How A Positive Mindset Can Beat Procrastination
In our recent blog post, we discussed the many reasons as to why you may find yourself procrastinating. One of which, may be due to laziness or feeling the need to rebel. When it comes down to it, procrastination is often an avoidance of pain. No matter whether that type of pain is fear, vulnerability, conformity or boredom, they can each bring on a level of discomfort. Overcoming this problem requires identifying the root of the source and moving forward from there to make valuable changes. Let’s discuss the lack of a positive mindset a bit deeper.
Maybe you don’t have a procrastination problem as much as you have a passion problem. You’ve heard it before; if you’re doing work you love, then you’ll never really feel like you’re working. This is because the enjoyment derived makes it feel like a hobby rather than a chore. You feel like you’re fulfilling your purpose, and there’s little need to motivate yourself each day because it’s already there. However, the opposite can also be true. If you really don’t like your job, you’ll likely see it as a burden. You won’t feel motivated and you would do almost anything to avoid it. While it’s often easier said than done, finding your passion and a sense of purpose in your career is what will truly help you to not see your tasks as mundane or tedious or tiresome. As the saying goes, “whatever the heart feels the mind will see.”
Of course there’s also the possibility that the tasks ahead of you are simply unpleasant. The laundry that’s piling up? Those expense reports you’ve been putting off for months? Dealing with tech support? We all have things that we know must be done, but simply just don’t want to carry them out. Imagine starting that next task you despise. You’re going to feel something displeasing. Just thinking about it, let alone actually doing it, can cause our minds to stray to something else. Here’s the thing. Humans are not built for 24/7 productivity, and no one perfectly manages their time every single second of the day. So, yes, we’re all going to be lazy every now and then, but there are also ways to be so less frequently. It basically comes down to changing your viewpoint. If you have to complete a task that you don’t necessarily find important to you, you have to find a way to somehow make it be.
Rebellion stands as the final hurdle that may be causing your procrastination. This is a form of passive aggressive behavior, as you may be delaying tasks as an act of resistance for a number of different determinants, including people, schedules and expectations. Why? We often resent the tasks put in front of us because we feel imposed upon. We think, “I may have to do this, but I don’t necessarily have to do it right now,” which only starts the spinning out process. This type of rebellion is really all about control, and we assert our control by choosing when (or whether at all in some cases) to do the task.
So what can you do? Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated and get into a positive mindset to ultimately stop putting things off:
- Get organized. Your physical surroundings can have a major influence on how you feel. If your office is a mess, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to shut down and stray to unproductive activities. So get organized and you will naturally feel more active and motivated because your life will simply be easier to manage. Start the day with a morning routine.
- Focus on a few things at a time. When making to-do lists we often get super ambitious and create a long agenda of things that we want to accomplish. While it’s great to have many goals, focusing on just two or three things at a time will allow you to feel less overwhelmed, as you’ll have more dedication and your objectives will seem so much more achievable.
- Form habits. When we form habits this helps to limit the consumption of brain fuel needed to complete a task and also helps to take the need for willpower out of the equation. So get into a positive daily routine to maximize productivity. While this may take a few weeks to form, it will have long-lasting benefits.
- Grab a buddy. If necessary, enlist friends, family members or colleagues to help keep you accountable. Get them to check in on you and keep you motivated when you’re feeling down or lazy. Maybe you can do the same for them.
- Take care of yourself. In some cases, laziness is due to merely being physically worn out. If this may be the cause for your case, make sure you’re getting the proper rest, nutrition and exercise you need. This can be one of the quickest ways to regain energy and inspiration.
If you find yourself procrastinating, there are many potential reasons as to why you’re doing so. Procrastination is not something you are stuck with, however, and it can be overcome. By taking the time to understand why you’re putting things off, you can then find the best course of action to ensure you don’t repeat the behavior. All it takes is a little self-reflection, honesty and willingness to make the improvements. A positive mindset can make the difference.
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”- David Allen
Make sure you read the other articles in our series on procrastination:
- Do Not Always Aim For Perfection
- Add Some Structure To Your Days
- Seeing Each Task As One Big Project
- Understanding Procrastination And How To Beat It