We don’t beat procrastination. We learn to collaborate with it.
I believe a long term approach to tackle procrastination is required.However, although different people procrastinate for various reasons, the primary roots are the same: Emotions.
Emotions are the root; time is the symptom.
Example: At work, you are asked to say NO sometimes, but nobody tells you how to overcome your fear to be reprimanded by the boss.
In school, you are advised to ask for help when you are stuck, but nobody tells you how to overcome the shame to share your weaknesses.
In a relationship, everyone knows it is essential to communicate, but nobody teaches you how to overcome the fear of becoming alone.
In entrepreneurship, the first thing some people think about is building a financial projection, when nobody explains how to get rid of your insecurities to get started.
Because of this kind of contexts, you are prone to delay your actions over and over, even if you have plenty of time, even if you know what needs to be done from a logical perspective.
That’s why many people mistake goals setting, time management issues with procrastination. Thus there are so many different techniques for specific cases around time.The reality is not there are not many tools that take specification of procrastinators’ mind into account: memorable, inertia’s removal, doubt’s removal, clear choice, specific execution plan, little progress visible, many goals achievable.
Which strategy can I use instead?
Emotions create inertia, inner resistance to taking action.
Thus Finding solutions that deal with emotion instead of time management and goal setting is the first step.
Once you reduce the inertia, actions come naturally, and you can apply it to plenty of cases where this emotion is involved.
What kind of tactic can I apply in alignment with this strategy?
One of the tactics is what I call “Conscious Fear generation”.
If you struggle to do something, instead of repeating to yourself ” I should do this you should do it”, take a pen and list all the worst consequences that might happen if you don’t act on it.
The principle of this method is to generate fear consciously so that the procrastinator mind focus unconsciously.
It makes use of the natural behavior of procrastinators to achieve a high level of productivity under high pressure (last minute, and accountability).
(a) When I notice i missed 2 consecutive sessions of writing, I sit down and write all the worst consequences that might happen if I do not write.
(b) When I struggle to track my finances, I post a picture of a cliff and a picture of money near my office. Anytime I look at these two images combined, my procrastinator mind is frightened.
How does it work?
Step 1: Explicit what you had planned to do and what you did instead.
Step 2: list the consequence in the short term and the long term until you feel a disagreement, the guilty trick.
Step 3: Repeat the result that made you feel guilty at step_2 at least 12 to 20 times
What is each step aim for?
- Step 1 is aimed to make your procrastinator mind acknowledge something is wrong objectively at a logic level.
- Step 2 helps to spot a scenario the procrastinator mind is most afraid or ashamed of.
- Step 3 amplifies this emotion up to a point. Take action becomes No brainier at this stage. By the way, you might be even surprised to have result before you end all the process. In that case, you would already have creative ideas pop in up in your mind to help you address the topic you were delaying.
This process can take you about 5–10 min but it worth. The day after, you will act. Pay attention.
I hope it helps.
Engineer and procrastination coach
Head of marketing
The unconscious collaborator