BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top ... How to overcome procrastination

BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top ... How to overcome procrastination - Incentivise yourself. Describe how you feel about what you haven't got round to, then describe how you'd feel if you had. The contrast between guilt and relief or delight can be enough inc

by OCTAVIUS BLACK is co-founder of The Mind Gym,www.themindgym.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Incentivise yourself. Describe how you feel about what you haven't got round to, then describe how you'd feel if you had. The contrast between guilt and relief or delight can be enough incentive to get us going.

Devote five minutes to the task. Then decide whether to spend another five minutes. Often a challenge becomes easier once we have started. Also, having given up five minutes, we don't want to feel it was wasted, so we carry on and complete the job.

Imagine you are yourself tomorrow. Conduct a conversation in your head between 'me today' and 'me tomorrow' about when you are going to complete a particular task. The influence of knowing how you will feel tomorrow may persuade you to do it today.

Decide what really matters. 'Action illusion' is a common procrastination trick whereby we fill our time with trivial tasks in order to justify putting off the unpleasant task - remember exam revision timetables?

Replace 'fear of failure' with 'chance to learn' and embrace the opportunity. Worrying that we may not succeed at something is a classic cause of procrastination. The only failure is in not giving it a go.

Reward yourself for getting boring tasks out of the way quickly. Such tasks are usually easy and so will not take you long to complete.

Make a commitment to someone else and ask them to check up on you - the potential embarrassment of failing to deliver will spur you on.

Look forward to the good times. Putting off unpleasant tasks stands in the way of true contentment. Getting things done will allow you future enjoyment.

Decide what you can actually do. Focus on completing that rather than worry about what's beyond your control.

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