“Procrastination is like a credit card it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker
Frustration, guilt, anger, and self-doubt. These are some of the bad emotions you get every time you do something else other than the one you know you’re supposed to do. Chronic procrastination to productivity is like Kryptonite to Superman; you can’t have both in the same room.
If you think you’re someone who puts a lot of things on hold, then these four science-backed tips will help you get things done faster.
1. Know your favorite type of procrastination
Before talking calendars and to-do lists, it’s very critical that you understand why you procrastinate. It’s not always laziness. Mostly, it’s all about some emotional conflict you have that makes it hard to lift that butt off the couch and do something useful.
There are six types of procrastination according to the psychologist, success coach, author, and motivational speaker Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. These types are perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, crisis-maker, defier, and overdoer.
The Perfectionist: Procrastinate because they fear things may not come up to their “high” standards.
The Dreamer: Not very detail-oriented. They may have lots of good ideas but the complexity of having to dive into too many details make them reluctant to take action.
The Worrier: Indecisive and unable to make quick decisions. They want certainty and security which makes them avoid risks and reluctant to taking action.
The Crisis-maker: They think they work better under pressure —which can be true— so they wait until the last minute to take action. Crisis-makers, according to Sapadin, are is addicted to the adrenaline rush of living on the edge. Also, their inability to finish the unfinished can make them, according to studies, stupid.
The Defier: Rebel, always think “Why should I do it?” and procrastination to them is part of breaking the rules.
The Overdoer: A typical Yes person. Their inability to decline other’s request gives them a lot to do in a very short time. They do a lot for people and procrastinate when it comes to what benefits their life and future.
2. Invest in routines
For years, Haruki Murakami, the famous Japanese author has been writing five consecutive hours every morning. You may think he’s an exception, but the truth is all elite people do the same. They have routines that they follow automatically and make life easier for them. Solid routines are great because:
They almost eliminate procrastination.
You wake up, you write. You leave work then you hit the gym for an hour. It’s more like a robot-like lifestyle but in a great way.
They work (especially when you don’t have so much time)
Anthony Trollope, the English novelist, wrote 60+ long novels with a super-solid, time-limited two-hour morning routine. He’d wake up at 5:30 A.M., drink his coffee and start his no-mercy writing routine.
“This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year,” writes Trollope in his autobiography.
Once he’s done, the Englishman would call it a day and head to the local post office where he worked for more than 30 years.
Routines, no matter how small, can change your life. Even a five-minute routine of meditation, yoga, stretching or exercising will benefit you both physically and mentally. According to a 2013 study by the University of Utah, even a single minute of daily brisk exercising can do miracles to your heart and metabolism.
3. Describe your to-do list in a concrete manner
Be specific about your intentions, and you’re more likely to follow up on them. Instead of writing“ hit the gym,” in your calendar, make it “Today is leg day. I’m doing four sets of barbell squat, four sets of dumbbell lunges, three sets of leg extensions, three sets of leg press and four sets Standing calf raises + Run for 20 minutes. If I’m tired, I’d hop on the treadmill and do some light jogging or just walk.
This can make writing a to-do list a bit longer but it works according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Psychological Science.
“Individuals were less likely to procrastinate performing the task when the questionnaire induced a more concrete construal. Furthermore, this effect did not depend on the attractiveness, importance, or perceived difficulty of the task,” says the study.
4. Forgive yourself (A LOT)
Self-doubt and negative self-talk are the aide-de-camp (s) of procrastination. Scolding yourself when you wake up late, miss a gym session or eat a full bag of Doritos usually backfires at you putting you on a downward spiral of laziness and unproductive behaviors.
In one 2010 study, 119 first-year students were tested to see whether forgiving themselves for procrastinating before an exam benefited them or not.
The study found that self-forgiveness mediated the effect of procrastination and helped the students perform better in their subsequent exams.
“Results revealed that among students who reported high levels of self-forgiveness for procrastinating on studying for the first examination, procrastination on preparing for the subsequent examination was reduced, ” says the study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.
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Originally published at Goodmenproject.com