How To Eliminate Procrastination For Good And Make Sure It Never Comes Back


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Hey everyone, Kosio Angelov here, founder of High Performance Lifestyle. In today’s episode, I want to give you a proven, very effective but very simple framework for curing procrastination. I believe that procrastination, although it’s very innocent and we all do it, it can really destroy your productivity, especially if you’re procrastinating on an ongoing basis, or you’re putting something off which is so important that a project, or your entire team, cannot move forward just because you’re putting something off.

Whether procrastination is part of your life right now or not, I believe this framework is really going to help you, because sooner or later, you’re going to face it. It’s just unavoidable. It’s such a natural process for all of us that you really need to be prepared for when procrastination comes, or if it’s currently part of your life, you should really eliminate it before it becomes a big problem.

The Most Common Reasons For Procrastination

Before we get into the actual framework, I believe we should first examine the most common reasons for procrastination. Because if you don’t know the reason behind doing something, or in this case, behind not doing something, then the framework and the system is not going to be as effective.

Let’s dig into the most common reasons for procrastination.

The “snacking” conundrum

First, we have what I call “snacking”. What do I mean by “snacking”? We live in a society and in a world where snacking is very natural. Instead of going for a full healthy meal, we choose a quick snack. Instead of reading an entire book, we choose to go online and find the CliffsNotes or find the quick summary. Instead of picking up the phone and calling somebody and have a meaningful conversation, we choose to go on Facebook and to “like” somebody’s post or leave a comment. All of this, I call “snacking”.

Essentially, snacking is the natural need for all of us for instant gratification. Instead of doing something that’s going to take more effort, but there’s going to be a bigger output at the end, we choose to do something that’s going to give us a quick fix – something quick that we can use right now. This need for instant gratification is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination.

Fear

Next, we have fear. It can be fear of the end result, it can be fear of the actual activity that you’re postponing, it can be fear of feeling inadequate once you do it, or feeling judged. Fear can come in many different shapes and sizes, but fear overall can be a very big reason for procrastinating.

Ease

Next we have ease. What do I mean by ease? Technically speaking, it’s always going to be easier not to do something than to do something.

Lack of motivation

Next on the list, we have lack of motivation. Let’s face it: if you don’t have a good enough reason to do something, you’re simply not going to do it. It only makes sense. We only do stuff that we find a reason for, it makes sense. If you don’t have a good enough reason, if you’re lacking the motivation, procrastination is going to come very naturally for you.

Bad habit

Next on the list, we have bad habit. What do I mean by that? Maybe you started by fearing something, or maybe you chose to procrastinate because it was easier, and you did it on an ongoing basis. You did it time and time again, and then it became a habit. Although the initial reason for procrastination might not be there anymore, you might be doing it because you’ve created a habit. You’ve created a natural process for yourself. If you encounter something that you’re not really sure that you should be doing or you’re not sure what the end result is going to be, you naturally choose to go back to your habit and procrastinate.

What about you?

Finally, we have a question mark. What is your reason? Your reason for procrastination? It might be a combination of the ones we discussed; it might be just one of them. It might be none of them, because let’s face it: these are the most common reasons for procrastination, but that doesn’t make them yours.

Action Step:

Take some time now, take maybe 3 or 4 minutes; choose an activity that you’ve been procrastinating, and find what the reason behind your procrastination is. If you don’t really know the reason, if you don’t deal with the reason, then the framework is not going to be as efficient. It’s still going to really help you, but it’s not going to be as effective. So take a couple minutes right now and figure out what your reason for procrastination is.

 

The Procrastination Cure System

how to eliminate procrastination

Okay, now that we know the most common reasons for procrastination and now that you figured out what your specific reason is, let’s get into the actual framework so you can eliminate procrastination once and for all.

how to beat procrastination

It all starts with having a good enough reason, because as we discussed earlier, if you don’t have a good enough reason, if you don’t have a minimal amount of motivation, you’re simply not going to take action.

So the question then becomes, how do you find a good enough reason? Here’s a technique I’ve been using for many years that’s very simple, very quick, and it’s going to give you a good enough reason to start doing whatever it is that you’re procrastinating. The technique is called “creative brainstorming” and it works like this: you come up with a few reasons to take action, and then you come up with even more reasons – and they don’t have to be realistic, but they need to be connected to the first two.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say that the action you’ve been procrastinating is to go out every morning and to take a 30 minute jog. Let’s go through finding a good enough reason. Let’s say that because you’re going to take that jog in the morning, you’re going to get more energy, and because of that extra energy, when you go to work, you’re going to connect with people a little bit better.

And because now you’re influencing people and you’re connecting better, that big sales meeting next week is going to be all yours. And because you have that extra motivation and extra energy, you’re going to completely knock that meeting out of the park. And now you’re going to get a promotion, and because of the promotion, you’re going to have a little bit more extra money, and now you can take your family on a nice long vacation.

