Author Topic: How do you overcome procrastination?  (Read 7311 times)

Nyarlathotep

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How do you overcome procrastination?
« on: October 05, 2014, 04:11:05 PM »
I never really thought it to be too much of a problem with me until fairly recently. I realized recently that I procrastinate a lot and well it really brings me down. Typically I am great at meeting deadlines, paying bills and completing tasks that are "required" in a timely manner. I feel as though it is the tasks that will not have any negative repercussions if they are not complete always get pushed back and will never completed in a timely manner. The thing that really bothers me is that if these tasks/ projects are done it will bring me both happiness and success in the future.

I guess a great example of this is my motorcycle... Story time...

I received orders to come out to Hawaii almost a year ago and had my motorcycle shipped out with my house hold goods. Typically no real problem you would think, just refill the oil, put some gas in it and your ready to go. So the first hurdle was to get it registered in the state of Hawaii. This includes quite a bit of bureaucracy and running around to get the registration and safety check done. So with all this having to be done I just kind of sat on it, I eventually ordered a set of reflectors required to pass the safety inspection. Now it is time to finally time to get off my ass and get it  the safety check done and the bike registered. After the bike has been sitting for a some time now it does not crank. So no big deal at this point just get a new battery... Same issue... So now thanks to my procrastination I have not only an unregistered motorcycle but an unregistered motorcycle that will not start.

Here I am now... Kicking my self seeing what my procrastination has done. The more I think about it the more I realize how much I do this and how even a little bit of procrastination can prevent me from fully achieving my goals and bars me from achieving my maximum potential. And by not achieving my goals and not reaching my maximum potential it will ultimately lead me to be frustrated and disappointed.... Who really want to be frustrated and disappointed?


TLDR: Procrastination...

How do you deal with and over come procrastination? 

MikeBear

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 04:19:12 PM »
I'll let you know next week! lol

Ynari

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2014, 06:02:24 PM »
Well, I'm procrastinating right now...

It depends on what type of procrastinator you are.  Sometimes I get ideas from the Study Hacks blog or random TED talks and try them out, but nothing sticks long term.  Time blocking (planning out each hour instead of using a to-do list) works for some people but not me.

Best I've found, for me, is having a list of 5 BIG (long-term) projects and 5 little projects (that advance the goals of the BIG projects), or so.  If you make progress on something every day, things don't catch up to you quite so fast.

wtjbatman

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2014, 06:03:29 PM »
I'll let you know next week! lol

FYI I came in this thread to make that joke. Damn you MikeBear.

Astatine

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2014, 06:09:25 PM »
Structured procrastination. Seriously. This can work if you are a chronic procrastinator. Essentially you get stuff done by avoiding something that needs doing but you don't want to do:

Quote
The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.


scottydog

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2014, 06:46:31 PM »
I'm a huge productivity geek, and often find myself procrastinating by reading about how to not procrastinate.  I haven't heard of structured procrastination before; let me just review that first... :-)

I've had good luck with the pomodoro technique.  The forced 5-min breaks really seem to help me focus during the 25-min work periods, especially if I get myself moving for a few of those 5 minutes.  Plus, my biggest obstacle is just getting started on a task.  Knowing that I'll only be doing a given task for a set amount of time helps me get started, and then it's much easier to keep doing it or go back to it after a break.  I'll often combine it with bracketing, i.e. telling myself to do the best job possible in 2 hours (or 4 pomodoros) to inspire some focus on what's in front of me.

My favourite productivity guru, the Get It Done Guy (I'm addicted to his free weekly podcast), advocates speed-dating your tasks when you have many things on the go.  That way you don't worry about the other tasks because you know you'll get to them soon.  I haven't tried the speed-dating approach myself, but find a similar benefit to bracketing since I know that I can get to that other task in x amount of time.

Best of luck!

MikeBear

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2014, 06:51:17 PM »
I saved $75 today by procrastinating 24 hours.

I have an extreme pain issue right now with my right foot/leg, and need a special motion-control stability walking shoe that normally costs $150~. While I don't have a problem paying that much if the shoe helps, it's still a lot of money to me. I analyze financial spending things to death, and look around for the better deal. I just couldn't find it in my size any cheaper last night no matter what.

