We’ve all been there. Delaying our most important tasks so much that we start to dread our very existence.
Since habits are the building blocks of your building of life, the habit of procrastination has the power to destroy that building and burn you to the ground.
Sorry for creating a rather horrific image, but that’s the truth.
Here’s how you can learn if the habits you developed are gambits or bandits.
Why is procrastination the killer of all success
Let’s face it! Procrastination is fun! When you know that you got a whole fortnight till you have to turn that assignment in, you tend to relax, watch a couple of movies and do a lot of other stuff.
What you don’t realize is that all the time you think you have is not actually guaranteed. You may fall ill or you may have to do something unexpected that sucks out a lot of your time. At the end of all this, you find yourself having little or no time to complete that assignment of yours for which you had a whole two weeks to work on.
Procrastination deteriorates the quality of your life. Unless you understand that, you can’t change this habit of yours.
Just imagine how much you could achieve, if you could just get your tasks done on time on a daily basis. You can live the life of your dreams if you simply develop anti-procrastination habits. All other skills are learnable if you can make yourself work consistently according to your plans.
When I set out to beat this habit of mine, it seemed like a pretty daunting task. I would keep relapsing, and at times out of frustration end up procrastinating a lot more.
I discovered that the best way to extinguish bad habits is to plant a good one in its place.
What triggers your procrastination?
Ask yourself these questions when you catch yourself procrastinating. Who’s around you when you procrastinate? What do you feel when you do so?
If you have generated answers for those questions, you have a decent idea of what triggers this habit of yours. In other words, you have determined the cue of your habit.
I found out that I procrastinate right after work when I’m tired. When my friends are around me ( i used to live in a dorm), I almost automatically delve into whatever they are doing giving no thought to my deadlines.
Here’s an ultra-easy way to create habits.
The Golden Gimmick
The trick is to use the cues of your old habit to trigger a new routine which will give you an interesting reward (something you love doing).
But the catch is that you get to enjoy this reward only if you carry out your new routine.
Earlier these cues would trigger your procrastinative habits, but upon implementing the steps mentioned below, the same cues which switched on the procrastination self of you will make you wanna get your tasks done.
I love listening to songs, so I chose that as my reward. It’s like a video game, you do a certain something to get a reward be it points or a bonus level.
I set my reward as listening to a cover song on YouTube. I absolutely love listening to cover songs, and my favorite artist is Luciana Zogbi, I’m in so much love with her voice… omg.
The New Routine
So this is what I do. Whenever I feel the urge to procrastinate, I do a Pomodoro ( a short 25-minute work session) of my most important task and then enjoy listening to a cover song on YouTube.
Creating a to-do list at the start of the day reminds you of what really helps improve the quality of your life.
I follow the Pomodoro technique as that helps me to not worry about the size of my task. I wired my brain this way, “If I do a Pomodoro of work, I can listen to that cover”. Soon enough I started craving this reward of a cover song. So as soon as I feel the urge to procrastinate, I check my to-do list, do a Pomodoro, and then enjoy my music.
I’m much happier than before, and I’m well on my way to creating an awesome habit.
There are times when I want to do a Pomodoro to listen to a song. I almost feel irritated when I procrastinate.
Thus, I have successfully learned to procrastinate on procrastination.
Choose your reward wisely. It must be something you genuinely enjoy doing but limit your reward to only 5 minutes. You can have another 5 minutes of your reward after 25 minutes of work.
Learn how I broke an addiction quite easily.
Gamify your life
This whole routine- reward loop makes life feel like a game. And upon consistently carrying out your new routines and receiving your rewards, only the cues are enough to make you wanna complete your tasks asap because your brain will want to enjoy your “reward”.
Do check out this book called the power of habit, by Charles Duhigg, I have read tons of self-help books, but I love the techniques mentioned in his book. Many of my articles are based on discoveries I made upon trying out the tips he gave in his book.