Research that claims three things can improve your situation, if you are a chronic procrastinator…
- Forgiving yourself.
- Breaking your tasks up into bite-sized portions.
- Treating work like play.
Yesterday, we explored the evidence supporting forgiving yourself, as a way to overcome chronic procrastination. If you missed it, you can catch it here, on my blog.
Today, I would like to take a closer look at ‘Breaking your tasks up into bite-sized portions.’
Cuz Breaking Up is Hard to Do…
It used to be that psychologists thought people who procrastinate have a faulty sense of time, but recent research suggests procrastination is linked to emotional regulation.
There’s no single type of procrastinator, but several general impressions have emerged over years of research.
Chronic procrastinators have perpetual problems finishing tasks, while situational ones delay based on the task itself; that is, when people view a task in an unpleasant manner (“It will be tough, boring, painful…”), they are more likely to put it off.
A perfect storm of procrastination occurs when an unpleasant task meets a person who’s high in impulsivity and low in self-discipline.
One of the things we talked about yesterday is the tendency of the procrastinator to seek short-term escapes to relieve feelings of tension, stress, shame, guilty and so on, but this hinders the procrastinator’s ability to absorb any meaningful insight or lessons from sitting with the tension.
Sirois and Pychyl propose the idea that procrastinators comfort themselves in the present with the false belief that they’ll be more emotionally equipped to handle a task in the future.
Sirois believes the best way to eliminate the need for short-term mood fixes is to find something positive or worthwhile about the task itself, and to break it up into smaller tasks that are manageable and more achievable.
How do you do that?
In addition to breaking up a big task in to bite-sized portions,
here’s a summary of 4 of Dr. Lombardo‘s suggestions…
1. Stop catastrophizing. One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate is because they catastrophize, or make a huge deal out of something.
2. Focus on the benefits, and why its meaningful to you. If you’ve been putting off cleaning out a closet, imagine walking into the closet when it is decluttered and how good that will feel.
3. Set realistic deadlines. You need to schedule when you are going to work on a project and block out that time, just as you would an important meeting. And be realistic about your routines; if you know you’re a night owl don’t plan to get up an hour early to start that new exercise routine–you’ll be setting yourself up to fail.
4. Optimize your environment. Your environment can help or hinder your productivity. During your scheduled block of time for working on a particular task, close your email and IM, turn off your phone.
So as you creep towards 2018 and start to consider those oh-so-important New Year’s resolutions, consider these tips to help you stay on track!
And make sure you check your email, or back here tomorrow, for when we explore how treating work like play, can cure procrastination as well.
Furthermore, I encourage you to check out the amazing discounted offers and FREE trainings I have below, to help expand your horizons and make AMAZING and GROUNDBREAKING changes in your life, in 2018.
As always feel free to replay with questions, comments, concerns, and high fives!
Hope to see you there!