I’ve been staring at a blank screen for the past hour or so.
Ok, that’s not true.
I’ve actually been staring at several non-blank screens in an effort to keep me from staring at the one blank screen I should.
So, I decided to post another question of the day.
Here it is:
What tactics do you use to overcome procrastination? Also, do you find it harder to focus nowadays? Why do think that might be?
Let us know in the comments below.
You can find AP2’s personal blog here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com
You can also find him on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot
59 thoughts on “Question of the Day: No. 542”
I think we procrastinate because of a lack of motivation. Someone told me “follow the 5 second rule “ give yourself 5 seconds to decide to do this thing you think of doing. So I am practicing. I have set a goal to write 500 words every day.
The just do something principle – Love it! I think 500 words is very doable.Realistic goals are key. Giving ourselves too much to do can put us off doing anything.
I feel hard to focus these days due to post covid.
I overcome procastination by motivating myself telling that I should receive the benefit/reward or outcome of the particular thing as soon as possible.
We need a reward – yes!! I find using the things that I’m using to distract myself as the reward is quite useful – like I can only check socail meida after I have writen x number of words. Thanks for the tip!
You catch my thoughts. Well explained and I am glad we could relate.
Its my pleasure
I definitely find it harder to focus these days due to social media, specifically TikTok. Those short videos give me a quick dose of dopamine, and it’s easy to keep scrolling.
To overcome procrastination, I use the Self-Control app on my laptop, which blocks whatever sites/apps I want it to for whatever period of time I want it to. I also place my phone somewhere I can’t easily access it. In addition, I do 50-minute Pomodoros so I know I have a set time for planned procrastination, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Meditation also helps deepen my concentration, which has helped significantly with procrastination and getting off task.
All excellent advice – I meditate too – often I will meditate if I get writer’s block – It usually does the trick. Similarly I place my phone in a differnet room altogether. Environment design is better than relying on willpower. Thank you for sharing 🙏🙂
Having doubts will limp us to take a decision on life. Doubts encourage procrastination and avoiding responsibility, it even ensures that you don’t discover your own strengths and stub your action. To me setting a small goals keep me determined and divert attention on the things I admire which brings my focus on track. I believe that distractions are to be blamed with being festival seasons in India and keep us busy with additional chores. The amount of energy I possess is limited and when I try to extrapolate my existing capacity will only screw the output.
I read that the reason for procrastination has nothing to do with being lazy but fear. We are afraid of the difficult feelings certain tasks evoke. That has everything to do with doubt/low self esteem. Setting small manageable goals is a good way to go about it. Often the hardest part is starting. Thank you for your input. I appreciate it. 🙏
One small step. I don’t plan to exercise – I just pull out the yoga mat. I don’t plan to make dinner, I just take out a couple pots and pans. I don’t plan to complete my blog post, I just write one word.
Just do something, anything. The hardest part is often getting started. I do something similar when I’m low on energy. I tell myself to just do 5mins. I tell myself that at least I’ve done something. Invariably once I’ve started I’ll end up doing much more than 5 mins. Great advice. Thank you 🙏
Agree a million percent!
I don’t! If I feel like writing, I write. I know my daughter and my hubby love to read my writing. The rest of the world, I don’t care so much about. I read a chapter or two of a book I am writing and that motivates me to continue. I can’t leave my character in limbo.
You hint at something very important. Having the right motivation for doing something – like bringing joy to your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
Procrastination has become a habit.
Understanding the process of creating a habit can help to break that, as I learnt from Atomic Habits.
Among Cue, Craving, Response and Reward, lack of motivation results in lack of response. You get cue and craving to act but you don’t respond.
Motivation can help in breaking the habit once but to break it completely we should make the reward powerful enough to keep us motivated.
Atomic habits is a great book. I read that behaviours are made up of three things. Motivation, ability (self belief) and triggers. Reward is a very important for the motivation part of the puzzle. Thank you for adding your insights 🙏
Pleasure is mine 🙏
I KIND OF TALK MY WAY THROUGH WHY NOT DOING SOME THING AND IF IT STILL SEEMS LIKE IT NEEDS TO BE DONE THEN I MOVE AHEAD AND GET IT DONE AS BEST AS I CAN AND AS FAST AS I CAN.
SCHEDULING MY DAYS AND WORKING MORE FROM HOME YES I DO FIND IT HARD TO STAY FOCUS. BUT WHEN I REALIZE I HAVE LOST FOCUS I TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHY. SOMETIMES IT IS BECAUSE I NEED A BREAK OTHER TIMES IT MIGHTBE BECAUSE PROJECT IS BORING OR I JUST DO NOT LIKE WHAT I AM DOING. IN THOSE CASES I TRY TO FINISH UP AS FAST AS I CAN AND USUALLY DO NOT WORRY HOW GOOD THE WORK LOOKS ONLY THAT IT IS RIGHT AND DONE.
I negotiate wiht myself as well. I tell my stubborn inner child that if you just sit down and do 10-15mins Ill give you a reward. Once I get started the motivation tends to follow. Something I tend to forget is that motivation often follows action.
Working from home can be a problem for me too. Distractions ruin my flow. I work best if I place myself in a cafe with headphones on away from the home. Your enivornemnt is a powerful influencer.
Thank you so much for adding your thoughts 🙏
for me it is looking like the only way I will be working from now on if allowed.
I think this relates to other practices, but in terms of writing it helps to write a bunch of crap to get the junk out of your head and the good stuff to come up. Like warming up your body before a workout
I love this advice! Often it takes a short while for the muse to come out and play. Thank you for sharing 🙏
I think we procrastinate what we need or are supposed to be doing because there is always something else that we would rather be doing. I have to really talk to myself and be like, “You need to get this done, or it will never get done” or something of the sort. Sometimes it works, and other times I just go ahead and go do what it is when I procrastinated in the first place. *shrugs* Everything gets done eventually, and it’s more peaceful to take it a task at a time if you are overloaded. Breaks are important.
