A Quick Fix for Procrastination

A Quick Fix for Procrastination

written by: Dr. Steve Levinson
by: Dr. Steve Levinson
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Do you make a habit of putting off doing the unpleasant tasks you know you really should do? If so, you know how exhausting procrastination can be. Heck, it takes lots of energy to avoid doing something unpleasant that you know you must do!

The famous psychologist, William James, put it best when he wrote, "Nothing is as fatiguing as the hanging on of an uncompleted task."

If you're a person who tends to put things off but usually gets them done at the last minute, I have good news for you. Your life is about to get less fatiguing. Yes, you can quit procrastinating today. Seriously!

Just because you procrastinate doesn't mean you're weak-willed or lack the self-discipline that non-procrastinators have. In fact, there's very little "under the hood" that distinguishes someone who procrastinates from someone who doesn't.

When faced with an unpleasant task, procrastinators and non-procrastinators alike are wired to do what they've decided they should do only when they actually feel like they must do it. They get moving when they reach the point where it feels even worse to leave the unpleasant task undone than it does to just do it.

What distinguishes non-procrastinators from procrastinators is that non-procrastinators reach that critical point sooner. In other words, non-procrastinators feel like it's the last minute long before it really is the last minute. So while none of us act until what feels to us like the last minute, for procrastinators, it doesn't feel like the last minute until it really is the last minute!

Once you're able to think about procrastination this way, you're close to defeating it.

Ready? The way to stop procrastinating is to deliberately make the last minute come sooner!

Suppose a report you absolutely dread working on is due in a month. You figure the report will take several extremely unpleasant hours to complete. You truly intend to get the report done sooner rather than later so you can get it off your back, but a voice in your head keeps shouting "I don't wanna do it!" And you keep listening.

So, knowing that you'll end up waiting to act until what feels like the last minute, you deliberately create a new but powerful last minute that comes sooner than the actual due date.

To use an outrageous example to make the point, let's say you write out a check for $5,000 to a political party you absolutely despise, and you give the check to your assistant with strict orders to mail it next Tuesday unless you show up with the finished report before then. Yikes! You'd feel at least as badly about making a generous donation to the enemy as you would about not getting that damned report done on time! So, by deliberately creating a new powerful but sooner last minute, you can put off working on the report until what feels like the last minute, and still get the job done a few weeks early!

There you have it. With a little bit of courage and creativity, you can defeat procrastination just by deliberately making the last minute come sooner.

written by: Dr. Steve Levinson

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