What is procrastination and how to overcome it and thus increase productivity?

Surely you have heard about “stop procrastinating” or someone has once told you: “don't procrastinate that task.” In this article we will talk to you about what procrastination is, how you can avoid procrastinating in life and some tips and steps to stop procrastinating and start getting things done.

To all this, let's say that we are going to start from the premise that you are a healthy person. By this I mean that procrastination can have many causes, some of them related to childhood traumas or that you have suffered as an adult, so in that case we recommend that you visit an expert who can help and guide you.

Go for it. The first thing that arises if we are not familiar with procrastination is the question: “What is procrastination? What is procrastination?

What is procrastination?

Procrastinating is intentionally and deliberately leaving a task for another time because you are lazy, because you are afraid to do it, because you think it is very difficult, because you think it is very boring, etc. That is, this task generates a feeling that you associate with a negative emotion and you are completely avoiding it to avoid facing the feeling that it generates.

Normally, what we do in this situation is spend our time on other tasks that are much less important and have nothing to do with the task at hand to justify to ourselves or others that we are not doing THE task because we are doing other things that we do. yes they are important. What we do in this way is avoid facing the feeling that this task generates in us, without realizing that this feeling will be there today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow until we face it.

The danger of procrastination is, apart from the fact that you are not doing a task that you are supposed to do, is that you are not facing that negative emotion. So you are not evolving on a personal level or on a productivity level. You get doubly stuck. Homework becomes a huge, uncomfortable elephant in the room. And this generates more discomfort, more frustration, more demotivation, etc. In short, more negative feelings with which you continue to procrastinate.

Here, of course, we would have to look at the causes, the reasons why you do not want to face that feeling and we could enter a very swampy terrain for me because I am not a psychologist nor do I pretend to be one, so to address this topic I am going to start from the based on the fact that you are a mentally healthy person, which we have discussed before, and that you do not have any trauma that prevents you from overcoming procrastination.

Procrastinating in itself is not wrong, what is wrong is procrastinating without being conscious and extending it over time. So, now that we know what procrastination is, let's see what points, what actions we can do to overcome it and achieve what is resisting us.

Tips and steps to stop procrastinating

Let me help you with a few steps that help me a lot when I identify that I am procrastinating. Here are 8 tips to stop procrastinating:

  1. Identify if you are really procrastinating.
  2. Don't overanalyze.
  3. Plan and set priorities
  4. Get ready to run
  5. Run the task
  6. If the task is long, divide it into subtasks.
  7. Always start with the most difficult task
  8. Congratulate yourself. Train your subconscious

What steps to follow to avoid procrastination and be more productive?

1. Identify

The first thing you have to do is identify if you are procrastinating or not. You, as an intelligent human being, know perfectly well why you are not doing a task. I'm going to give you an example so you understand me.

Let's assume that the task is to call a client to communicate information:

  • The non-procrastination situation would be to pick up the phone, call the client and they tell you that they are not available.
  • The procrastination situation is: ugh, I have to give him bad news and right now I don't feel like it, look, you know what? Since it's 10 in the morning and he's probably having breakfast, I'm going to prepare this other one. Report and I'll call you later.

In both situations the task is undone, the difference is that in the first you had the intention of doing it and in the second you were afraid of the client's reaction and you have deliberately decided not to do it, you have decided to procrastinate.

Another way to identify that you are procrastinating is when you see written in your agenda or in your organization method (planner, Bullet Journal) the same task repeated on consecutive days, that is, you postpone it over time.

Once you have identified that you are indeed procrastinating, identify what feeling you are avoiding: is it boredom? is it anxiety? is fear? And do something that counteracts the feeling.

That feeling will be there now, tomorrow, the next day and the next until you do something to counteract it and you can stop procrastinating.

For example, if the feeling is boredom, think about whether you have the possibility of playing music to liven up the atmosphere. If the feeling is anxiety, do breathing exercises for two minutes, I promise you will feel better. If the feeling is fear, drink water. Fear is a biological response to dangerous situations, it puts you on alert so that you survive, for example, a lion is chasing you. If you drink a glass of water calmly and calmly, you are giving the signal to your body that, if you can drink a glass of water, there is no danger.

So, the first advice I give you is identify when you are procrastinating, what is the feeling that prevents you from doing that task and do something to counteract it. Then you will be able to answer the question "why can't I stop procrastinating?"

2. Don't analyze

Don't think too much about the task, don't think about the result, or the process, and above all, don't put yourself in the worst of situations, because that will only increase the feeling that you think is negative.

Overanalyzing a situation only makes you more afraid to do that task when the truth is that you don't know what is going to happen. You are assuming situations that make your feeling accentuated. Continuing with the previous example, you don't know if when you call that client and give them what you consider bad news, the client will take it as bad news. Maybe he takes it well, maybe the project has been delayed and what you thought was something bad for the client is something good. And since you don't know it, overanalyzing a situation only makes you more afraid, more anxious, more lazy, then procrastinate more.

When you want to do something you find a way, when you don't want to do it you find an excuse and thinking too much gives you time to find excuses.

So the second tip is: DON'T OVERANALYZE A SITUATION. Don't think about it, don't analyze it, don't give yourself time to find excuses not to do it, jump into the pool and just do it. And now you will tell me: “sure, that is very easy to say, but how?”

set tasks and get organized

3. Planning

Plan when you are going to do your homework. It doesn't have to be a super three-week plan, super detailed with all the steps, something easy: choose a day and a time to do that task. Also, the sooner you plan it, the better, because then we will return to the previous advice in which you will analyze the situation, give yourself time to find excuses and procrastinate. Simply decide when you are going to do it and write it down in your agenda, bullet journal or planner.

