Why do I Procrastinate - How to STOP PROCRASTINATING?

What is your typical approach to get your school or work assignments done? Do you approach it in a consistent and sustainable manner, getting a little bit done everyday? Or, do you wait until the last day and the last minute, feel anxious to meet the deadline, and then crash from all that stress once its completed?
 
If you fall in the second category, then this video is exactly for you. Now, in order to deal with procrastination, it's important to understand why you procrastinate in the first place.
 
A common reason for procrastination is anxiety, where you don't some aspect of the task - which feels daunting, and you don't really know how to approach it. Or, the task feels so big to tackle, that whenever you think about getting started, it starts to feel overwhelming, and your brain protects you from that feeling of being overwhelmed by avoiding the task all together
 
The solutions to your procrastination and productivity problem that we are going to discuss are also focused on these two reasons of procrastination. The solution is focused on the cause, not just the behavior. And that is the secret key to success.
 
Tackling procrastination is easier than you would think, but the problem is that so often, people focus on the behavior itself, rather than what's causing the behavior. But in this video, you will be learning two approaches to tackle each of these causes, which in turn will help you get rid of the procrastination - so you can be productive and successful.
 
At the end of this article, I will share another reason why people who are usually driven and motivated start to procrastinate out of nowhere. And that reason is burn out. If that's you, then watch that section to learn a specific- counter-intuitive, but extremely effective - way to handle your burn out related procrastination.

Approach #1

Create an exhaustive outline of the task on hand, and if you have multiple things to do, then create an exhaustive list for each of them, and make it as detailed as possible.
 
For example, when writing a paper, develop each section in detail, such as literature review, proposed methodology, etc. Then go specific, what sections within the literature review? What are the main areas that needs to be highlighted? How many paragraphs in each section - What is each paragraph broadly about?
 
Another example can be work report. What is the report structure - what sections are to be included? What is the summary and the take home message? What are the sections needed to be included in the report? Within each section, which metrics need to be reported. Does each metric needs it's own paragraph or maybe subsections. What else needs to be included in the report?
 
It is worth spending a couple of hours or even an entire day creating such a detailed outline for the tasks.

The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.
Rita Emmett
The reason this appraoch works in because when you create such a detailed outline, it provides you with a level of clarity that is otherwise impossible to achieve:
 
You not only have a clear roadmap on how to achieve your goal, but you also have a very clear idea of the work that needs to be done for each task and how much time it will take. That in itself makes the task so much more manageable for your subconcisuos mind. It helps tackle the anxiety on how to get started on it, which is often half the struggle
 
Another major reason that this approach works so well is because it takes care of all those points of the task that you don't really know how to handle, or you don't have a clarity on. When you're creating such an outline, in order for you to add all the details in the outline, you will obviously have to look-up some things to know what goes in what section, and what needs to be included.
 
This process in itself takes care of the avoidance that comes very naturally when you come across something you don't know how to handle.
 
So what are some of the tasks that you're procrastinating right now, and how can you use this approach to help you tackle the beast? Share with me in the comments down below, and I'll reply to you there.

Approach #2

The second approach of dealing with procrastination involves creating a specific structure to handle multiple tasks that are weighing on your. This comes particularly handy if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that you need to do.
 
Without a detailed structure, you simply have a hotchpotch of time and hotchpotch of things that you're trying to work through - that wastes a lot of emotional energy in managing your anxiety, and figuring out what you need to do first.
 
For this approach, I would recommend creating a running list of things that you need to do for at least a week ahead, and then assign only a couple of tasks to yourself for each day. And that is the tricky part. Research shows that we underestimate how much time something takes by about a third. So if you think that you can do 3 things in a day, assign only 1.
 
The key here is to feel so relaxed and have the luxury of time that you don't feel rushed, while still having enough to do. Finding that balance is the key, and if you feel like you do your best work when under pressure, then maybe you can take on a little more, but be sure not put so much pressure on yourself that you burnout by the time you complete one assignment.
 
Think long-term, think sustainability. Finding the balance is the key.
 
Now keep watching until the end because I want you to watch out for a couple of pitfalls here, where people commonly.... But for now, let's move on to the second point. 
 
And here's an additional tip: If you are someone who is motivated by external appreciation or rewards, then do set a reward system for yourself. It could be something as simple as earning your favorite tv show or a guilt-free video game time, or you could reward yourself with something that you have been wanting to buy for yourself for a while.

Bonus tips

In addition to the two approaches that I shared above, there is a third reason for procrastination. If you find yourself usually self-motivated and driven, but every now and then, you find yourself struggling with procrastination, then a likely reason for that is burnout.
 
When you work so much that you continuously push the limits of your brain, then you are inevitable going to get to a point where you get burnt-out. Where your brain becomes sluggish, your motivation gets down, you feel lethargic, and you just can't seem to focus on things that matter.
 
When this happens, there is one and only way to recover from this burnout, and that is to give yourself a mental break. 
 
This might be the opposite of what you want, especially if you have things on your plate that are piling-up. Use the two approaches I discussed in this video to create a plan on how you're going to tackle them, but before you start acting on that plan, give yourself a day or two to relax and recover.
 
Unless you allow your brain to recover, you will keep putting more and more burden on it, and stay stuck in the loop of exhausting your central nervous system. That break for a couple of days will help you break the loop, and get back on the track.

Another bonus tip:

If you find yourself yourself struggling with procrastination and motivation frequently, then certainly use the two strategies I discussed in this video, but on top of that - you might also want to look at your long-term approach to your work or studying:
 
Why does it feel like a dread that you keep avoiding? Do you feel like it's not something that you are good at, and worry about not being able to perform well?
 
That why will help you understand where most of your emotional energy gets wasted - where you feel most stuck, and most importantly, what needs to be addressed and changed.
 
Whatever reasons you come-up with, write them down, and start challenging them one by one. Identify what needs to be done to tackle each thing you put on that list, and that would be a wonderful starting point

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