Anyway, when I came into work tonight for my 12 hour shift, I went back to the same shoe store website to look around again, and that SAME pair of shoes priced $150 last night, is now $69.99 tonight... I ordered a pair right away, and it still comes with a 15 day right of approval, or send it back for a refund. I can't wait to be able to get back to walking every single day without a lot of pain!

So, sometimes procrastination can be a GOOD thing! You just have to decide when that is, and go with it...

Exflyboy

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2014, 07:02:20 PM »
I've had this problem all my life.

I have trained myself over 30 years to get stuck in and do it!.. seriously it takes practice..

Frank

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2014, 07:20:23 PM »
I have a "To Do" list and get great satisfaction in marking thru items I've completed. If it's a big task, you can break it into smaller more manageable tasks and do it over time. I know people that expend a lot more energy avoiding a task than would actually be required to just get it done.

Happy Little Chipmunk

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2014, 07:22:12 PM »
Oh yeah, baby! Time to tame your instant-gratification monkey!

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

Seriously, this two-part blog piece has been VERY helpful to me. Instead of getting out the flail and metaphorically beating on myself (or the kids) I point out that we/I/they seem to be "stuck in the dark playground waiting for the panic monster". I can break through the fog with humor (usually).

I also like the tips I found on another thread here (sorry, can't remember which) to give yourself a "guilt hour" every now and then. Use that time to get through as many things as you can that you feel guilty about. Also I use idonethis.com to log what I've done for the day. I find that because I want to get something off my plate & have something to log I can actually focus on the task. And yes, setting a timer and switching tasks often also helps.

Russ

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2014, 07:24:33 PM »
Structured procrastination. Seriously. This can work if you are a chronic procrastinator. Essentially you get stuff done by avoiding something that needs doing but you don't want to do:

Quote
The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.

came here to post the same thing!

Nyarlathotep

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2014, 08:19:11 PM »
Oh yeah, baby! Time to tame your instant-gratification monkey!

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

Seriously, this two-part blog piece has been VERY helpful to me. Instead of getting out the flail and metaphorically beating on myself (or the kids) I point out that we/I/they seem to be "stuck in the dark playground waiting for the panic monster". I can break through the fog with humor (usually).

I also like the tips I found on another thread here (sorry, can't remember which) to give yourself a "guilt hour" every now and then. Use that time to get through as many things as you can that you feel guilty about. Also I use idonethis.com to log what I've done for the day. I find that because I want to get something off my plate & have something to log I can actually focus on the task. And yes, setting a timer and switching tasks often also helps.


I feel as if it really hit the nail on the head and made a whole lot of sense. Not only that but I feel as it it give a pretty accurate map to assist in navigating out of the "Dark Playground". I will be putting some of the high lights in my little note book which I now might label "Panic Monster".  I think I may have to check out some of those TED talks as well. 

I guess you can say that today I expirienced "Flow" while troubleshooting my motorcycle. It was nice because it allowed me to get through it with out getting frustrated and it lead me to what I believe is a bad starter solenoid (A nice and tidy $12 fix).

Thanks for the help!

mlipps

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2014, 09:09:01 PM »
Structured procrastination. Seriously. This can work if you are a chronic procrastinator. Essentially you get stuff done by avoiding something that needs doing but you don't want to do:

Quote
The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.

I don't think I have ever felt so validated as I do in this moment.

came here to post the same thing!

Happy Little Chipmunk

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2014, 10:45:32 PM »
Whee!

Nyarlathotep, I'm so glad that my procrastination helped you think about yours!

MsRichLife

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2014, 11:09:52 PM »
Good question. I struggle with it too. Like you I'm good at keeping on top of some things, but others I let slide and then regret the consequences.

One way I have found to deal with it is to break the big tasks down into small ones and put them on a list. Only one or two MUST DOs each day and they have to be really small. Case in point. I knew that I needed to update my will. I'd procrastinated about it for months because I just didn't want to deal with it. In the end I worked out what the first easy step was that I need to take and I put that on my list. So instead of writing 'Update Will' on my to do list, I simply wrote, 'find the phone number for two lawyers.'  Just something really simply that could be done in 5 minutes with a google search. You know what? Because I already had the numbers there, I decided to call them. One seemed nice so we set up an appointment and the rest took care of itself. This trick usually works when I really do need to get things done but am procrastinating about starting.

