Overcome Procrastination by Understanding Why We Do It

We’re all accustomed to procrastination. For so long as people have been round, we’ve been suspending the duties we all know we must always do.

Irrespective of the way you expertise it, procrastination impacts everybody equally. It’s a drive that stops us from creating the life we wish.

This text will break down how procrastination reigns over us so you possibly can simply perceive and apply the methods to beat it.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

The strangeness of procrastination is that we desperately attempt to keep away from a process we’ve picked as one of the simplest ways to spend our time. Why is it we all know what’s excellent however would a lot relatively do anything? 

There are two solutions to that query: Time Inconsistency and The DUST Mannequin.

Time Inconsistency

Time Inconsistency is our mind’s tendency to worth speedy rewards increased than future ones.

The best strategy to perceive this idea is to think about you’re made up of two folks: your current self and your future self. Whenever you set a aim—like beginning a enterprise—that’s your future self. It acknowledges that taking motion on issues with long-term advantages is vital.

Whereas your future self can set objectives, solely your current self can take motion. The issue is that your current self solely cares about immediate gratification. So in case your process doesn’t deliver an instantaneous profit, you’re not going to have any motivation to do it.

This creates a niche between what you wish to do and what you truly do. Your future self desires to work on a facet enterprise, however your current self desires to look at Netflix. This disagreement is the first driver of procrastination.

The DUST Mannequin

Regardless of procrastination being rooted in time inconsistency, our feelings additionally exacerbate the difficulty.

DUST is an easy methodology to establish the feelings triggering procrastination:

Troublesome – Difficult duties result in procrastination. This often occurs once you lack confidence or ability.

Unclear – Unclear duties make it more durable to start out work. It’s because you haven’t given your self a exact consequence to work for.

Scary – Worry is an enormous contributor to procrastination. Our brains are designed to maintain us protected, so they may use procrastination to maintain us in our consolation zone. 

Tedious – Some duties we procrastinate on as a result of they’re boring requirements. They don’t deliver any pleasure or pleasure, however they need to get finished—like filling out a spreadsheet at work.

“Pushing aside a straightforward factor makes it arduous, and pushing aside a tough one makes it unattainable.” – George H. Lorimer

Since our current self isn’t motivated by long-term advantages, we have to transfer future rewards and punishments to the current.  

That’s precisely what occurs once you delay a undertaking till the final minute. You’re feeling a little bit anxiousness main as much as the deadline, however not sufficient to do something about it. Then, all of the sudden, the day earlier than the deadline, the longer term penalties change into a gift concern. So that you write the report proper earlier than it’s due.

In that state of affairs, the report was not a aim of the longer term self. It grew to become an obligation of the current self. 

So to cease procrastinating, we now have to make it straightforward for the current self to really feel motivated and get began. These are two strategies that do exactly that:

Measure One thing

It’s straightforward to really feel uninspired once you don’t know when you’re making progress. That’s why you’ll want to make your success measurable in a roundabout way. Beginning is simple when you realize precisely how a lot nearer your present actions will deliver you to your aim. A good way to make duties measurable is by utilizing visible cues—just like the Paper Clip Technique.

Let’s say it’s important to make 100 gross sales calls in a day. To make use of the Paper Clip Technique, you begin with two jars; an empty one, and one with 100 paper clips. You switch one paperclip to the empty jar for every name you make till you’re finished. 

Visible cues work due to the Endowed Progress Impact—folks change into motivated after they see their progress in direction of a aim. Seeing your progress triggers your subsequent productive motion and provides you a short-term goal.


Probably the most irritating duties are those that take many days to complete—like writing a report. You’ll be able to spend all day working and don’t have anything however an unfinished undertaking to point out for it. It’s the precise sort of labor that induces procrastination.

A superb method for overcoming that hopeless feeling is Chunking. It’s once you break up your giant process into a number of smaller chunks. 

An instance of chunking is the 15-minute routine writer Anthony Trollope used. Relatively than monitoring his progress by the completion of chapters or books, he measured it in 15-minute increments. Each 15-minutes, he would write 250 phrases. His technique gave him short-term achievements whereas contributing to the massive process of writing a e book.

Creating tiny milestones makes it much less daunting to start out duties and provides you extra momentum whereas working. It motivates your current self and contributes to your future self’s aim.

Tackle the DUST Mannequin

To reduce our feelings’ affect on procrastination, we are able to use the next options to handle the DUST Mannequin. These aren’t groundbreaking concepts, however they function a wholesome reminder to take motion once you’re dealing with these feelings (relatively than undergo by means of them).

Troublesome – In case your process is difficult, giving your self plenty of time to complete is without doubt one of the most useful issues you are able to do. Use this further time to study the mandatory expertise and create a correct plan of motion. Doing so may even offer you a rise in confidence.

Unclear – When your to-do record is so unclear it offers you evaluation paralysis, you’ll want to outline a transparent place to begin and finish aim. It’s important to ensure the duty itself is actionable and could be completed. For instance, as a substitute of claiming “Put together for presentation”, say “File myself presenting so I can get suggestions on Tuesday”. This small change offers you a bodily motion you possibly can full.

Scary – When your fears forestall you from transferring ahead with a process, Eradicating the Ambiguity is without doubt one of the finest strategies to observe

Writer Tim Ferriss explains this method in The 4-Hour Work Week. He takes what he’s afraid of and describes each attainable consequence (positives and negatives). Then he measures every potential consequence on a scale of 1 to 10. One being no affect, ten being completely life-changing. 

By doing this, he realized most of what he feared had been momentary three’s and 4’s, and all of the optimistic outcomes had been eights and nines. Which means he’d be giving up a life-changing alternative, due to potential discomfort.

Tedious – When a process’s nature is boring and tedious, the very best resolution is to create an pleasant atmosphere or give your self an incentive. The important thing right here is including as a lot pleasure as attainable.

For instance, if it’s important to fill out a spreadsheet at work, are you able to hearken to music or a podcast? Or make a cope with your self that each 30-minutes, you’ll take a break to stroll or scroll by means of social media.

Procrastination forces most individuals to endure life. They sit, undergo, and cross by means of it—surrendering their alternative to dwell it. I hope this information helps you overcome procrastination so you possibly can create the life you need.

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