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.