Beating Procrastination – Part 2

Here is a key finding from the study by Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister is this:  

“The present evidence suggests that procrastinators enjoy themselves rather than working at assigned tasks, until the rising pressure of imminent deadlines forces them to get to work.  In this view, procrastination may derive from a lack of self-regulation and hence a dependency on externally imposed forces to motivatework.”  Self-regulation, self-control, willpower, are all things that we overestimate. We think: “Yeah sure, I will write that assigned paper in 3 weeks.” 
In our minds, we are all geniuses and mentally strong. But when the work comes, we choke quickly.   If you are a procrastinator, you cannot help but delay work. And that is true for the small and the big tasks.  Sure, everybody fears to step outside of their comfort zone — that is why we call them comfort zones. It takes courage to make a bold move. 
But it sure does not take any courage to complete small tasks like paying bills, printing out something for your boss, or doing taxes, etc. 
The truth is: Procrastination has nothing to do with what you are trying to do — whether small or big, it can wait until later. It can always wait, right? 
For many, completing tasks, went like this:  

There comes a moment between the start and end of a task— I choose to call it “the slope of procrastination”—when you give into one distraction. And that is exactly the moment you give up being productive.  You start working on an assigned task, you are excited at first, you’re focused, but then, after some time, you think: Let’s read the news for a second, or log onto Facebook.  

It always starts with just one thing. Then, you think, I might as well watch that movie I recorded last week. Then, a video on YouTube—and then another one. Then, a little bit of FB browsing on the Internet. And so forth.  It always ends with a bang: “This is the last time I am wasting my time!” Yeah, right!  

Willpower Does not Work. Plans Do.  

What you really need is a system, a plan for doing your studies. A lot of people shy away from routines, systems, and frameworks because they want to have “freedom.”  I am sorry to disappoint you: Freedom is your enemy. The fact is that, if you want to get things done, you need ground rules and discipline.  

What are some things that research proved to be effective?  

        • Self-imposed deadlines.  
        • Accountability systems (commitment with friends, or a coach).  
  • Working/studying in intervals.  
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day.  
  • A healthy diet.  
  • Eliminating distractions.  
  • And most importantly: Internal motivation. If you combine the right productivity tactics, you have a productivity system.  

The deadlines create urgency, and accountability will create responsibility, working in intervals improves your focus, exercising will give you more energy, so does a healthy diet, and eliminating distractions will take away the temptations.  But there is no system that can help you if you DON’T have an inner DISCIPLINE, OR drive. People overcomplicate that concept, but it is rather simple: Why is that you do what you do?  Before we go any further you must answer the question but If you do not know. Make something up.  

If you know why you are doing something, even the most annoying tasks become bearable. It will become a part of the bigger picture. 
So, instead of diving into work, take a step back, think about why you do what you do, and then rely on a system or plan that supports that. Not rocket science. Just science.  

–Talks with my mentor and notes, Dr. R. Frazier (The real deal)
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