Using Perception to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination, otherwise known as avoiding what you should be doing, has one main root cause: 

What you are currently procrastinating just isn't interesting enough.

Think about it this way, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever your go-to getaway is, is always there.  It is literally accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on holidays and on weekends.  The developers of these programs have ensured that there is always new and interesting content for you.  It is limitless and way too easily accessible.

In contrast to the limitlessness of social media, we are only all too aware of our limited time.  You would think that this would make us hyper sensitive to the time we waste, looking to save time absolutely anywhere that we can, but that's just not the case.

Whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing, is simply not as interesting as social media is.  Whether you should be writing a report, cleaning the house, paying attention to your children, or exercising, the immediate benefit is not as great as it is on social media, which has literally been designed for instant gratification.

So what do we do?! Are we just slaves to social media because nothing else is as good?!  Uh, no.

 The way to stop procrastinating, no matter what your time affair is with, is to see what you should be doing as more interesting.  This is an exercise in perception and you get to choose what you perceive.  

For example, if you should be cleaning the house, instead of looking at the task as a chore and long list of things you don't want to do: scrub the toilets, do the dishes, vacuum... focus instead on your desired end result, your sparkling clean house.  When your focus is on your result, then spending your time in any other way is clearly counter intuitive.  This might not make the task any more fun (but you can choose to solve that by listening to upbeat music, an audiobook, or by racing the clock), but it will overcome your procrastination.  Then, once the task is complete, kick up your heels and log on to Instagram, you deserve it!

Changing your perception will help you resist the temptation to procrastinate in every circumstance.  But this report is unforgivably boring, you say.  There are absolutely no redeeming qualities about it.  Well, the report needs to be done, yes?  If it doesn't need to be done and you don't want to do it, then don't do it.  Problem solved.  However, if you have to do it, you may as well get it over with.  If that shift in perception is too slight, try looking at the report as a way to keep your job.  Your job has a greater benefit than social media, right?  If it doesn't, then why is it your job?  You should probably consider getting a new one.  But okay, let's say that having that job isn't particularly worth it.  What about the paycheck?  What about what you buy with the paycheck?  Food, Starbucks, and those new Michael Kors shoes?  Once you see that by completing the report, you'll be able to eat lunch at your favorite restaurant once a week, you'll be able to overcome the draw to procrastinate.

"If we can learn to make ourselves do the things that we don't want to do, then we have literally created the power to create any result in our lives."
Rory Vaden, Take the Stairs

Next time you have the opportunity to choose to procrastinate, which, I'm betting, will be soon, take a moment to think about the benefits you're getting from each option that you have.  How can you change your perception to help you defeat the temptation to procrastinate and instead, do what needs to be done?