Stop Procrastinating and Just Start
When you think of the word "procrastination," what comes to mind? Is it putting things off? Waiting until tomorrow? Choosing priorities, exercising patience, and planning involve delay. These are smart skills to have. What’s so bad about procrastinating? Well, it’s not just any delay. It’s really an irrational behavior. It’s when you postpone an important task even though you know you’ll be worse off for doing so. So how do you stop procrastinating and just start?
But as it turns out, there’s no strong link between perfectionism and procrastination, says Dr. Piers Steel. He’s a professor and leading researcher on the science of motivation and procrastination. He’s the author of the book, The Procrastination Equation.
The formula is based on 30 years of research and hundreds of studies. To have more motivation, and less procrastination, you want the numerators (E and V) to be high and the denominators (I & D) to be low.
In this episode, I describe 4 ways to stop procrastinating and just start: (1) create success spirals; (2) practice mental contrasting; (3) get super-focused; and (4) set clear goals. Success spirals increase expectancy, mental contrasting raises value, super-focus reduces impulsiveness, and clear goals minimize delay.
I review Dr. Gabriele Oettingen's WOOP method for incorporating If-Then statements into your plan for overcoming obstacles. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.
I also explain Dr. Tim Pychyl's theory that procrastination is an emotion management problem, not a time management issue. We procrastinate because we’re thinking about all the things that might happen rather than just starting what we have to do. Procrastination is a coping strategy to deal with negative emotions like frustration and anxiety. It is based on assumptions that the task won’t feel good.
When we procrastinate, we have less time to complete the project. We sometimes tell ourselves we work better under pressure. But we just make more errors when we wait until the deadline is tomorrow.
Whatever you have to do, just start now.
- Pierce Steel, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done
- Gabriele Oettingen, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation
- Timothy A Pychyl, Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change
Sebastian Brian Mehr
Check out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps
Visit website: www.dyanwilliams.com
Subscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Join our newsletter
Sign up to get updates on blog posts, online courses, bonus tips and exclusive access to Empower Toolkit