We all know what it means to procrastinate. It’s one of those things that we are aware we need to change but for some reason or another we just don’t get around to doing it. So procrastination is not only the problem, it’s also the reason why we find it hard to overcome it.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We put off doing things that we know we should be doing because at some level we actually don’t want to do it. This means that our ‘no’ energy is stronger than our ‘yes’ energy towards whatever we are avoiding or delaying.
Causes of Procrastination
If you stop and think about the reasons why you tend to put things off you’d probably just be skimming the surface. While on the face of it procrastination can look like simple behavioral issues like poor time management, lack of organization, poor decision making, or plain old laziness, these are the symptoms of procrastination and not the source.
The source of procrastination has deeply embedded roots in our conditioned beliefs around the meaning of the word ‘should’ for us. We typically link the word ‘should’ to pain because at some level we believe that taking action on something in this moment will be more painful than putting it off.
Consciously we are aware that we can at any moment simply make a choice to take action so that we can get started or continue on with something we know we should be doing. Yet, it’s our sub-conscious fear of change and the pain we imagine we’ll have to go through that holds us back.
The pain I speak of here is not even necessarily physical. It can be the imagined pain of having to get up 30 minutes earlier each day. Or, the thought of the emotional distress that may arise if we finally make a change in a relationship that’s not healthy for us.
Overcoming Procrastination With Meditation Tips
Interestingly enough, you may have had the experience of putting off something for so long that suddenly you felt pressure to just do it, to get it over and done? When this happens, it means that not taking action, or continuing to procrastinate, is now more painful than moving ahead.
Mindfulness meditation can help to short circuit our sub-conscious beliefs that hold us back from taking action. The way it works is that we can trick our brain into not listening to the sub-conscious urge to procrastinate when the feeling arises.
Rather than following the path of least resistance which is to continue to avoid unpleasant feelings when we need to make a decision about something that needs to get done, we can instead teach our brain some new tricks to kick the habit of procrastination.
The simplest way to get started create new neural pathways in the brain that help overcome procrastination is to get into the daily habit of doing 10 to 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation every day. This will instantly help with exercising the mind for improved focus, attention and emotional balance.
The are hundreds of mindful meditations to choose from but if you’re new to it then perhaps start with closing your eyes, take a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself, and then pay attention to the breath coming in and moving out from the body. Anytime you notice you get distracted from watching your breathing, gently bring your attention back to it.
The other simple psychological tool you can use to reprogram your mind to be an action taker, rather than a procrastinator, is to stop using the word ‘should’ on yourself. Instead, when you are faced with a decision about something that needs to be done, make it a ‘could’ for you.
For example, the statement, ‘I should do the dishes now’, has a different meaning than, ‘I could do the dishes now’. The first statement implies that you don’t have a choice, whereas the second statement means you have the power to choose.
When we choose the path that empowers us, then taking right-action in our lives becomes progressively easier. If we know that we could do something, rather than should do it, then psychologically and emotionally it frees up our energy to be more inclined to take action when we’re ready.
3 Ways To Kick-Start Your Productivity Into High Gear
To help kick-start your life into the highest level of productivity and performance that you aspire to see in yourself, follow these simple steps:
- Make a list of the top 10 things you have been procrastinating about and then pick one of the items on your list and get started on it today.
- Take action on it every day until it’s either a new habit or it’s been completed.
- Add 10 to 20 minutes of mindful meditation to your day as this is going to be like a gym workout for your brain that will help you to break free from old mental and emotional habits that have held you back from happiness, success, and true effectiveness in life.
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