I’m going to share with you the mechanisms behind procrastination, which seem to go unseen once we have established a worthy goal to pursue.
Some methods and processes will aid you in the mitigation of the distracting nature that is procrastination. I intend to shed light on the ‘why’ it occurs and then the most effective tool to combat it.
Understanding the ‘why’ will be invaluable to you, because any tool you then seek to employ against procrastination, will be far more effective.
The Reality of Distraction
Distraction isn’t really a distraction.
A ‘distraction’ WITHOUT the context of a newly desired goal and action is simply just behavioural habits.
For example, if the goal is to start a blog for your business, you would desire to engage in the action of writing regularly in pursuit of that goal.
Say you then intend to make a habit of writing every Monday evening.
However, you procrastinate. You are distracted because you find yourself yet again, lying on your sofa watching your favourite reality TV programme.
This is something you do every Monday evening, and before your goal, something you thought little of. But now, it’s a distraction, it’s labeled as procrastination as it’s getting in the way of where you want to go.
What I’m describing here is not a distraction, rather the habituation of your body and behaviour that is manifesting as procrastination.
Becoming Conscious of the Unconscious
Behavioural patterns in the body are unconscious, or at least subconscious. In this way the body will continue to move in the direction of least resistance.
The familiarity of factors such as the day, time and of course the environment signals an automatic response that goes unnoticed by us.
So, when 8 o’clock on a Monday evening comes around we find ourselves, yet again lying in front of the television in our home.
The analogy I like to use is the concept of autopilot. Your body already knows the journey through the pattern of repetition, and it need not refer back to the mind and thinking processes to know the next steps.
The body likes efficiency, if it can create a habitual shortcut in the body to spare cognitive energy – it will. Needless to say, you don’t need to think about brushing your teeth, putting on a t-shirt or climbing stairs.
These are all shortcuts programmed into your very physiology.
Easy Procrastination Fix
So, we’ve established that procrastination is merely an old behavioural habit or pattern.
Patterns would be a more accurate way of describing what procrastination really is. As you will often find your procrastination manifesting itself in common distractions – scrolling through your phone, youtube videos, television, video games and so on.
What I’m explaining is that these automatic actions we engage in are familiar to us. You would not find yourself being distracted by something unfamiliar. You would not suddenly find yourself finger painting, instead of doing your work.
Here in lies the most effective way to get what you need done.
We must break the pattern of habitual programming through the environment.
Changes to where you are at certain times of day make us very suggestible. Because most people know where they’re going to be on a typical Monday evening; if you then interrupt this pattern, our behaviour becomes more malleable and open to re-direction
I have used this to great effect through going to coffee shops, libraries and even staying late at the office to break the pattern of going home to relax.
When you have eliminated environmental associations with distraction, you are then able to design new ones.
So much so, that I now can’t even go into a coffee shop and not be aware of my propensity to sit down and write – It’s extremely effective.
The answer to solving procrastination doesn’t need to be complicated.
Set the intention. Change your environment, and when your body looks for direction in an unknown space, it will latch onto the authority of your intention; and that’s simply because it has no other choice.
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