Procrastination strikes everyone, and once it gets ahold of you, it can be very difficult to shake it off. When you imagine a highly productive person, you likely think of someone who focuses effortlessly on the job and never succumbs to procrastination. You know, the type who can sit on the ground in a subway station with their laptop and still manage to get more done in an hour than you would in a day at the library.
The truth is, ridiculously productive people face the same procrastination challenges as the rest of us. The difference is, they beat procrastination by using a calculated approach. First, they understand whythey procrastinate, and then they apply strategies that beat procrastination before it takes hold. Anyone can follow this two-step, research-driven process to overcome procrastination.
The Procrastination Doom Loop
You can’t hope to stop procrastinating until you first have a firm understanding of why you procrastinate. New research from Joseph Ferrari at DePaul University shows that procrastination is more complicated than most people think. People tend to think of procrastination as coming from poor time management or laziness, but Ferrari’s research shows that procrastination stems from negative emotions that hijack your mood. Once you’re under the influence of these emotions, you can’t bring yourself to work.
Beating procrastination is a simple matter of exiting the doom loop by taking control of your mood. With the right strategies in place, you can take the reins and get yourself in the mood to get things done. The strategies that follow will help you to make this happen.
1. Figure out why
When you aren’t in the mood to work, procrastination is telling you something important. It could be something simple, such as you need to take a break or get something to eat. It could also be something complex, such as you’re carrying the team on your back or you’re dissatisfied with your job. Whatever it is, instead of punishing yourself for procrastinating, take a moment to reflect and figure out whyyou’re procrastinating. This could end up being the most productive step you take in conquering your task.