Understanding and beating procrastination

Why would you delay something that you think is important to do? It doesn’t make sense, isn’t it? Maybe you’re one of the few people that always do what they say they are going to do. But for the rest of the human beings, procrastination is a real challenge.

Just check this video about the master procrastinator, at least for enjoying the laughs.

Procrastination is not a consequence of laziness or an instant gratification monkey. Our brains are programmed to procrastinate. It is also a learned habit. And as it happens with any pattern, it can be changed. Almost 40% of our activities are based on habits, and we can change them by integrating new practices that would override old ones.

There are different tricks to overcome procrastination. One of the biggest reasons to procrastinate is that we are tackling something big thing, sometimes intimidating. In this situation, it helps to break it down into small pieces or actions. This is because of the Zeigarnik effect, name from psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik.

It turns out that we do remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. When our mind opens a job, it needs to finish it. That is how it works, and what the doctor found studying how the waiters of a cafe managed the orders (this is what I listened to in a course).

Also, when you’re fighting against procrastination, one trick is to keep motivation high. And when we are breaking down tasks, they become comfortable and feasible to execute without fail.

For ending, here’s another great article from HBR about beating procrastination, where you will find ideas sustained in studies, like visualizing the goals, committing publicly, and other insights to help with the cost of action.

I guess it helps with the instant gratification monkey in case there’s no panic monster to help.

I hope you liked it. If so, please share it! Do not hesitate to add your comments. And, if you want to stay up to date, don’t miss my free newsletter.

Thanks for reading.

Also published on Medium.

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