A Cunning Trick To Help Beat Procrastination
If I had $100 for every person I’ve heard say they work better the nearer they got to a deadline, I would probably have bought Bermuda by now.
Ok, maybe not Bermuda as I’m not sure it’s up for sale, but certainly a nice small island in the Caribbean.
The reality of the situation is (up to a point) almost everybody works better the closer they get to a deadline, it’s how our brains are wired up.
The Flow State
I feel sure you are familiar with the flow state made famous by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, right?
Very briefly it is when you are performing at your optimal level.
Often, time seems to stand still, things seem to be incredibly easy and life is, quite frankly, a walk in the park where all the paths are downhill.
Some people think that stress is absent from flow, but nothing could be further from the truth, except maybe Putins claims that he had nothing to do with the murder of Boris Nemtsov.
What is actually happening, is your are experiencing just the right amount of stress to heighten all your senses, get blood flowing to your brain and improve your overall performance.
You need a certain amount of stress just to get out of bed in the morning and without it you simply cannot perform adequately.
Stress Is Not A Bad Thing
Stress in and of itself is not a bad thing, as long that is, we allow our body to recover properly.
When people procrastinate up to deadlines, by and large, it is because they are not stressed enough by the consequences of their inaction.
In other words the pain of not doing the work is not as intense as the pain of doing it.
Note: It can also be because they have tipped the other way and or way too stressed to work.
If you get too stressed, your senses actually start to shut down, you memory worsens and you turn into gibbering wreck incapable of even basic tasks.
As human beings we are terrible at predicting how we will feel about future events, especially if we push them to the back of our minds.
And that is what most people are doing when they are procrastinating. They are busying themselves with other stuff and using an avoidance strategy.
I have a Coach the Life Coach course starting on the 28th March and I haven’t even properly started the marketing process yet because of ‘stuff’ getting in the way.
However, I know if I do not start to act before the weekend my stress will start to amp up in the form of anxiety and force me to act, because at the moment I still have 4 open places and don’t want this to be the first course that doesn’t sell out.
Maybe I should implement the technique I’m about to teach you myself and get my head out of my ass!
To make this work we are going to trick your brain into thinking it’s more stressed than it is.
But don’t worry, our brains like to be tricked and we’re doing it to ourselves in some way shape or form all the time.
Beat Procrastination Now
Take 5 minutes out of your day and relax.
Then close your eyes and focus on what will happen if you do not do whatever it is you want/need to do.
Hear what you would hear and see what you would see if things go badly.
Then let the negative emotions arise that you know you will encounter close to a deadline.
The important thing here is not to go too far, we want your heart rate up a tad, a slight feeling of uneasiness accompanied by a desire to take action.
Because, and this is the key, that is EXACTLY what is happening when you are working like a whirling dervish up to a deadline.
It’s just that normally it’s happening at an unconscious level and largely out of your conscious control.
When you get a bit anxious about your inactivity, open your eyes and get the shit done.
Now go and try it, but please do not take it to the point where you feel like a drug smuggler being cavity searched, I don’t want you having a panic attack!
Image Courtesy of MTSOfan