Procrastination is one of the main barriers blocking you from getting up, making the right decisions and living the dream life you’ve thought of. Hypnosis can help you change your habit of putting things off.
Recent studies have shown that people regret more the things they haven’t done than the things they have done. In addition, feelings of regret and guilt resulting from missed opportunities tend to stay with people much longer.
Sometimes all our opportunities seem to be at our fingertips, but we can’t seem to reach them. When you procrastinate, you waste time that you could be investing in something meaningful. If you can overcome this fierce enemy, you will be able to accomplish more and in doing so better utilise the potential that life has to offer.
We now know that the world today is conducive to procrastinating and learning how to overcome it is, therefore, one of the most important skills you can learn.
Kicking the Procrastination “Habit”
Why we do it, and tools to help us stop
Mar 13, 2013
Checking it off your list Source: Image courtesy of Pixabay. Free for commercial use. No attribution necessary.
In my high school and college years, I was a notorious procrastinator. For me, procrastination was like a sub-par anti-anxiety drug that provided minimal, brief respite before leaving me with a horrific hangover. And yet, it took me a while to kick the habit.
In order to conquer procrastination, I had to get to know it intimately, to recognize it’s siren song, distinguish it from other “tools” I could use, and add those more effective tools to my “getting-things-done” toolbox.
What is (and isn’t) Procrastination?
Put simply, procrastination is putting off either starting or completing something that we’ve consciously agreed to do. It’s not the same as actively choosing to begin a project at a later time (either because there is adequate time, or because the benefits outweigh the costs of doing something right away).
Additionally, procrastination is different from prioritizing another task as more pressing and thus, attending to that task first. Being able to prioritize is adaptive.
Finally, procrastination is unrelated to how smart or capable we are. Lot’s of very smart, capable people procrastinate.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Putting things off can temporarily reduce our anxiety about a task, alleviate boredom or other unpleasant feelings associated with the work, and can allow us to indulge our impulses to do more interesting things. The problem is that in the long term, people who procrastinate tend to do less well on tasks than they would have otherwise, and some never reach their goals. In the end, procrastination often creates more problems than it solves.
Eight Common Reasons Why We Procrastinate
Some of the most common reasons for procrastination are:
- Not liking an aspect of the task at hand
- Anxiety. In the short term, avoiding the task reduces anxiety. In the long term, however, task avoidance tends to increase feelings of anxiety and self-blame.
- Worrying we will fail
- Worrying we will succeed. Sometimes we are consciously or unconsciously conflicted about achieving a goal. Weight loss, professional success, and finishing school are some common examples of goals where this is an issue. For example, feeling undeserving of success, or believing that success will threaten someone close to us are common reasons why people may repeatedly sabotage their goals via procrastination.
- Lacking confidence that we have the ability to complete the task. This is also known as “low self-efficacy.” If you think you can’t do something, you are unlikely to stick with it.
- Difficulty with concentration and focus. This can lead us to be easily distracted by external factors, like the beep of incoming emails, or by internal factors, such as the impulse to surf the internet (e.g., “Oh wait, I just need to check online to see what the Kardashians wore to the Oscars….”).
- Having a hard time breaking the larger goal down into smaller, discrete tasks
- Believing we will have to work all of the time in order to finish something
The good news is that there are a variety of things we can do to stop procrastinating and get things done. Commonly recommended tools, usually used in some combination, are cognitive-behavioral strategies, insight-oriented therapy, and mind-body techniques such as guided imagery, hypnosis or mindfulness meditation. Furthermore, one of the simplest but most effective strategies is to break large, daunting goals into discreet, manageable tasks. Completing each task gives us evidence of success, and decreases the anxiety related to the larger aim.
These approaches can help foster a greater understanding of what has been getting in the way of completing things, and help us to interrupt the typical chain of thoughts-feelings-behaviors by substituting new and more effective behaviors.
For myself, cognitive behavioral strategies and self-hypnosis have been particularly effective tools for getting things done. I have happily kicked the procrastination habit, and I don’t miss it one bit.