Procrastination. If you’re a procrastinator then you have a habit of procrastinating.
We are not action-takers or procrastinators by nature. Sure, some of us are more high energy or organized than others, but we are not born procrastinators.
This is a habit I have had to fight for as long as I can remember. I’m extremely Type-A, so I’m organized and rarely forget things. However, when there’s something on my To-Do List that I don’t enjoy, I just keep looking at it every day until I have no choice but to complete it.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of a habit is that it is an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. Another definition compares it to an addiction.
The more we do the same thing over and over again, the deeper the little rut in our brain gets. The deeper the rut gets, the more automatic the action is. It’s all a part of neuroplasticity. It sounds super science-y but it’s a pretty simple concept.
The great thing about neuroplasticity is that it means we can change. If we stop using a rut, it fades over time. The more we do a new action, the easier it becomes because the rut becomes deeper.
So, how do we defeat our procrastination habit?
It is this simple and yet this complex. In order to make our procrastination rut fade away, we must stop using it. The best way to do this is to take action.
Have you heard of the Two Minute Rule? I’m not sure who first established it, but it says that when you come across something that you need to do, if it takes two minutes or less do it immediately.
For example, when you bring your mail in from the mailbox, sort it right away and throw away or recycle the junk mail. Both steps of this process will take no more than two minutes and in the end, you have less mail cluttering your counters and no bills or other important documents will hide among the junk.
I generally go by a Five Minute Rule for business things, but the process is the same. Take a few minutes and write out the things you do regularly that take you 5 minutes or less to do.
Promise yourself to do those items the minute they become relevant. This could be things like
Creating a quick social media image
Responding to an email
Sorting your email into folders
Checking your notifications
Scanning an article
And so many other things. Writing this list out is important because it will spark a thought when these tasks are in front of you.
In business, there are always required things that we enjoy less than others. Assuming it’s not something you can hand off to a team member, you can’t afford to put this major project off for forever. At the same time, you can’t just tackle the whole thing at once.
The key here is to break your project down into small, manageable steps. Writing the steps out now take the thinking out of the process. If you don’t have to take the time to think about what’s next, you can avoid slipping into your old habit of procrastinating!
Maybe you want to build a course. There are more steps involved in this than I can count offhand and to try to just jump right in would be an absolute nightmare.
Instead, separate the tasks into groups like Things to Record or Images to Create or Copy to Write. Then break these groups down even smaller. For example, break Things to Record down into Record Video 1, Record Video 2, Record Video 3, etc.
Just doing the process of writing things out is taking action and moving you forward. You are beating your procrastination habit and building your action-taking habit one line at a time!
Leave a comment below. What action are you going to take RIGHT NOW to start beating your procrastination habit?