Procrastination –And A potential way to start getting over it.

Procrastination…is a malaise that has been plaguing generations of people. Sometimes, I wonder how I have achieved whatever I did so far while being such a terrible procrastinator. I have researched multiple websites/books and everyone talks about multiple root causes. They suggest solutions ranging from identifying the root cause to pushing through using brute force. However, none of those methods really gave a practical guidance on how to win over procrastination. I feel that its an addiction that needs a mindset change. Ironically, I procrastinated on changing my mind 🙂

Attention meets intention and I think I am taking baby steps to address my disease. It has always been challenging to follow abstract steps suggested by authors/self help gurus to get over the hurdle. Finally, I met a book that has a couple of specific chapters addressed exclusively towards procrastination. I recently started reading A Mind for Numbers. It explained two simple concepts that finally made some headway, pun intended.

  1. Re-frame your mind to prefer Process over Product
    1. Product is the end result and Process is the time spent to make progress on individual atomic steps to reach the final product. A lot of sportsmen, I heard, use this technique. It is a procrastinator’s tendency to be overwhelmed by a tough task spanning multiple days/months. However, the book suggests them to be broken down into multiple small tasks and just focus on enjoying working on those tasks without looking at the finish line. The next point explains how to practically do it.
  2. Pomodoro Technique
    1. This is a simple technique where you set 25 minute intervals on your timer and absolutely silence any distractions during those intervals. When you are able to stop multitasking and set focus on process for 25 minutes, tasks will slowly get knocked off even without our knowledge. Even, if some tasks were big enough, its amazing to see so much progress done in 25 minutes that I would not have done this much before reading this book.
    2. My personal observation is that I can do up to 4 intervals a day between my meetings and other tasks and those intervals are my most productive times. I am not as overwhelmed anymore and when I see clear progress, it has a cascading effect on my motivation to complete the tasks.
    3. My noise-canceling head phones and “Music for studying” keyword in youtube are my friends in this journey.

If I helped even one of you with this article, I would consider myself successful. For the first time in years, I have hope that I will be able to do due creative process instead of pulling all nighters and cobbling some shabby work together.

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