By Leo Babauta
In this webinar, I talked about the problems of procrastination (as illustrated by my own life), and obstacles and their solutions:
The Problems of Procrastination:
- Fall behind in work
- Things pile up, so you become stressed and overwhelmed
- Emails pile up, become stressed & overwhelmed
- Put off writing a book or blog
- Put off trying to discover your dream
- Put off exercise, eating healthy â€¦ health gets worse
- Put off your wishlist
- Put off spending time with loved ones, building relationships
- Put off paying bills, go into financial problems
- Put off studying, learning
- Put off starting a new business
- Put off meditation
- So life overall gets worse and worse, and it hurts you in every way.
Obstacles to overcoming procrastination:
- Feeling overwhelmed, or task is too hard – small chunks, make it easy on yourself
- Feeling like you arenâ€™t up to it – practice daily in small doses
- Feeling like it wonâ€™t make a difference (hopeless) because you have too much to do, and small chunks wonâ€™t work â€” build the habit, which is much better than not doing anything (and you can do multiple sessions a day) – also focus on the Next Action
- Letting yourself off the hook â€” be mindful of these rationalizations, and build the habit of work-reward instead of just reward. Also start with some accountability.
- Will tackle procrastination tomorrow! or also: Feeling like itâ€™s not worth it â€” see the ways itâ€™s hurting you, and see this as an act of compassion toward yourself.
- Starting â€” make it easier â€” it will only take a minute to start!
- Too many things that are a priority â€” create sessions for different priorities
- Staying focused â€” mindful pause, practice awareness, putting yourself in a box
- Too tired â€” just do a little today, and get some rest; your procrastination and lack of focus is actually causing you to be tired; you need some mental space, exercise, meditation, and sleep
- Tasks you hate: use it as a mindfulness practice, and feel good about getting moving on something that is causing you stress
I also answered questions about:
- How to tell the difference between excuses and what are actually good reasons?
- Procrastination on multiple major projects
- I find I’m drawn towards easier tasks and end up leaving the difficult/big tasks, even though the payoff for these is bigger. How can I steel myself to prioritise difficult tasks?
- Has the task of writing changed for you? Have you found you feel any differently about the actual work of writing now that you do it regularly? Is it less daunting? Or is it still hard?
- I want to do the habit of working when turning computer on, but I need motivation first. When I go to read your daily reminder emails I end up procrastinating and checking other emails.
- I am self-employed and I meet my minimum cash flow needs, but I just can’t seem to get to my book. Is hiring a coach just a way to pass on the discipline to get the book done?
- At times the act of prioritization is a veiled attempt of procrastination. Any suggestions to safeguard against this?
- How do you deal with the rebel?
- How should I continue with difficult project? I can begin, but once I get an uncomfortable sensation, I quit!
- How do you fight procrastination, due to Failure. I start, then fail at what I’m doing and fear starting again because of failing again.
- Do you think lateness is a form of procrastination?
- Is it possible to develop intelligence and understand the root cause rather than reverting to reward and punishment – stick or sticker that works superficially but does not go at the core
*You mentioned to remember it’s just another task, neither good nor bad, if I procrastinate. But how is it possible to find the source of the bad feeling regarding the task?
- I start a creative (graphic design) task and I keep thinking of these wonderful new directions and I start following them, and then the original task gets lost. How to stop?
- How can I tackle feelings of anxiety/tension/paralysis coming up with deadlines or trouble thinking?
- For projects/tasks that are personal, for example resume writing / work search. How do you stay focused on the action/task at end and not get caught up in introspection?