Procrastination should be considered one of the most wanted killers of dreams. When we procrastinate, we send a message to our brain that the task we are putting off is not important enough so we can focus on other things (normally looking for short-term gratification).
How to stop procrastinating and study? Let’s think of this. You have a big homework to do but you love a show on TV and today is the last episode. Or today there is an important baseball match and your homework can wait a little bit more. Anyway, it won’t go anywhere, right?
Are you identified with these thoughts? Don’t worry, that’s normal. I had the same problem but now I’ll show what I’ve learned.
The Total Disease
Now, I want to invite you for a trip. It’s time to imagine that we are inside of your brain and we can look at what’s happening with tremendous levels of clarity. We are hanging around, having a walk and suddenly we see how your mind notices something important. “That’s a task I should be doing, in fact”, it thinks.
The message will be sent to your body as little feeling of anxiety because it’s the way that our body prepares itself for action. You receive some levels of eustress (positive stress. Call for action) and your body is ready to take the task.
But… hang on… what’s going on? Why are you still there waiting for something else? You should be moving forward to your task.
And here, you start overthinking. Analyze the consequences and the probabilities are one of the gifts we have as human beings. The problem is when we use them to do nothing.
So, you are there doing nothing. At this moment your brain will interpret this response like a problem with the level of eustress he sent a few seconds ago so it thinks “maybe it was not enough, I need a little bit more”. If you don’t take action immediately this process will be repeated and repeated.
After a while, you feel overwhelmed. Why? Because a high amount of stress is not eustress but distress.
Distractions Or Distress
Distress will be the bad guy of this wonderful story. Distress has the power to hold you back in your desire to accomplish something because it will immerse your body in a bad mood (negative feelings, wrong associations, bad memories, disempowering questions and more). This state of mind will be related to your task, therefore, your brain will create a sense of pain.
You get some distractions, some mental sugar to recover the good state of mind and just feel relaxed. One hour later, your mind remembers you that there is a task without being accomplished yet. You focus on the task and the previous results appear again. You end up with distress, again.
After the 7th, 8th or 9th attempt your brain creates the habit to associate that task as something bad for you. It is protecting your integrity and your health.
It’s incredible how many people and programs out there teach us that the problem is the distractions. That’s incorrect! Sometimes we have the willpower to eliminate all our distractions and we end up thinking about what we have to do tomorrow and what we did a week ago. These are forms of distractions too.
Roots are inner our head, not outside. We have generated massive amounts of distress and our brain wants to avoid those bad feelings, that’s it!
The Total Cure to Stop Procastinating
Take massive action! This is the cure to everything in life.
Let’s go back to our story. We are in your head, your brain creates that amount of stress to make you take some actions and you do it, what do you think it is going to happen? That’s right! Nothing. But the good news is that your brain is not going to relate your task with pain.
After all, you start accomplishing that task and you start feeling something good. It’s a little bit weird but you have even a higher level of energy than when you started 30 minutes ago. Why? Because your brain will understand that you are using it to solve problems and it will you some pleasure. Endorphins are now in your system and you feel fantastic.
What Do We Learn?
Again, take massive action! Stop overthinking things. If you feel that you have to do something, DO IT NOW! Your brain will reward you. One day, three hours, one minute, five seconds later, it is too late. It’s now!
Act when your heart is burning. Sometimes we feel inspired and we delay the power of this because “it is not time to think of that”. No, stop what are you doing and follow your intuition. Take massive actiooooon!
Hang on! If you’re driving please take again the steering wheel. I’m not talking about to stop doing tasks that can’t suddenly be stopped. I’m talking about that stop following disempowering behaviors to adopt this new perception of life.
Never forget that this is a muscle. At the beginning will be really hard because your brain has associated much pain to many tasks that you have been delaying during your entire life but with some time you’ll do it better and better. After several weeks you’ll notice that you find solutions immediately and you’re completely focused on achieving results and tasks accomplished.
Your self-esteem will grow to the sky because you’ll be able to achieve more things in less time, your levels of productivity will be amazing. You’ll be completely astonished by your outcomes. It happened to me!
Do You Need A Pill For The Pain?
Become self-disciplined is really hard when you’re beginning. You should take some psychological vitamins in the journey.
Psychological vitamins that you can use to make this process easier are the following:
- Have SMART Goals: when you have specific goals your brain will be focused on the accomplishment of the task with more attention. Why? Because your brain will understand that there is something higher after that task. This fact is extremely important. Usually, our task won’t be the most exciting of all but if you’re focused in your goal (the reason why you are doing that task) it’s much easier to your brain keeps you motivated to finish it.
- Visualization: live the life you want before you start living it on reality. Feel intense and vividly moments of your new life with all your goals already accomplished. Look at that person you want to become and feel that you are that man/woman. After this exercise, you’ll create a huge amount of energy to finish any task you have no matter the size.
- Avoid the to-do list: this is critical. Don’t use a to-do list because it’s a trap. Sometimes we can think that we increase our productivity using it but there are many days where we finish it feeling that we did not do very much even accomplish it totally.
- Prioritize: focus on important tasks. This point is linked with the previous one. In many situations, you’ll have to sacrifice some tasks but don’t worry about it! Remember, results are aligned with pleasure and the higher it is, the higher the pleasure.
If you’ve enjoyed this post please let me know in the comments below. Do you think there is something else we can use to improve our ability to stop procrastinating? Share it with us, please.