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5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

I have a confession to make. I am a procrastinator. Yes, that is right, I am a super lazy procrastinator, and I want to fix this to live the life of my dreams. Reading lots of self-help books have thought me that the first step to solving any problem is acceptance. I needed to accept the fact that I have a problem hence the confession to the dearest people I know, the readers of this article.    

Second step to solve the problem is researching the solution for the problem. After watching many educational videos on YouTube, (some about procrastination) I found one TED Talk that came close to solve my procrastination problem. I am sharing the details of the Ted Talk below and I highly recommend you to watch this one as I believe it will resonate with most of us procrastinators.

Tim hilariously explains how the brain of a master procrastinator is different from a non-procrastinator. Based on this completely non-sciencey talk I have understood my shortcomings and I have developed five steps plan to stop procrastination once for all.    

In the talk, Tim Talks about the mind of a master procrastinator and I believe I am one, well if the shoe fits. Tim says the master procrastinators have an additional operator in their brains called as an ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ beside the ‘Rational decision maker’, which everyone else has.

Long story short the procrastinators lose control of their time as the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ takes charge of their brain and wastes our valuable time and energy on anything fun and easy also completely unnecessary. This ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ ruins most of our rational plans and sabotages most of our projects by wasting our valuable time on illogical monkey business.

The only time this monkey gives up control is when we get into the panic mode just before a deadline. Tim calls this panic mode as when the Panic Monster wakes up and scares away the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’. This gives the ‘Rational decision maker’ a chance to take control. The problem with this situation is that we are left with a fraction of the time to do our project. This also means we end up with a hasty poor performance also sadly lower than our true potential.

The procrastinators face a serious problem when there is no deadline. In absence of the deadline, the Panic mode never strikes and hence the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ never loses control of our brain wasting away our life on meaningless fun and games.

Enough is enough my fellow procrastinators. Let us take back the charge of our brain again. Let us learn to control the monkey by imposing some discipline in our life. It will be hard but it will be worth it as we will complete most of our projects and live a rewarding and content life.   

“If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it.” ― John C. Maxwell, How Successful People Think

Five Steps Plan to Stop Procrastination for Good:

Step 1: Outcome:

Focusing on the Outcome than the tasks of the project can work as the right encouragement or fuel we need to drive our projects.

Step 2: Map:

We are good planners for sure but we lack in execution. In this step, we should focus on the most realistic plan that will work for us. We know our strengths and weaknesses, we can make a feasible roadmap keeping in mind all the hurdles. A detailed map will help us anticipate most of our challenges in advance so we can prepare for them.  

Step 3: Deadlines:

As we saw earlier, deadlines are crucial for procrastinators. Even if we are doing, projects that have no deadlines we need to set them as per our roadmap we prepared in the second step. These deadlines have to be realistic but not lenient. In a case of longer projects, one must break the projects into small chunks and give deadlines for every piece.  

E.q. If your project is writing a novel then you should have a deadline for every chapter or significant segments of the novel.

Step 4: Resources:

Once we have our Map and our deadline the next step is to collect all the necessary resources required for the project. If internet research is required then it makes sense to find out all required information and save it on our computers so we can work offline and avoid distractions like Facebook.

Preparation of resources as per roadmap stops delays helps us finish our task as per the plan.

Step 5: Reward:

A completed project is a reward in itself but we need to have a small recreation, reward or celebration after every successful completion to keep the playful side of our brain content. The tasks that get rewarded have high chances of getting repeated.  

TED Talk: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban (Blogger at Wait But Why)

https://youtu.be/arj7oStGLkU

7 Mind Traps That Steal Our Happiness – Trap 5. Procrastination

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” — Pablo Picasso

Trap 5. Procrastination

Trap 5. Procrastination


We all procrastinate on many things even important things. I think I do it more than others and what’s worse I end up putting the most important things in my life on hold. Procrastination is a bad habit that puts a lot of unnecessary mental strain on us. I always end up regretting about wasted time. I consider this as a very strong mind trap that steals our happiness but the good news is it can be controlled.

“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” — Charles Dickens

Brain Tracy’s is one of the most famous success coaches and he talks passionately about time management. To curb my procrastination habit I took help from Brain’s Tracy’s teachings. The ABCDE Method from his book “Eat That Frog” made a significant change in my productivity and in my life. I am sure it will make a big difference for anyone who will give it a try.

Eat That Frog is simply a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day. When you apply this theory all day, every day, you become a veritable power house of productivity. So not only do you have more time to do the things you love with the people you love, but you also become indispensable to your managers and employers.

What is ABCDE Method?

ABCDE Method is a genius way to organize your work or life or both. I think it is genius because it is extremely simple. All great coaches teach very simple tricks but most of these are highly effective.

In school I had a way to mark important questions or portions of my syllabus. I am sure everyone did this in their school days. Whenever the teacher hinted that this question is important or may come in your final exams I would immediately put a mark on it and while studying gave priority to these questions.

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Now when I am juggling responsibilities of work and home I think a trick like this can come handy. ABCDE method is exactly what I needed. As per this method in the beginning of your day make a list of things you want to accomplish that day. Most of us already have a habit of making a to-do list. The ABCDE method can help you prioritize your tasks and control procrastination.

Step 1: Brain Tracy’s tells us to think on paper. Simply put he tells us to keep a record of our ideas or plans or tasks on paper. So making a list is the first step.

Step 2: Organize the tasks by priority. Categories each item on your list into 5 categories as A, B, C, D and E.

Category A –
• The tasks that come in “A” category are your most important tasks,
• These are highly crucial for your work,
• Success or failure of your day or work depends on these tasks,
• These need your attention and you cannot delegate these to anyone else or avoid them,
• Delay in these tasks puts an adverse effect on your performance,
• These have to be done on priority and should be given enough time and attention so that they are done without any delay,
For example: Writing an article for your client, Preparing a report or Meeting your client.

Category B –
• The tasks that come in “B” category are important something that you should do,
• These tasks are not as important as your ‘A’ tasks,
• There are only minor negative consequences if it is not completed,
For example: Sending a thank you mail to your client or colleague.

Category C –
• The tasks that come in “C” category are nice to do tasks something that you should do,
• These tasks are not as important as your ‘A’ or ‘B’ tasks,
• There are no negative consequences for not completing it,
For example: Having lunch with your colleague.

Category D –
• The tasks that come in “D” category are the tasks that can be easily delegated to others,
• You can assign this task to someone else who can do the job instead of you.

Category E –
• The tasks that come in “E” category are the tasks that can be easily eliminated; whenever possible,
• You should eliminate every single unnecessary activity you possibly can, to free up your time.

When you use the A-B-C-D-E method, you can very easily sort out what is important and unimportant. This then will focus your time and attention on those items on your list that are most essential for you to do.

“You may delay, but time will not.” — Benjamin Franklin

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