I’m going to share with you the trick that will let you stop procrastinating right now, today. Actually, it’s not just one ‘trick’ but it’s a mindset. I’ll explain everything. The reasons you’re procrastinating are –
1 – You’re addicted to ‘instant gratification’ (I’ll explain what that means in a bit)
2 – You don’t have a clear goal
3 – You aren’t driven enough
It’s usually one of those 3. They’re the main reasons that you’re not doing what you should be doing right now.
How do I know? Experience, and a LOT of research. I’ve read books on psychology, watched people give talks about procrastination, and a whole load of other stuff. What it comes down to however, is those 3 things.
I’ll explain each one in detail, and show you WHY those are the main reasons you’re procrastinating. Then after that funky little introduction, we’ll get into techniques to stop procrastinating, which you can apply right now. Ready?
1 – You’re addicted to ‘instant gratification’
What does this mean?
Imagine you’re a writer.
You know that in order to get more money, and advance your career/life to the next level, you need to either promote yourself, network, or write and sell something. That’s what it comes down to, you know roughly what you need to do in order to succeed. And we all do, on a basic level.
We all know ‘roughly’ what we should be doing to succeed… Whether it’s –
– Studying for your exam at school
– Putting in more hours at the office
– Writing more of your novel
– Promoting your YouTube channel
We know what we SHOULD be doing, but why don’t we do it?
Why do we procrastinate? Well, it’s because of a thing called ‘Instant Gratification’. The little devil on your shoulder that says ‘Wouldn’t it be more fun to do ……. ‘
Your brain is wired by default to prefer short term benefits over long term ones.
There was a experiment conducted in which subjects were asked if they’d prefer to have £50 today or £100 6 months from now. Almost all of them said they’d rather have the £50 now. Madness, right? They could have had double that only 6 months from then.
It’s because the brain wants it all NOW. Your brain wants to have success NOW, or at least, satisfaction NOW. It often times doesn’t think about the long term implications, and just wants to do things NOW and have the pleasure in the short term. This is critical to understand when you’re debating things like –
– Whether or not to delay writing your book for another week and just play that new Xbox game that’s come out
– Whether or not to stop working on your new business venture to go out and get drunk.
The easy options are always the most attractive.
You sometimes can’t see the long term goals, or the bigger picture, so it’s easy to dismiss the little things like building your business and go for the easy option – Having fun NOW.
Think back to the last time you procrastinated – What did you actually DO?
More often than not it was something that gave you pleasure in the short term. People don’t often procrastinate by just choosing to do something that ISN’T fun to them.
Understanding this is part of the big picture, which we’re getting into in just a few moments.
2 – You don’t have a clear goal
What’s your goal?
How much money have you decided to be worth at age 65? If these questions are returning a blank stare, we have a problem my friend. You must have a CLEAR and well defined goal in order to stop procrastinating!
Of course you’re going to delay doing the ‘thing’ if you don’t really know what the ‘thing’ even is! This will just lead to time wasting, confusion and frustration.
As I mentioned before, when setting goals you need to ensure they’re measurable!
If they’re not specific, you can easily justify yourself and tell yourself ‘It’s okay, I’ll do it better next week, that new film is out! Maybe I’ll go and see that now’. (Does this feel like ‘instant gratification’ to you?)
Here’s an easy way to make ‘smart’ goals so you can stop procrastinating.
- Write out a SPECIFIC and well defined goal. This should take up more than 2-3 sentences!
- Give yourself a deadline for this goal to be achieved (or not) by
3 – You aren’t driven enough
(This is something I sort of assumed when writing this)
I assumed that whatever it is you’re ‘putting off’ doing is something you want to do, on some level.
If you’re procrastinating doing that awful report for your horrible boss at that job you despise, then of course you’re going to procrastinate! You don’t WANT to do it!
It’s my belief that you should be doing something you want to be doing. If you’re avoiding doing work for a job you don’t like, you may have to do it for a while, BUT make sure to work towards your own thing eventually!
It doesn’t matter how small the steps you take are, just make sure that every day you’re moving a little bit closer to having your own company, business, empire etc. When you own your own business and life, you’ll be much more likely to want to do things.
Of course, there are still things that you won’t want to do within your own business. These things can be outsourced when you get to a certain level. Before that level however, follow the other steps in this post!
Sorry, I sort of went off on one there, for more information about that, see ‘Starting your own online business‘.
So, what can be done?
Alright, it’s all very well telling you why you procrastinate, but you came here to find out how to STOP procrastinating, right now.
You want to know?
Well, it comes down to habit.
Any new habit is hard to form but once formed, it often stays with you a lifetime, or until you choose to change it. This is often why successful people continue to succeed, and failures continue to fail. We’re creatures of habit.
You can use this to your advantage however, by trying this little technique. Whatever you have to do, focus on JUST starting to do it. I know this has been repeated by so many personal development blogs out there, but just focus on doing the very first action, the smallest action you can do.
Often if you can just do that first little thing, you’ll gain momentum and the entire thing will become easier, and you’re already doing it so it won’t feel as difficult.
If you’re a writer, just write one paragraph, and the rest will flow!
If you’re a martial artist, just do a set of press-ups and you’ll find that an hour later, you’ve done an entire workout.
If you’re a YouTuber, just turn your camera on and film something random for 30 seconds.
How does this work?
If you’re not moving, the pressure on you is the STAY not moving.
If you’re moving, you’ll have momentum and will find it easy to KEEP moving.
It goes back to the laws of physics, ‘An object that is on motion stays in motion while an object at rest stays at rest’.
What about Instant gratification?
Well, this is a problem that has to be dealt with on a personal level. It’s a battle inside you!
There is always going to be a debate going on inside you between doing what you know you need to do, and doing what you think will be fun and pleasurable right now.
It’s just part of human nature. The best way to avoid or at least reduce this problem is to try and convince yourself that you’ll get results doing the thing you’re doing. Tell yourself that what you’re doing will improve your life, and visualize where you’ll be a year from now if you keep going.
This usually gives you the drive you need to get it done!
Beat procrastination right now!
I’ve tried to summarize lots of articles I’ve read on procrastination and how to avoid it. I’ve also read a few books on the subject and hopefully this has been useful to you. If you enjoyed it, please share it with someone you think would benefit!
That person you know who just never seems to get anything done? Send them this article! Did this work for you? Let me know by commenting on this post on Facebook!