Is there ever a time and place for procrastination? We often treat procrastination as something we need to control, to give up, to confess to.
Hi. My name is Lynette. I’m a procrastinator. I get high learning new things. Jumping onto the internet for one bit of research and following one link to another link to another is more fun than falling down a rabbit hole. Doing repetitive chores—not so exciting.
Chances are, you are a procrastinator also. Will you ever stop being a procrastinator? No. It’s part of human nature. But there are ways to reprogram yourself. Ways to avoid procrastinating what you want and need to get done.
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Research has shown that people who have seen a digitally aged picture of themselves save more money. The theory is that having seen their older self, they can imagine being old. That motivates them to save for that day.
What if you’re already retired or saving for retirement? Visualization can be your path to productivity. Visualize what finishing the task would look and feel like. If you’re an artist, draw that image. If you use Pinterest, find an image that illustrates your success. Take a photograph. Write a description using specific details. Make it real, instead of something vague.
Nothing More than Feelings
Have a task you always put-off? Notice what you are feeling when you procrastinate. Record those feelings and which tasks they revolve around. At the end of a week or a month, look at what you’ve documented. Find the patterns. Identify the feelings you associate with that task.
Are you tired and can’t concentrate? Perhaps you need to do this task at the time of day when you’re most awake and productive.
Ask yourself why. Why do you not want to do this thing? Explore your feelings.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Gamification turns your boring, dreaded work into a game. Like using a fitness tracker, you earn badges and rewards for each level of accomplishment. The idea is if you consistently reward yourself for the job you put-off you will learn to enjoy the work.
You can use an app to gamify your task. Available apps include Habitica (Apple and Android), Epic Win (Apple and Android), LifeRPG (Android only), Task Hammer (Android only), and SuperBetter (apple & Android). Each app has different features and prices. (I have not used any of these nor am I an affiliate for any of them).
You can also use your own personal way to gamify the task. Use a spreadsheet to track your progress. For example, you achieve x within a certain amount of time, you get 15 minutes of play on your favorite online game. Your rewards increase for increased productivity.
A Time and Place to Procrastinate
Give yourself permission to procrastinate. But keep it under your control. Use a timer. Schedule a day or half-day for procrastination. Many experts recommend taking procrastination away from your regular work area. So when procrastination overcomes you, go into another room. Train your brain to not associate procrastination with your work. Except when it’s taking out the garbage. That one, you’ll need to gamify the heck out of.
Procrastination, Procrastination Go Away
No, no matter what techniques you use or how much you gamify your life and work, you won’t stop procrastinating. Forgive yourself. Give a time and place for your procrastination. Find the tools to be productive in spite of the falling into the occasional rabbit hole.