How to Stop Procrastinating
February 8, 2022
Note From Rochelle
It’s your last chance… to sign up for my accountability group. Yup, I’ve got just a few spots left, and I’d really like you to have one of them!
The group will focus on helping you overcome distraction and procrastination, sustain focus, and finish work. This is ideal for writers who want to complete projects, but it can be helpful for anyone who struggles with distraction or focus. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Today’s tip will help you stop procrastinating.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
How to Stop Procrastinating
by Rochelle Melander
Do you struggle with procrastination?
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of writing a book. You’ve thought about the cover and imagined the content, but you can’t seem to write anything.
You know that you need to revise your book before you can sell it, but you’ve started a new book instead.
You need to approach bloggers about marketing your book, and you write the task on your to-do list every week, but you never do it.
Perhaps you think, I’ll do it when I
- have a big block of time
- know more about the topic
- feel inspired
- receive more education
- am closer to the deadline
This is procrastination.
We delay the task we want to or need to do in favor of doing less important work.
Do you believe these myths about procrastination?
People have many beliefs about why people procrastinate. Here are some of the common ones. Perhaps you’ve heard some of them from your friends, boss, or inner critic:
Belief: Procrastinators cannot manage their time. They’re lazy.
That’s a big, bad myth. People who procrastinate are practicing an avoidance strategy. And most procrastinators delay work in only one or two areas of their life, not all of them. They’re perfectly able to do the work in other areas of their lives.
Belief: All procrastination is bad.
This is another myth. According to Tim Pychy, director of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University, “All procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination.” Sometimes delay can be helpful. You have more time to prepare. You are managing your schedule so that you work at the optimum time. Precrastinators sometimes finish a task too soon, before they’ve allowed the idea to fully develop.
Belief: People work best under pressure.
Nope. No matter how many articles try to prove otherwise, no one works best under pressure. Working at the last minute means we rush to get the job done instead of doing a great job. Why? Because doing tasks under stress affects our working memory—that part of the brain that helps us look at all the information, figure out what’s most important, and focus on that. When we work under stress, we end up making more mistakes.
Belief: Procrastination is a trait—you’re born with it.
Myth! Procrastination is learned behavior. It’s a coping mechanism or a habit we developed, often as children or teens, as a reaction to something that we experienced.
Procrastination is a habit we’ve used to:
- avoid difficult feelings
- get out of scary situations
- avoid negative judgments
To overcome procrastination, it is important to connect with the feelings that are creating the block. If you struggle with procrastination, consider…
- what stories are telling yourself?
- what beliefs do you have?
- are they true?
Once you’ve blasted through some of your negative beliefs, you will be better able to apply practical tools to break your procrastination habit.
How to stop procrastinating!
Fun Framing has helped many of my clients stop procrastinating and get stuff done. In the book Super Better, Jane McGonigal defines it like this, “Fun framing is what happens when you decide to do something for the pure pleasure, excitement, or enjoyment of it.”
The idea of fun framing came about when researchers Joseph Ferrari and Dianne M. Tice from DePaul University investigated why people procrastinate. They invited participants to either take a math test or play a math game.
All of the participants were given an hour to prepare by practicing the problems they’d tackle on their test or game. The people who were prepping to play a game were much less likely to procrastinate.
What does this mean for you? Basically, you’re more likely to spend time doing the activities you think are fun and feel fun. So it’s helpful to create a “fun frame” around the activities you tend to procrastinate.
What might that look like?
- Make a game out of the task—race against the clock or a friend.
- Add a fun element. If you have a boring piece to edit or a tedious research task, play music while you work or do it in a fun place.
- Invite a friend to work with you. Connect over FaceTime or Zoom and work together.
- Treat yourself to a favorite cup of tea, something you wouldn’t ordinarily have every day.
In the end, it’s all about how you approach the task. If you can frame the activity as fun, you’ll be more likely to get it done…on time!
NOTE: This article first appeared on Janice Hardy’s amazing blog: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2021/01/procrastination-dump-old-myths-and.html.