Why We Procrastinate and How to Get Things Done
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Your brain’s number one job is to keep you alive.
One of the ways it does that is by conserving energy.
Conserving energy often looks like living the same comfortable, albeit unfulfilling, days over and over again.
We procrastinate because our brain hates to do anything that it thinks will be hard, new, or different because it requires mental energy.
One of the strategies the brain uses to keep us in procrastination is to tell us why it won’t work, we can’t do it, and we’re not worth it.
If your brain is anything like mine, it might tell you things like:
It’s too hard.
I don’t have time.
I can’t do it.
I don’t know how.
I’ll look stupid.
It’s too late for me.
I’m too old.
I can’t afford it.
I don’t know where to start.
It’s time to break up with those beliefs.
Your brain is trying to stop you from taking action to protect you from the shame you are inflicting upon yourself.
It safer, easier, and temporarily more comfortable not to take action.
But for all of us procrastinators, the long term consequence is compounded discomfort leading to a life of frustration and dissatisfaction.
The answer to procrastination is managing your mind.
Decide what you want to do and why.
Love your reasons. Feel good so your brain won’t fight against you.
Plan your actions specifically and detailed.
· Instead of thinking, I’m going to clean out my basement, which is vague and overwhelming.
· Think, I will set a timer for 60 minutes on Monday at 4 pm and empty three boxes.
· I will put the contents of those boxes into three piles, throw away, give away and put away.
· I will take the throw-away pile to the trash and put the giveaway pile in a box, and put it in my car to donate.
· I will schedule another block of time to decide and put away the third pile.
· You must tell your brain exactly what to do, or it will spin in confusion and overwhelm.
Schedule it. You must put it on your calendar, or it won’t get done.
Talk to your brain more than you listen to it.
· Expect It to give you many reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
· Expect to not feel like doing it when the time comes.
· That it’s job. Nothing has gone wrong.
· But you are not your brain.
· Talk to your brain as a loving adult. You are in charge.
· Manage your brain instead of letting it manage you.
Be kind, understanding, and compassionate.
· Do not beat yourself up.
· Nothing is wrong with you.
· You just have a human brain trying to conserve energy.
Choose one thing you have procrastinated on. It doesn’t matter what.