Yes, I see the irony. Unless reading our Inspired Daily article is a scheduled part of your everyday work routine, there’s a chance that you’re procrastinating. You are doing almost anything else rather than simply getting on with what you are supposed to be doing. It happens to almost all of us at one point or another. Unfortunately, it’s happening with increasing regularity to almost everybody when they are supposed to be at their most productive.
Before I get to a couple of tips to help you stay on track, let’s look at some rapid fire examples of what stops us from getting started:
- Wow, I am actually really hungry, I better get a snack before I get into this
- Maybe I should read Inspired Daily, I just need some inspiration
- I work better under pressure
- I better check my messages, I am waiting for an important update
- Goodness, that benchtop is filthy, let me just wipe that down before I get started
- Oh wow! (insert name here) just got (fired/promoted/robbed/busted/hooked up/upstaged/embarrassed/harassed/arrested/awarded/rewarded…)
Let’s face it, many of us have never cleaned so diligently, read so intently or absorbed as much near useless data than when we have a looming deadline. It happens – unfortunately.
Great! We’ve admitted there’s a problem, now what?
The next step is always to try and understand a problem. Understanding the problem helps us to adopt or devise solutions that are sustainable rather than band-aid solutions that are temporary fixes at best.
Here’s part of what we know. Firstly, we are very good at associating environment and stimulus with a specific response. At night I go to bed… and fall asleep. I sit on my sofa and… watch TV. I arrive at a coffee shop… I ask for coffee.
Tip: Don’t take your laptop to the lounge room, park yourself in front of the TV and expect to study/work effectively if that’s where you normally binge watch your new favourite show. You’ll end up “just having a quick flick” and that will be that. Construct a work association in a particular place under specific conditions and get to it.
Your brain is full of chemicals and other stuff and no one’s actually certain about what all of it does but we do know that when we’re exposed to certain favourable stimuli, a reaction takes place that releases chemicals making us feel good. Alright, there’s more to it than that but that is definitely the gist. And it’s the reason why, when our mobile device pings and alerts us to the fact that someone:
- Likes our post
- Likes us
- Has sent a message
- Has tagged us or
- Generally given us some attention in some way or another
…we love it and we want more of it. The wanting more is the reason we keep our mobile devices so, SO close. All that is okay but let’s face it, it is burning a hole in our productive “doing stuff” hours. Which is not okay.
Tip: Put your phone on “flight mode” while you work on that one important thing. No pings, no alerts, no messages to stop you from starting.
Tip: There is such a thing as a newsfeed eradicator. Which is great if you can’t stop yourself from scrolling through your feed, robotically looking for something, anything to make you laugh or shake your fist or feel… something. Use it.
Halting procrastination is about understanding your triggers and limiting the negative effects by neutralising or controlling the cause. Remember, getting inspired is only half the battle, now it’s time to go and achieve something.