Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Simple Exercise to Help With Procrastination

We Procrastinate if Something is Difficult, isn't it??

Sometimes we procrastinate because we feel the task in front of us is impossible or too difficult to do. We find it totally unpleasant and want to avoid it at all possible cost.

Just imagine, that you find something easy to do and the work is important also. Would you keep on postponing it and running into problems? I doubt it.. Why not just finish the work and get over it, right?

But imagine another scenario where you have to do an important work, but you feel scared or negative about it. You have doubts in your mind and you are visualizing a negative outcome. You find that work awfully boring, time-consuming or just too difficult.

What would you do in the latter case? Most people would try to avoid it or atleast postpone it till the last possible moment. Wouldn't you do the same too?

So you see, procrastination can be caused because we find the work too difficult. In other words, we are looking at just the negative aspects of the task at hand. We are looking at the difficult parts of the work, those aspects which we find unpleasant or boring or overwhelming, isn't it?

Help With Procrastination By Shifting Our Focus:
What if we decide to shift our focus from the unpleasant aspects of the task to pleasant ones? Do you think it would make a difference? Do you think you would be more likely to get the work done?

The question now arises - how can we shift our focus in order to overcome procrastiantion? How can we make our mind dwell on the positive aspects of the task? How do you stop procrastination?

I came across a very beautiful article on this topic - a question of focus, which mentions a simple exercise on how we can put our focus on anything we want. The exercise works on this premise - the more we focus on a particular thing, the more we begin to notice it around us.

So if you focus on the negative aspects of a task, you are likely to think of more and more things that you don't like or find difficult related to the task you have to finish. Which makes it all the more difficult and you begin to procrastinate more.

If you read the article I linked to above, then you might have read about the little color exercise mentioned in it. This exercise can help us improve our perspective so that we can overcome procrastination.

Adapting This Simple Exercise to Eliminate Procrastination:
I won't mention the exercise here as you can read it from the original site. I will just mention how it can be adapted so that we use it to fight procrastination of doing something.

Remember our goal of this exercise is to get an important task done - you can decide whatever task you want to work on. So according to the premise of the exercise - the more we focus on something the more we begin noticing it.

If you feel a particular task as difficult - challenge yourself to think about those aspects of the task which are easier to handle, which you are confident of doing without much problem. Think of anything related to the task - no matter how small.

Keep thinking of the easier aspects of the task. After some time - you might begin to notice more and more things that are easy for you to do related to this task. Earlier you didn't pay much attention to these things. If you are doing this exercise whole-heartedly, then definitely you will begin to see many things that you find easy.

Soon enough, you might get motivated sufficiently to stop procrastinating and start your work on the task.

Lets take another scenario. Suppose you don't find the task difficult, but you find it extremely boring. You cannot bring yourself to do it as it bores you to death.

What would you do in this case. Simple - focus on those aspects which you find interesting atleast a little bit. The more you focus, the more aspects are likely to come up in your mind.

Soon enough you might start enjoying this task. You can imagine how useful this technique can be in learning to like things that we need to do on regular basis but earlier we couldn't bring ourselves to do it.

It Takes Practice..
I am not saying that this technique is easy to use. Initially, it might be difficult and you might not feel like using this technique. But with practice, it can become easier and you might soon find yourself able to deal with procrastination in a healthy manner and get your work done on time.

Try out the exercise a few times and see if it has been of any help with procrastination or not.

Procrastinating is a habit just like any other bad or good habit. There is a good resource to learn how to overcome procrastination and also end other bad habits in 21 days or less. Check it out here - Habit Busting & Defeating Procrastination

Related Articles:
1. The Causes of Procrastination -
The different causes of procrastination and general solutions
2. Stress Reduction
3. 1 Habit That can Ruin Our Communication Skills -
Find out how you can improve your people skills and assertiveness if you are able to give up 1 bad habit

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