“Each time you choose to switch your energy from your procrastination self-talk to the language of the producer,” he explains, “you are wiring in a new track of brain cells — a new neural pathway in your brain. After you switch from the old path to the new several times, the new associations will strengthen, becoming easier to initiate, while the old ones will atrophy.”
4 Tricks to Stop Procrastination
Do you ever find yourself putting off until tomorrow what could probably be done today? If so, I highly recommend this great book from productivity guru Neil Fiore. It’s packed with Big Ideas to help you understand and overcome the “do it later” habit.
How Perception Affects Procrastination
One of the first things Fiore points out is that procrastinating tendencies are often triggered by unspoken fears.
To illustrate this, Fiore asks you to first imagine a solid board that’s 30 feet long, 4 inches thick and 1 foot wide. It’s lying on the ground ahead of you. Your mental task is to walk the length of the board. Given that it’s just resting on the ground, you probably won’t be inclined to put it off.
Next, Fiore suggests imagining that same board has been raised up high in the air and is suspended between two tall buildings, about 100 feet above the pavement.
“Look across to the other end of the board and contemplate beginning your assignment,” he instructs. “What do you feel? What are you thinking about? What are you saying to yourself?”
Fiore suggests taking a moment to notice how your reactions in this situation differ from those you had just a moment ago, when all you had to do was walk along a board that was at ground level. Notice how rapidly your feelings about the task change when the height of the board changes and the consequences of falling are greater.
Isn’t it amazing how often we raise a board up in the air and freak ourselves out? This is what happens when we think we have to be perfect before we start, or we’re never going to be able to do a task well enough — suddenly that simple, step-by-step exercise seems risky and dangerous. It’s the same board, but our fear of failure just raised it sky high.
The truth is, getting across the board always requires putting one foot in front of the other. It’s only our thoughts that paralyze us — by convincing us that a single faulty step could put us at real risk. …
Here are a few more ideas from Fiore on how to change the way you talk to yourself:
• Replace “I have to” with “I choose to.”
• Replace “I must finish” with “When can I start?”
• Replace “This project is so big and important” with “I can take one small step.”
• Replace “I must be perfect” with “I can be perfectly human.”
• Replace “I don’t have time” with “I must take time.”
• Replace “I wish I’d done that” with “What small step can I take now?”