How to overcome procrastination in an efficient way

While procrastinating writing my new blog, I remember how many University and PhD students looked me up to solve their problems around procrastination. But before we think that it is something that merely belongs to students, lets admit that we all procrastinate. As a solution, social media is overloading us with tips and tricks on how to overcome procrastination and get more productive. However, lets be honest. All my clients coming to me already knew those tips and tricks, and still hasn’t changed anything in their way of working. This article is about the deeper emotional reasons that trigger us to put off our tasks. Only if we discover those reasons, we can actually start learning how to cope.

Procrastination is not the slightest bit logical.

It is the result of the emotional part of our brain. The logical part of our brain leaves us the moment we choose distraction over work. Procrastination is irrational. Why else we would do something that we know beforehand that it will have negative consequences? How many times I hear from my clients that they will lose their job, they will fail their University performances, risk their PhD, or even risk their relationship, risk their financial safety and even their residency. There is no consequence high enough to stop procrastinating…

So why can’t we resist the impulse of procrastination?

We engage in this irrational cycle of procrastination because of our inability to manage our negative moods related to our tasks. So it is not about the skills of managing time, make a good planning or discipline.  It is about coping with our emotions like fears, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, sadness, resentment, self-doubt, or anything else we are going though in that moment. And on top of that, it is the self-judgement that paralyses us even more at the end. You are lazy! Worthless! Shameful! Ridiculous! And yet even this doesn’t stop us and we will repeat it the next time.

The steps to walk through in therapy to achieve an efficient coping.

  1. First of all give you some slack! Procrastination is a human condition. We are not different than the rest, we must stop comparing and imagining the whole world is productive except us. 95% of people admit to putting off work.
  2. Instead of self-judgement, mobilise your internal coach.  Understand the triggers. Stop the blame game and forgive yourself!
  3. Approach yourself with self-appreciation. You must have a valid reason for procrastinating, so take the time to be aware what is going on. 
  4. Turn your attention to your internal conflict. Identify the emotions, understand the triggers and comfort yourself.  Turn the negative feelings into positive.
  5. Now that you will feel  at peace, turn your attention back to the tasks. The time has come to use the well known tips: 
  • Open the task, start with just anything!
  • Chop the tasks in smaller ones!
  • Make deadlines!
  • Make priorities!
  • Be realistic about your capabilities and focus!
  • Disconnect distractions!
  • Reward your achievements!

Remember that it took long-long years to master our procrastination skills so it will also take time to increase our self-awareness. The key is to pause and reflect on what emotions are getting on the way.

Are you ready to learn more about your emotions, make an appointment for a free initial talk in my practice.

Enikö Hajas

Born into a diplomat family in Hungary, I lived in Vietnam, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. My lengthy experience of understanding different cultures makes it natural for me to work with any nationalities.

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