For other tasks I set a timer and promise myself I can stop the task when the timer goes off. i.e. if I need to get some writing done for my thesis, I'll set 45 minutes on the timer and promise myself a break when I'm done. Same for any other unpleasant task I've been putting off (like tidying the house I'll usually set the timer for 20 mins). More often than not, I'll be in the swing of it when the timer goes off, have a feeling of progress made and I'll keep going.

I also bribe myself. The other week I really wanted to go see a movie. Instead of just going, I promised myself that I could go on Friday afternoon if I'd handed in my chapter to my academic supervisor before then. It totally worked that time, but I struggle to come up with things to bribe myself with that aren't counter-productive to other goals.

Just saw this:

Quote
I've had good luck with the pomodoro technique.  The forced 5-min breaks really seem to help me focus during the 25-min work periods, especially if I get myself moving for a few of those 5 minutes.  Plus, my biggest obstacle is just getting started on a task.  Knowing that I'll only be doing a given task for a set amount of time helps me get started, and then it's much easier to keep doing it or go back to it after a break.  I'll often combine it with bracketing, i.e. telling myself to do the best job possible in 2 hours (or 4 pomodoros) to inspire some focus on what's in front of me.

My favourite productivity guru, the Get It Done Guy (I'm addicted to his free weekly podcast), advocates speed-dating your tasks when you have many things on the go.  That way you don't worry about the other tasks because you know you'll get to them soon.  I haven't tried the speed-dating approach myself, but find a similar benefit to bracketing since I know that I can get to that other task in x amount of time.

These are what I do! Didn't know they had a name for them, but good to see I've discovered them.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 11:15:22 PM by MsRichLife »

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2014, 11:58:44 AM »
Another vote for putting things on a list (breaking down big things into small steps), but what I also do is take the item I want to do least/is most likely to get pushed off till tomorrow, and do that first.  There are usually things on the list I want to do, so knowing I can't do them till I get through the one I don't helps move things along (this is usually working out, so I try to do that as soon as I walk in the door).  With that out of the way the rest of the evening is calmer since I don't have it looming over my head all night.

galliver

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2014, 12:37:20 PM »
I admit that I'm externally motivated.

Like you, I can do things that are, in some degree, "required," have deadlines, have people waiting on me for them, and/or have penalties for not doing them. So, for as many activities as I can, I try to involve someone else to keep me accountable in things I need to get done. I requested having more regular meetings with my research advisor even if it was a 5 minute "still working on X, this is how it's going" update. If I'm putting off cleaning my apt, I invite people over. Sometimes, I ask my friend to yell at me (we have this great motivational speech we give each other about how if we don't do our sh*t, we'll end up mopping sh*t at McD's; not actually true but the humor breaks through the self-deception of procrastination). Ultimately, the *best* way for me to overcome procrastination is to actually start *doing* one of the things, because then inertia/flow takes over.

But when it comes to long-term personal projects so frequently advocated on MMM, I'm *terrible* at following through. Let you know if I ever figure out intrinsic motivation. Or maybe I'll start a motivational-speech business around it.

Zikoris

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2014, 12:49:40 PM »
I enlist other people to harass me about whatever is it, particularly my boyfriend. It's very effective.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2014, 02:25:37 PM »
http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

That was really good, thanks.  I feel like if you accept his premise that the main problem is instant gratification, then mustachians should have a leg up on procrastination, as that's a pretty big part of most personal finance philosophy.

Pooperman

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Re: How do you overcome procrastination?
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2014, 03:52:13 PM »
The to-do list method helps. I do everything not at the top of the list unless there's a deadline. I am as the poster above, externally motivated. It's not instant gratification. It's stress/bad planning generally. The external motivation gives me a direction to go in and a reason to get it done. It makes my stress level way too high but its a habit at this point. One I'd love to break. I'm procrastinating with that too. I feel like optimism and planning/structuring are they keys to breaking it.