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Beating Procrastination: Causes, Triggers, Cures.

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Presentation on theme: "Beating Procrastination: Causes, Triggers, Cures."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beating Procrastination: Causes, Triggers, Cures

2 Tom Cox

3 Procrastination is not Laziness Problem Procrastination does NOT come from: Laziness Lack of Willpower Lack of Ambition Problem Procrastination is self- inflicted and stress-related

4 When is Procrastination Good? Procrastination can be good when: 1. Lack a Resource and must Wait 2. Suspect an Assignment is not really important 3. You need to Think it Through more 4. Your Energy Level is wrong (not Mood)

5 Awareness or Mindfulness Even before you begin to beat procrastination, you can start to increase your awareness Step back from yourself – observe your feelings as you feel them Notice your actions as you do them This sets you up for success

6 Stress Worsens Procrastination Chronic Stress changes the Brain NY Times article 18-Aug-2009 Problem-solving and Goal-seeking areas of the brain shrivel Rote and Habit areas blossom Doing old things and expecting new results

7 Stress Relief can Restore the Brain With four weeks of vacation, the brain returns to normal Problem-solving and Goal-seeking areas re-grow Rote and Habit areas shrink back Other stress-reduction habits help

8 Stress Behaviors Difficulty making decisions. Angry outbursts. Forgetfulness. Low energy level. Constant worrying. Propensity for mistakes. Thoughts about death or suicide. Trouble getting along with others. Carelessness. Withdrawing from others. Hiding from responsibilities.

9 Stress Enhancers Isolation Uncertainty Feeling of Lack of Control Fatigue

10 Notice Stress Behaviors If you are showing behavioral signs of high stress: Do not blame or shame yourself! That enhances stress Instead, realize it means: You really are under a lot of stress Your behavior will improve as you reduce subjective stress

11 Attack Stress Enhancers If you are Isolated: Eat meals with friends If you are Uncertain: Seek certainty – analyze, ask If you Feel a Lack of Control: Focus on what you can control If you have Fatigue: Get good sleep – prioritize it

12 Procrastination Journal Increase your awareness of your procrastination thoughts and behaviors by keeping a journal of: The date and time of the impulse What you were doing What you were tempted to do What you told yourself What you chose to do and for how long

13 Procrastination Triggers Procrastination is often triggered by: Resentment Confusion or Uncertainty Fear of Failure Success Criticism Skill Deficit Unrealistic Time Estimates

14 Resentment Your procrastination might be triggered by Resentment if: You have a hard time saying no Youre a people-pleaser You are often bullied into things You fear confrontation You feel taken advantage of You say I shouldnt have to…

15 Resentment Example Dilbert cartoon about Low Standards: Wally tells Asok to use the power of low standards and leave his dirty dishes on the floor Alice walks by and says once again I have to clean up after slobs

16 Resentment Non-Fixes Anti-procrastination advice that may NOT work with Resentment: Break it into smaller chunks Instead of one large task I resent, now I have ten small tasks I resent Reward yourself The reward may bring up the same negative emotion as the task and become non- rewarding Clarify Goal or Next Step If the problem is not a lack of clarity, time spent clarifying is wasted

17 Resentment Fixes Defer (mindfully) – pick a higher priority task to do instead Ditch – Just say no Dilute the impact – Focus on your Worthy Goal Delegate (when appropriate) Just Do It – Put on your Big Boy Pants – sometimes we all have to do things we dislike; grow up

18 Procrastination Cycle 1. You Feel Anxiety 2. Which is temporarily relieved by 3. An Empty Promise or a Self- Criticism or a Distraction 4. Which leads to 5. Non-performance and more Anxiety

19 Confusion or Uncertainty Is Your Procrastination Triggered by Confusion or Uncertainty? a) Do I have a Clear Vision of my desired outcome? b) Do I have a Clear Understanding of my Next Steps? c) Do I have a sense of hopelessness? d) Do I feel Anger because it seems someone wants me to Read their Mind?

20 Confusion Fixes a) Create a Vision First b) Analyze – what is unclear c) Ask – sharing a burden halves it d) Find Someone Who Did It Almost any successful person will gladly give you 30 minutes to tell you how they succeeded – just offer to buy them coffee e) Work Backwards from Result f) When the Process is unclear, specify the Outcome

21 Dont Remember Things When experimental subjects had to memorize seven (7) digits instead of two (2): Their self-control dropped by half (50%) They were twice as likely to pick chocolate cake over fruit salad Use your System to Remember Things The Weakest Ink is Stronger than the Strongest Memory – so write it down

22 Fear Is Your Procrastination Triggered by Fear? a) What emotions come up when I consider this task? b) Have I eliminated Resentment? c) Have I eliminated Confusion? d) Am I mad at myself, or consider myself cowardly? e) Do I envy people who do this easily?

23 Faces of Fear The three major kinds of fear are: 1. Fear of Failure Does doing badly hurt more than not trying? (Perfection or dont try) 2. Fear of Success Will success push us out of our comfort zone or create new work? 3. Fear of Criticism Who might be critical? Why do we care? Tackle each one differently!

24 Fear Fixes a) Create a Vision First Find a passion greater than your fear b) Deadlines The fear of missing the deadline can overcome the fear of doing the task c) Find Someone Who Did It Sometimes the role model gives you courage d) Create an Unshakable Sense of Worth based on Facts e) Re-Interpret Fear as a Reason to Act

25 Skill Deficit Procrastination Triggered by a Skill Deficit a) What emotions come up when I consider the task Im putting off? b) Have I eliminated Resentment, Confusion, and Fear as causes? c) Am I self-Critical / see myself as Stupid?

26 Skill Deficit Fixes a) Break into Sub-Steps, then check Skill List Skill needed for each sub-step Go find/hire each skill you lack b) Identify the Real Outcome Guy who couldnt Read – went with Audio Books instead c) Re-Interpret your Reluctance – treat the skill deficit as a challenge

27 Unrealistic Time Estimates Is Your Procrastination Triggered by Unrealistic Time Estimates? a) Do I even make time estimates? b) Have I eliminated Resentment? Confusion? Fear? c) Am I Chronically Late?

28 4 Time Management Tricks Keep a Time Log Pomodoro Technique Power To-Do List What, Why, Est, Actual Plan each Day the Night Before

29 Three Steps to Beat Procrastination 1. Become mindful – notice when you do it 2. Analyze – identify your triggers 3. Treat – use the right fixes for your triggers

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