Welcome to the battle for progressive conscious awareness!
Today’s fight is between the challenger – YOU, and the reigning champ –“Procrastination”!
Alright you two, I want a clean and efficient fight! No eye gouging, no hair pulling, and no ear biting!
The winner gets full control of the conscious willpower of the individual!
I hope you’ve laced up your gloves. Are you ready?! Ring the bell!
5. Start by Asking “Where is Procrastination “Pointing” Me?”
Stop perceiving procrastination as a problem to be overcome, and start perceiving it as a compass pointing you directly toward its own solution.
First on our list is sort of a self-trick, because it’s actually a transcendental, empowering truth in disguise! The key to really start buckling down on procrastination is to:
- Stop worrying about why you’re procrastinating.
- Become consciously aware of what it is that you’re actually doing instead of what you’re “supposed to be” doing.
If you’re avoiding work that others are insisting is of serious importance – and you just can’t get motivated enough to take it seriously (i.e you’d rather do something like read about a topic that genuinely interests you) – your problem isn’t procrastination.
Procrastination is a symptom of your source issue.
Your true problem is an incongruence between your internal, non-conditioned goals and aspirations, and your current external reality.
There’s a difference between procrastinating on something you genuinely want to be doing, and falling back into unconscious“default” behavior mode, where you just succumb to endless internet browsing instead of increasing your knowledge or skill-set.
The internet is the best example of conscious empowerment or unconscious self-abuse.
Unlimited knowledge and distraction are simultaneously at your finger tips.
How strong is your conscious will?
If you take away only one thing from this first suggestion, let it be this: don’t beat yourself up for having previously been led to believe that you need to be doing un-fulfilling work in order to be deemed a “successful” human being.
The majority of dissatisfaction and un-fulfillment in our world is not a result of being lazy and unmotivated; it’s a subconscious response to the fact that you’re engaged in work that is not congruent with who you actually are as an individual.
Let this voice guide you out of the maze of illusions, and into domains of wondrous self-exploration, excitement, and growth!
4. Start With The Hardest Task First!
Note that the hardest task is typically also the most important one for most people.
You shouldn’t be tackling it just because it’s hard or the most important, but because upon completing said task – everything else will be cake in comparison!
Also, you’ll be creating and building motivational momentum as you experience yourself plowing through your most difficult, important, or tedious task(s) first.
This is especially effective when you get your biggest challenge out of the way first thing in the morning/day.
This is a neat little trick you can play with yourself, because it creates elevated mood, confidence, and self-momentum for the rest of your day.
Don’t knock it until you try it!
3. Time Box That Task!
It seems like this article is just destined for one boxing pun after another 😉
Time boxing is an incredibly useful technique that helps get your momentum going in a positive, constructive, and productive direction.
What you want to do is identify a task that you need/want to complete, and set a timer (I use Online-Stopwatch for everything, including writing articles) for say, 20-30 minutes.
The goal of time boxing is to consciously focus only on the work at hand, as intensely as possible for the allotted time.
This is a critical point of time boxing: the entire purpose of this activity is to focus ONLY on the task you wish to accomplish. While that timer is ticking, you do nothing BUT that one task.
No checking Facebook.
Nothing but the task until that timer goes off.
Then when the time goes off, you give yourself complete and total permission to stop working.
Knowing your work time is finite not only increases your mood and focus, but it also prevents you from over-thinking about variables that don’t matter. Instead of aimlessly spinning your wheels while things continue to be left unfinished, time boxing allows you to neatly and quickly nip that issue in the bud.
The real beauty with time boxing however, is that after that 20-30 minutes you’ll be so “in the zone” – you’ll actually prefer to continue working!
Time boxing makes you more conscious of the fact that it’s not really fear, anxiety, or procrastination that’s stopping you; it’s simply a matter of overcoming the initial momentum of those emotions!
It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill. When it crests, you can let go and everything works itself out naturally as a consequence.
It suddenly becomes blatantly obvious that the true challenge is enduring the pre-cresting period – not the final goal itself.
Learning to “create the conditions” that allow for increasing personal momentum via action is incredibly self-empowering!
2. Make Time for (Guaranteed) Fun!
If you consistently schedule yourself a period of the day where you’re guaranteed uninterrupted time to enjoy your favorite activity/method of relaxation – you’re essentially re-wiring your risk/reward system.
This is the same concept as “re-conditioning yourself”.
What you’re actually doing is allowing yourself to create feelings of excitement regarding the fact that you’ll get to do something you enjoy later in the day, week, etc.
This can often make it easier to move through work that might not necessarily be exhilarating, but needs to be done.
“Batch” this suggestion with the time boxing tip above, and you’ll really be packing some punches ;).
You’re far more likely to maintain self-discipline and action if you’re rewarding yourself for doing so.
Don’t settle for society’s risk/reward system; build your own!
This is also incredibly empowering for anyone who has ever experimented with this approach. I use it on days where I feel a bit too “meh” to hit the gym, but I know my routine and progress depend on it.
So, what I do is imagine the lunch I’ll be able to make and enjoy after my workout. Sometimes I’ll just start making lunch, and that’s enough of a catalyst to make me want to hit the weights for 60-90 minutes.
Every single time I do this, I get to the gym and think “Man, the hardest part is always just getting started; once I’m here, everything’s awesome!”.
Which brings us to our final punch-tastic, procrastination-pummeling point…
1. Just Get Started NOW!
If you’ve been paying attention to the several points above, you’ll notice that “just getting started” is one of the most common denominators regarding procrastination.
This is because the hardest part is always going to be going from your “Zero Point” (point of complete rest) to your “Non-Zero Point” (anything that’s more than complete rest). Newton’s First Law of Motion graces us with its presence yet again.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small these steps are; what appears easy to one person is a nightmarish, bang-your-head-against-the-wall-fest for another. This is why it’s incredibly important not to confuse other people’s goals with your genuine goals.
Missing that first step will simply have you spending your time boxing shadows instead of procrastination.
Time boxing is a fantastic way to “just get started”. As we revealed above, it will often create the conditions necessary to allow you to just keep working (taking action). You’ll probably end up working longer than you would have if you didn’t implement that strategy.
If you can muster the courage to start saying “no” to the people, places, and activities that are incongruent with you, you’re making progress.
If you can then muster further courage to begin consciously replacing those things with people, places, and activities that are congruent with you who actually are as an individual, reality then opens up and becomes a treasure trove of opportunity.
The only condition is that you start becoming more conscious and deliberate with how you’re investing your time and energy – beginning right NOW.
Learning to gradually cope with, and eventually overcome, your own personal desire to procrastinate is a huge step forward in the right direction.
No longer will your life be a series of distractions, each baiting and pulling you in different directions.
No more will everything appear to be urgent and require your attention immediately.
You’ll learn to “have eyes” for what’s truly worth doing, and what’s a genuine waste of time.
Mastering your time and attention is the true secret to mastering your life across the domains of career, relationships, health/fitness, and hobbies. Until you begin doing so, you’re reality will be contingent on people and organizations who have already done so.
So lace up those gloves, move (don’t stick!), and refuse to stay down for the count! 🙂
Jason Demakis is a psychology & philosophy-based personal development writer, certified personal fitness trainer, and nutritional consultant. With a focus on prioritizing conscious decision making and behavior, Jason strives to motivate and inspire others to achieve their true potential and fulfillment. You can find more of Jason’s writing via his personal website, JasonDemakis.com.