something I've struggled with for many years and still do to some extent. We can't completely defeat procrastination.
This isn't a gimmick to fight procrastination. Like a 5 step system, or tricking your brain or rewarding yourself for finishing tasks.
I've read so many articles and watched YouTube videos on these so called ways to defeat procrastination but they only work temporalily.

This is something new I've been trying and this is one of the most productive years of my life.

I watched a video by Jordan Peterson. I couldn't find the full video but this video has all the relevant parts.

This is what I learnt from it.

MOTIVATION
Motivation: What is it and why is it important
I hear a lot of self help gurus say that motivation is not important, habits are more important.
This is true to some extent but you can't function without motivation.
Motivation is like fuel; you have to know when to fuel and refuel.
Motivation is a sense of purpose
Motivation is the destination.

HABITS
So you get 'fuel' through motivation.
Now you need to fill the right 'bike' with the right fuel.

Habits shouldn't be a challenge. It should as easy as riding a bike.
I use to create 30 day challenges for myself like
- Wake up 6am everyday for 30 days
- Go for a run everyday for 30 days
- Read everyday for 30 days

You need to make these challeges 'easy'. For example:
- Keep eyes open for 3 minutes when the alarm goes off. (This helps me get out of bed)
- Run or walk for 5 minutes
- Read one page per day.

These are small steps that will compound over time and eventually you'll have 'bike' that's easy to ride everyday.

But you need to be motivated when the road gets rough so always remember to 'refuel'


FEAR
Learn how to use your fears instead of running away from it.
What would happen if you keep procrastinating for the next week, month or year.
What would your life look like?
Write these down and let your fears motivate you just much as your dreams

Nowadays self help books tell you create mood boards of your ideal life.
People usually stick photos of places to travel, cars, mansions, beaches, etc
Knowing what you want is important but also knowing what you are willing to do to get there and the fears you'll encounter on the way is just imporant.
Your moodboards need to have stories of failures of what would happen if you kept procrastinating.
So keep letting what you want motivate you but also make sure you know your fears and let it motivate you.

How does all this help fight procrastination:
Now you should have a 'bike'(habit) and you know how to 'fuel'(motivation) it.
You can use this bike to fight procrastination.

For this you need a pen, paper and task you need to finish.
Point of focus:
Establish exactly what the task is. Reading, writing an essay, building a website, etc
Start the task.

Internal distractions:
When you start the task you'll get internal thoughts coming into your mind.
"I don't want to do this"
"I want to watch TV"
"I want to go out with friends"
"I'm lonely"

When these thoughts come write exactly what thoughts are on the sheet of paper.
You need to write EVERYTHING down. You are cleaning up your mind.

This helps you identify you internal distractions and unidentify yourself from these thoughts.
This is the child in your head wanting more! and you are the parent dicscipling the child.

Permission to not focus:
You'll also notice when you try to fight your thoughts it just gets bottled up and eventually all of it comes out!
Every now and then give yourself permission to not focus.
This is like taking your inner child to the park.
You need to let your mind have fun.
But there are still boundaries around the park.
Set the boundaries your mind needs.

CONCLUSION

Create your bike (habits)
Learn how to fuel it daily/weekly/monthly/yearly (motivation)
Know your destination (point of focus)
Learn to navigate the obstacles (Internal distract
For what it's worth, I've always struggled with motivation and procrastination DESPITE an intense desire for action. I wasn't avoiding things I didn't want to do - I was avoiding things I DID want to do. It was mentally very difficult - like the gears in my head were grinding and smoking against the conflict.

A few years back we had our son diagnosed with ADHD and after exhausting all behavioral / environmental options we decided to try medication. He thrived immediately in all areas of his life - social, academic, home life, extra curricular, etc.

Knowing that ADHD has a significant hereditary link, and seeing that many of the issues I saw in my son I saw in myself from childhood, I decided to get checked, diagnosed, and got a prescription for stimulant medication. Initially I tried the same drug my son was on (Conerta AKA Methylphenidate) but due to not responding well to it, I switched to "Adderall" (a generic brand called Santos, just labelled as "mixed amphetamine salts").

I have to say - I wish I had this from childhood. I've been relatively successful in life despite my motivational and procrastination issues but I honestly wonder where I'd be today if I had access to these amazing medications.

It's like someone untied my hands and kicked me in the a$$. I can get started early, very little hesitation towards even the most difficult tasks, I work better for longer, I'm more social and outgoing, cold calling is no issue, doing taxes is no issue, doing boring repetitive work for hours on end is no issue, I find "mindless" tasks like surfing the net and dicking around online very frustrating now instead of welcoming because I'd just rather be doing something meaningful - I'm just able to 'do' for the first time in my life. Also it significantly improved my general mood and wellbeing. I don't feel totally spent at the end of the day either - it has completely eliminated that "out of gas" feeling I'd get after even a mediocre day of work.

I don't want to sound like a pill pusher here - I'd sooner rather NOT have the medication. In fact, I'm working on lifestyle changes and habits that I'm hoping will help get me even 60% of my medicated activity levels (exercise, diet changes, structured routines, etc). But if you suspect you have undiagnosed ADHD and have extreme difficulties with things like distractions, motivation, procrastination and other issues that are genuinely holding you back against your will - I'd suggest looking into it. It's so far been one of the best decisions I've made for my personal and professional development. That being said, there are side effects and risks that I'd sooner not have to account for, but all medication is about benefits vs downsides and for me the downsides are insignificant compared to the

Is that a thing now? Huh...

The drive comes from the flesh and the mind can only squeeze out of us/exercise what is available in the system. No feel-good voodoo will help if your biochemistry is lacking.

Have you checked your total testosterone and free testosterone levels? The high total number is good but high free testosterone is important. Free T is responsible for/influences that what testosterone is (in)famous for.
Focus is pretty much something you do all the time. It can contribute to procrastination if you're focused on stress, anxiety, and issues with people around you. Distraction is what we're meant to be breaking by keeping your focus on a specific target and not allowing others to break that focus. Distraction is more the culprit of procrastination. Allowing the external world to dictate what your thinking about and wanting you to be focused on their negative communications or naysayer.

Concentration is something we don't teach people. People say concentrate on your homework. Pretty much you have to learn to concentrate by focusing on one target.
 

Dora Wi

Contributor
Aug 19, 2020
46
62
97
Hungary
I like what you shared, especially the part that you should make habits as easy as possible to start, like only setting a goal of reading one page etc. I think setting ambitious goals is generally a good thing, but to those of us who have a tendency to procrastinate, starting new things by putting the bar too high can make the issue worse.
The most important thing in my opinion is to figure out what makes you procrastinate the most. It could depend on the type of task you need to do, or you could be too perfectionistic, or prone to anxiety, etc. Finding and dealing with the root cause is best (long term, at least).
 

mdot

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Dec 24, 2020
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There's a different type of procrastination that I've experienced first-hand and seen in others. Apparently common with overwhelmed perfectionists, procrastination is a way of rationalizing why an end product will never meet their expectations. If they wait until the last minute and then suddenly sprint to the finish, they have an excuse for why the final product is going to be subpar ("of course it's bad, I did it all last night!").

I'm dealing with someone like this at work right now and it's super frustrating, but I know how the guy feels. It's one of the things I've had to train out of myself since university - things can't be perfect without spending infinite time on them, and at a certain point the product just has to go out the door.

 

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