How to Stop Procrastinating

Random Observation/Comment #353: I have a procrastination problem, but I’ll fix it later.

see lemons do it later

Why do we procrastinate?

As I mentioned in my earlier post about my unsubscribing spree, we are constantly bombarded with information and we love it because it’s a quick dose of instant gratification. Every time you read a new article or learn a new idea about someone, your brain gets a dose of dopamine as a reward. These string of short term gratifications usually outweigh the larger projects that have a long term reward.  Sometimes it’s because that project is just too large and overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start. Other times, you just feel burnt out with working on so many things that you need to unwind.  Both reasons are good, but how do we fix it?

How do we fix it?

  • Reward yourself in intervals. Try working for 25 minutes straight on that dreaded project and then give yourself a reward with 5 minute break.
  • Create your own deadlines. Set smaller goals within the project or problem and make sure you finish those more manageable tasks with a self-imposed costly deadline. Know that if you don’t finish this one task, there are plenty of other things that will fall.
  • Enjoy the process of achievement. Don’t just focus on the reward of holding the product in your hand or seeing the result, but enjoy each step in getting there. The journey is a big part of the goal.
  • Motivate yourself. Change your mentality by believing you’re doing something great and productive.  Imagine yourself finishing the task and write down the reasons why you want to finish the goal.
  • Remove the temptations. Do not look at that phone. Put it somewhere you can’t see it and turn it off completely because it will just interrupt your train of thought. Put obstacles in front of these tools and force yourself to do the work. (It’s time to uninstall Candy Crush Saga because I’m stuck on level 197).

I personally find my motivation to do my side projects because I truly enjoy them. When you’re working on something you want to do for a career, you’ll find that there aren’t enough hours in the day.  When you’re just doing a job that you hate, you’re counting down each minute and waiting for a new challenge.  The key here is to challenge yourself on the things you want to do and make it a challenge to complete the things you don’t want to do (but have to). Get up and do something.

~See Lemons Stop Procrastinating