Procrastinate No More! This Is How To End Procrastination Once and For All.

It's Monday.  At the start of every week, we typically make a mental note of everything that we'd like to accomplish.  Last week, I had a pretty extensive list.  Some of it consisted of personal goals, the rest of the tasks were given by my business coach.  

A new week has rolled around and I realize that many of the tasks aren't yet completed.  Why? Because I still have time to quickly do them and......I'm waiting until the last minute.  Yep, I'm procrastinating and I'm fully aware of it.  In my mind, there still seems to be an infinite amount of time left to complete my to-do list so I'm waiting until a later time to start.  

Actually, I'm not going to wait until a later time.  I'm getting it done today!  How?  I'm going to break my procrastination cycle using a simple technique that will propel me into immediate action.Why do we procrastinate?  

There could be a myriad of reasons.  I'll narrow them down to these potential root causes:
  1. We're unsure how to do the task or project.
  2. We have an underlying fear or hesitation regarding the action we need to take (for example: having a tough conversation or being afraid of giving a presentation). 
  3. We convince ourselves that we don't feel like doing it (we classify the action as undesirable so we engage in time-wasting activities instead of focusing on the desirable outcome associated with completing the task).
  4. We have too much time to complete the task.
My struggle is a combination of #3 and  #4.  But if I had to boil it down to one root cause,  I'm pretty sure that week-long deadlines are the culprit.  Why am I so sure?  Because with around 24 hours left until the deadline appears, I suddenly have this "unexpected" burst of motivation to accomplish everything on my list.  

Where was this motivation a few days ago?  I'll tell you where....it didn't exist because I kept reassuring myself that there was plenty of time ahead.  I was relying on my future self to somehow swoop in and save the day.  Now, I have to work frantically to pile in a week's worth of worth in a day.   Thank you past self! 

The absolute best and most effective remedy for overcoming procrastination is shorter deadlines.  The shorter, the better.  You can try other strategies that consist of working through your mental barriers but I promise you that nothing will work better than a tight deadline.  If you're a procrastinator, chances are that you actually get everything done. You just wait until the last minute to do it.  You do this because a short deadline is an ultimate motivator.  But we're often given a week or more to accomplish a task.  We interpret the week timespan as an abundance of time and act accordingly (by squandering it).  

The more time we have, the less priority we give to the uncompleted task.  Our urgency becomes non-existent and we lack the intensity/focus needed to get the job done.  Airlines often allow passengers with high-priority tickets board first.  That's how we should be treating our tasks...but instead, we give priority to whatever we feel like doing.  By simply assigning a stricter deadline, we suddenly give priority to what actually needs to get done.   To give this strategy a little more oomph, you can assign a consequence (or reward) with each activity you complete under your newly created deadlines. 

Today, I plan to assign short deadlines to everything on my task list.  In the end, most (if not all of it) will get done.   

As a lifelong procrastinator, I know that deadlines that fall under 24 hours work well, but if I really want to crank up my urgency, I need to give myself 1-hour deadlines. So at 9:00 am, I have to complete something on my list by 10:00 am.  If I don't finish at 10:00 am, it's ok...as long as I'm actively working on completing it.  At 11:00am, I gotta move on to the next item on my procrastination list and so forth. 

Tomorrow, I'll have a new set of actions to take.  But, this time I'll take a different path.  Instead of traveling down the long winding road to nowhere, I'll take the short cut.  And that short cut comes in the form reassigning deadlines so they effectively motivate trigger me into action.    Eventually, I want to develop the muscle of consistently taking fast action.  This can only come as a result of consistently setting short deadlines and acting accordingly.  If I repeat this process, I won't even need motivation.  Eventually, I'll develop the discipline of getting things done quickly and my future self will thank me for it
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