You started with jogging in the morning, and you went, in just a couple of seconds, all the way up to taking a vacation.

If you do this process, you just need to come up with a few reasons, and somewhere in the middle of the process, you’re going to get really excited about taking action. The first few need to be realistic; they need to be something that’s actually doable. But above those, as long as you come up with reasons that are connected to the first few, you’re going to tip the scales in your favor, and you’re going to eventually find a good enough reason that’s going to motivate you and really push you forward to taking action.

do it first thing in the morning

Step #2 is do it first thing in the morning. We know from science that your willpower is at its highest in the morning, and it makes sense, because you’ve been asleep for 7, 8 hours; you’re physically charged up. You’re in the right mindset. When you try to introduce change or take action on something that you’ve been procrastinating for a long time, it’s going to be much easier to do that change in the morning, when you’re physically charged up, when you’re mentally charged up, and when your willpower is at its peak. If you can do it first thing in the morning, that’s the ideal scenario. But if it’s something that you cannot do in the morning, try to schedule it as early in the day as possible.

start small

Next, we have start small and build up. If you go from not taking action to taking the full action in one swift move, you might overwhelm yourself and you might reverse back to procrastinating. In the example of jogging in the morning, instead of going from not jogging at all to 30 minutes each day, schedule 2 minutes. Schedule to go out and run for 2 or 3 minutes. Get used to that, then make it 5. Get used to that new change, and then make it 10, make it 15. Slowly build all the way up to 30 minutes.

Take the action you’ve been procrastinating, figure out what the smallest amount of action that you can take is, and then do that. So floss one tooth or write one sentence. Go jog for 2 minutes. Take the smallest amount of action, and then slowly build up. This is the way you’re going to make lasting change and you’re not going to overwhelm yourself, and it’s that much easier to make small things happen than one big change.

eliminate friction

Next, we have eliminate friction. Eliminating friction means making taking action as easy and swift as possible, because when it’s the morning and you just woke up and you want to go have that jog, but all of a sudden you cannot find your iPod – and it might seem trivial, but that might be enough friction for you to go back to bed and not make that jog in the morning.

The way to eliminate friction is to take a couple minutes and visualize yourself from the point of waking up all the way up till you’re actually jogging, and figure out all the small steps that you need to take. What shoes are you going to wear? What clothes are you going to wear? Are you taking your keys? If you’re taking your keys, where are your keys? If you’re going to take an iPod, is it charged? What music is going to be on it? Then once you leave the house, do you go left, do you go right?

Although these seem like small little things to take into account, one of them can really break your new change and all the momentum you’ve built. It’s important to really lay everything out, plan everything in advance, and the next day you can just go straight out of bed and go straight into the jogging. Leave your jogging shoes right next to your bed. Lay out all your clothes the night before. Charge your iPod. Get your keys. If you’re taking water, figure out, is it a bottle? Are you going to drink the water beforehand or after you come back?

Figure out all the smallest details so then when the morning comes and everything is screaming “No, change is too hard!”, when all the voices in your head are screaming “Go back to bed,” you really have nothing stopping you from going straight out of bed all the way up to jogging. Eliminating friction means planning for all those small details and making taking action as easy as possible.

how to not procrastinate

The last piece of the procrastination cure system is accountability. Accountability basically means finding somebody other than yourself to hold you accountable. It can be a family member, it can be a friend. It can be anybody who you’re basically comfortable sharing that you’re trying to make a change, you’re trying to eliminate procrastination, and for them to really just be there for you.

They don’t really have to do a lot; as soon as you share with them that you’re trying to make this change into your life, it’s going to create a good amount and good kind of social pressure, because the next morning when you’re trying to go and take your jog, if you don’t take action, you know that you’re accountable not only to yourself, but to a third party. Sometimes that accountability can be the extra nudge that you need in order for you to put this framework into action and actually go out there and do the action that you’ve been postponing.

Find somebody that you’re comfortable with sharing this whole framework with and just check in with them every day. Just a quick phone call, “Hey, this is what I did today. I did what I was supposed to do.” That’s it. It doesn’t take too much of your time, it doesn’t take too much of their time. But just the fact that you know that there is somebody out there that’s going to hold you accountable is going to make the process that much easier for you and that much more effective.

And there you have it: the procrastination cure framework for eliminating procrastination or for preventing it from really becoming a destructive force to your productivity.

Over To You Now

But now it’s up to you to take action and implement all of this into your life, because all we’ve discussed today is very nice, but if you don’t put it to use, then essentially, it’s all a waste. So go out there, take action, make things happen, and I’ll see you next time.

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What other techniques have you used to defeat procrastination? Share in the comment section below: