How to Permanently Deal With Procrastination
The one thing I have to deal with the most with the people I’ve worked with is procrastination. It’s by far the single most common problem that people have when it comes to achieving their potential, and it’s a very difficult problem in a lot of ways because the causes aren’t always the same from person to person. There’s also a ton of terrible advice out there about dealing with it, and that bad advice usually treats it as a time management problem.
But it’s not. It’s an emotional and strategic problem, and I’m going to show you how to deal with it from both angles, no matter if you’re dealing with the issue at work or at home.
How to Increase Productivity at Work by Limiting Procrastination
I’m going to jump in to the single most common problem that I see: people putting off things they need to do for work or school. There’s something very insidious about procrastinating in these environments that you may not have considered:
The reason that you continue to procrastinate at these things and in these environments is because it’s always worked before, and you’ve never seen particularly serious consequences that you couldn’t slide your way through as a result of putting things off at work or school.
You’ll see a ton of generic productivity tips, many of which you’ve probably already tried, that try to approach this as a time management problem. But it’s not a time management problem because your current strategy of procrastination is getting most everything done that needs to get done, and as a result, you escape any consequences that might push you to change your behavior.
What you need to realize from this is that changing your procrastination is about more than learning ways to be more productive. You also need to realize that this isn’t happening because you’re a lazy person or inherently bad. Instead, it’s just because your current strategy has worked well enough that you’ve never had a good enough reason to change it from an unconscious, emotional standpoint. You need an internal, emotional shift in how you view your work, and that’s not easy to create, but we’re going to start you down the right direction.
An Emotional Approach to How to Be Productive at Work
There’s a problem that comes up with people who procrastinate a lot, and that’s the fact that they tend to be a bit more logical than those who don’t. At the same time, because the solution to procrastination for most people in most situations is an emotional one, that puts them at an immediate disadvantage because they’re less open to emotional solutions. My suggestion is to try to view the manipulation of your own emotional state as a logical response to what’s going on in your life because it’s your emotional state that’s causing you to feel like not getting things done ahead of time.
So here’s what I suggest if you want to learn how to increase productivity at work (or school). What each of these things have in common is that they’re generally things you don’t want to do but that you need to do for some other reason that will allow you to reach a goal. Your default emotional state is one of resistance because you feel like it’s being forced on you against your will. The solution to this is to make an active choice to pursue your goals.
Once you make this active choice, you’ll actively choose to accept all of the responsibility and grinding work that comes along with it. This is the key to making it work emotionally, which will fuel you to get things done without having to deal with as much inner turmoil or reliance on willpower. Reliance on willpower alone is a losing proposition anyway because it’s in limited supply, and it’s not particularly reliable in general. Instead, making this active choice and consciously talking to yourself about choosing the path you’re on and the work that it involves will help to shift your emotional state in the direction you want it to go in.
How to Be More Productive at Home by Setting Your Intent
Let’s shift our viewpoint for a moment to the idea of productivity away from work and school for just a moment. Instead of thinking about things that we feel like are being pushed upon us, let’s think about things that we assume we actively choose to do instead. Here are a few examples:
- Working out.
- Eating along certain guidelines.
- Putting work in on a hobby.
- Cleaning up our home.
- Doing something for a significant other.
All of these things can either feel like something we want to do and are motivated to do, or they can feel like chores that we are having to force ourselves to do against our will. What we see here is that there’s a tie-in to what we were just discussing about how to be productive at work with situations where we don’t really want to be doing the thing that we feel the need to do. I’m making this connection to show you that productivity in the home, at work and in school are all tied together in a major way, and they all make us suffer from the same sort of procrastination.
But that’s good news, and here’s why: If we beat it in one area of our lives, that provides a blueprint on how to beat it in all areas of our lives. And the way you can beat it in all areas is by setting your intent in a way that you’ve probably not thought about before or seen described anywhere.
Ways to Be More Productive by Manifesting Your Intentions
Think about how you feel differently when you want to do something and when you don’t want to do something. Homework is a common example that most people have experienced at some period of time. There were times when you were driven to do your homework, and you pushed through it feeling like you were being propelled by something with a minimal amount of resistance. Then there were times when you did not feel driven at all to do it, and that’s when things were the most difficult emotionally and in terms of getting the work done.
The difference was that your unconscious mind had manifested an intention to get that homework (or whatever is a better example for you) done in one case, and it hadn’t in the other. That’s the only difference. This means if you can learn how to change your intention on that unconscious level, then you’ll be able to feel an internal and emotional drive to achieve the task at hand, and you will beat procrastination in the process.
Now all you need is a strategy to make that happen. With that in mind, we’re going to look at a strategy for making that intention happen on an unconscious level so that your procrastination naturally falls away.
Productivity Tips: Setting Your Intention and Beating Procrastination Naturally
Consider the following points about how to be more productive at home, work and school from the perspective of triggering your unconscious into a state of intention:
- Your unconscious bases what it feels off of what it gathers through your thoughts and senses.
- Each of your senses combined with speaking and communicating through writing can be used to drive inputs to your unconscious.
- Your unconscious primarily understands positive action statements (like “I am doing X” as opposed to something like “I am not doing X,” which is a negative action statement).
- The unconscious mind communicates back to us in the form of emotions, like a feeling or drive towards doing something.
- The feeling of needing to procrastinate is your unconscious mind communicating back to you based on the inputs it has received.
- If you want your unconscious mind to give you a different set of feelings, then simply change the inputs that it’s receiving.
With all of these points in mind, we have a very clear strategy ahead of us. Simply repeat to yourself over and over what it is that you want to feel like doing in the first person as a positive statement. For example, you could repeat, “I am doing my homework,” over and over again. You can say it in your head, say it aloud, write it down or whatever else, but the point is that your mind needs that input over and over. Give it that input, and it will adjust how it makes you feel.
You can also see how procrastination works with this since it usually involves you reminding yourself over and over that you aren’t doing the thing you need to do. You may keep thinking something like, “I’m not doing my homework right now,” but your unconscious mind turns that into the message of specifically feeling like not doing your homework. If you change the inputs, you’ll change how you feel, and that’s how to beat procrastination consistently.