4. Preparation

Prepare everything you need to do that task. For example, if you have to do a project for the university, have your laptop charged, the books you are going to use, the pens, the notebooks. Have everything you are going to use ready and organized on the desk. This is to avoid distractions, so that in the process of preparing what you need you do not find other more interesting or attractive tasks to do, you will have already done that the day before. It must have already happened to you the day before. If you think it is necessary, turn off your cell phone, disconnect your computer from the internet. Eliminate distractions as much as possible.

5. Run the task

When doing the task, you will have many things to do, and which one is the most important. Don't fool yourself, that's your inner self trying to hold you back with all its might, trying to prevent you from going through the suffering of that task.

Because? Because human beings are designed to avoid any situation that puts us in danger and thus survive. So your brain is going to give you a bunch of alternatives to do instead of that task to continue keeping your body in its stable state. Don't blame your brain, poor thing, one of its functions is to keep us alive and it does it very well, you just have to learn to master it.

At that moment it is very important and record this with fire, it is very important that you recognize the trick that your brain is playing on you and say NO. Now is not the time to do anything else, now is the time to do this and whether you like it or not, my dear brain, we are going to do it. It is very important that you remain firm with your decision because at that precise moment you are forging your discipline.

I'm going to give you a few tricks to tackle that task:

  • If it is going to take you too long to do the entire task at once, for example, it is a 200-page paper and it is impossible to do it in one morning, divide the task into smaller, more bearable tasks, more feasible to do. When I do this I call them mother task and subtasks, and I make subtasks little by little until I finish them all and I manage to finish the mother task. This is very important because one of the things that most overwhelms us is seeing the task in its entirety, because seeing it as so tedious, that it is going to take so much time, scares us, it is like we think that we have to do it all at once. and that makes us get stuck and not do it. In these cases it is better to divide it and do it a little today, a little tomorrow and so on until we finish it than to try to do it all at once and for fear of facing such a huge task we procrastinate.

6. Divide into subtasks

Another way to divide it is instead of doing it in mini tasks, divide it into time slots. This is done when you can't divide it into subtasks because it would always be the same: edit, edit, edit, edit. It's always the same, there is no clear end to a specific subtask.

What is recommended then is to do it for time. Set aside time each day to do this task. Surely, it happens to you that once you have started doing that task, you will spend more time than you had intended. This happens because the difficult thing is getting started, it's getting yourself to do that task, moving. But then once you get into it, you don't care about 15 or 50. If that's the case and you had set a time for yourself and then you see that you feel like doing more, do more, don't hesitate, don't stop if you feel like doing it. taste. And on the contrary, if when that time arrives that you had planned for yourself you say: “I'll give up, that's it, I'll do no more”, nothing happens, it's great, it's fine, because the important thing here is that you have won the battle against your self. interior and you have managed to start doing the task with which you are forging a discipline and you are creating the habit of not procrastinating.

  • But what happens when the task cannot be divided into time nor can it be divided into subtasks, and it is also large. For example, showering Bonnie. Bonnie is one of my dogs. I can't wash a paw today, an ear tomorrow, nor can I shower it one day and dry it the next.

7. Perform the most difficult task or subtask

In these cases, EAT THE FROG. Brian Tracy wrote a book called Eat The Frog in which he tells you to do your hardest task first thing in the morning. Throughout the day we make decisions that wear us down. Small decisions, it doesn't have to be anything out of this world: I make myself a coffee or tea, I wear this outfit or that other, what am I going to do today for lunch, for dinner, etc. Believe it or not, those small decisions wear you down. And when you wear yourself out, it is more difficult to face that task, which makes it easier to procrastinate. It is better to do this task first thing in the morning, when you have rested, are fresh, and get it out of your hands and continue with your day to day life. You will see that when you manage to do the task it will be like a goal achieved, it will be an injection of dopamine and you will feel more motivated to continue doing tasks.

So, to summarize:

  • If a task can be subdivided into smaller tasks, do a little each day
  • If a task is very repetitive, plan time each day to do it
  • If a task cannot be divided and is also very tedious, do it first thing in the morning

8. Congratulate yourself

When you have done that task, you have managed to overcome procrastination and you have faced the negative emotion that you associate with the task, congratulate yourself, congratulate yourself a lot. “I've done it, I knew I could do it, it wasn't that big of a deal, I'm the best, how good it turned out for me.” Tell your person all the nice things you can. I'm not exaggerating if I tell you that I mentally spend about 10 minutes saying nice things to myself.

This is not nonsense, you are doing two things: the first is to give the signal to your brain that the task that your brain was trying with all its might to avoid was not that big of a deal, is to say: “Do you see it? "Nothing has happened, we are still alive, we are here."

And the second thing is, of course, to motivate yourself. It is saying to yourself: “I have achieved it. What was taking me so long to do, I have done.” This is a small victory that you have to celebrate. What I just did may not be as difficult for someone else, but it is very difficult for me and I have managed to overcome that laziness, that boredom, that fear, that whatever. No one but me knows how difficult it has been for me and for that, I congratulate myself.

And finally, you have to keep two things in mind:

First: overcoming procrastination is very difficult, it is a process that takes time so don't worry if at first you fail, it's normal, don't judge yourself, be gentle with yourself, treat yourself like your best friend, cheer up and come back. to try it. This takes time so take it easy.

And the second thing is that we all procrastinate, it is a very common human way of acting, it is very normal to procrastinate, you are going to continue doing it. The important thing here is that you are clear about when you are going to procrastinate and decide to do it, that you are the one who controls the situation and not the situation that controls you.

Organization methods that help you avoid procrastination

The best way to avoid procrastinating and increase your productivity is to have good organization and planning. Check out our article where we talk about the best organization methods you can use to stop procrastinating and increase your performance.

A hug,