Good advice. People underestimate the power of taking 5 mins to breath and be still if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I take regular breaks now. I find it makes me more productive. You’re right. Everything gets done eventually. And if not, is it really going to be the end of the world? Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it 🙏
No problem! Life, especially these days, is way too short. I’m glad that my advice helped 🙏🏻
Admittedly simplistic, but Nike has the answer, choose something and “Just Do It !”
Motivation often follows action, not the other way around. “Just do it”, is actually great advice. Thanks Fred 🙏
I put my procrastination off for another day.
Procrastinating on procrastination. Like it 🙏
I’ve returned to something enjoyed as a kid, building models. When stalled, I go to my workshop in the garage and spend a few minutes assembling parts and painting. When, I hit a stopping point, waiting for that step in the project to dry, I go back to work.
Doing something you love – downtime – is very important. Often doing the things we love gives us the energy to do the things we must. Thanks Vic – wishing you well 🙏
Thank you, and same to you.
Oh procrastination 😩.. For me social media and scrolling (down that bloody rabbit hole you go) is the culprit. But, I’m much better since I deleted apps off my phone. I just had to (simple as) and oh my god the difference. Journaling helps me to focus🙏 Thank you AP2 for the question and have a lovely weekend ❤
Hey Bernie – oh yes. Doom scrolling is the devil. Deleting apps is a great start. I place my phone in a locked draw while at home nowadays. I find it freeing! Journalling is a wonderful tool too. Thank you for shairng your thoughts. Hope you’re having a great weekend too 🙏
I procrastinate on projects that I typically don’t like to do but have to do. Or when tackling difficult jobs, and I put away thinking I may go back to it sometime later, if at all.
I was working on this tedious, intricate tapestry of London’s iconic symbols and got so disheartened that I put it away thinking that was that.
I did a few simple, instantly gratifying creative projects for a few months. Then a combination of guilt, as a challenge to myself and for the satisfaction of completing something I had started and shelved, I gave it another go. Proud to say that after three or months of it turned out great! This strategy doesn’t work that way every time though.
In answer to your second question, I find it much easier to focus during these, stay-at-home days now that I am retired. I am finally learning to be kind to myself. I do a few things when, and if, I want to or not all. Taking time to reflect, enjoy nature leisurely, give more time to people… And the list goes on!
If I was still teaching, I would have been completely out of my mind trying among other commitments, to balance teaching in-person and online.
I am thankful for this time.
I think being kind to yourself is important. Forcing yourself – whipping yourself – doesnt work – at least not longer term. I wish you a very happy retirement. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts 🙏
Scheduling and motivation help me deal with procrastination. It takes lots of discipline to give only 30mins to an hour a day to social media and to focus on helpful content when I’m on it. But whatever happens, I stick to writing for 2hrs everyday using early morning hrs. This works for me.
Scheduling tasks is so important. Not just saying you’re going to do something but where and when. Specifity is important. Thank you Florence 🙏
I find it hard to overcome procrastination!
I find I just have to set my mind to the task at hand, talk myself into whatever task I have to do, positive self talk sometimes helps me.
Being kind and accepting of yourself is crucial! I often think the biggest secret to self improvement is self acceptance. Thank you Carol anne 🙏
I set a timer for fifteen minutes and tell myself I only have to do the thing for fifteen minutes but nothing else during that time.
Love it. I sometimes negotiate with myself in a similar way – telling myself to just do a little bit – just 5mins – see how you get on. It usually does the trick. Thank you Hetty Eliot 🙏
The old to-do list works for me, i just write down things i intend to do the next day before i sleep and as soon as i wake up, i start doing them. The only thing that kills procrastination is discipline. You wrote it down because it is necessary so you have to do it.
To-do lists work well – reviewing them peridoically to keep you on track. I find you have to be careful though. Try to tackle too much and your to-do list can have the oppositie effect – demotivavitng you/making you feel ovewhelmed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
Since the pandemic everything is has gone online and here in India every education system is closed and I am bored to attend more online classes, for everything you need to be on electronics staring at them so that’s the reason for my procaster nation and loss of focus.
It’s an interesting point. Often I go into my mobile devices for one thing and end up checking several other things I didn’t mean to. It can’t make teaching with them easy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
I know right! My Pleasure.
This is me procrastinating!
I just came here to find tips on how to overcome it, too. 😀
So yeah, you’re not alone.
Haha – I suspected I’m far from alone on thise one. Thank you for letting me know 🙏
I have tried to refocus everytime but the more harder it gets
It’s a problem for me too!
The hours are going to pass anyhow. In bed at night, will I be pleased with myself for how I spent them ?
I also sometimes let it go. If I can’t find the words or focus, I drop it.
It is good to have the right space. If you want to write or read more, make sure you have a cozy, inviting space available to you.
I like that. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is force it. I’ve found myself write in circles before – all I end up doing in those situations is give myself more work to do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
Reading through these comments, I see myself in almost all of them! 🙂 Great topic, AP! Enjoy your week.
Thanks Cheryl. And you! 🙂🙏
I’ve just about perfected the art and science of procrastination. If you’re talking about writer’s block, I recommend just getting one good sentence in mind and then writing it down. Don’t have plan; just relax and see if the first sentence suggests a second. Don’t be afraid of rambling. Some of the great works of literature derive their beauty from meandering around–think Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. If you’re talking about other forms of procrastination, I say that’s an entirely different kettle of fish. I’m trusting myself more the older I get. If I don’t want to do something AT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT, that might be a sign that I should hold off. In recent years, I’ve often been rewarded by slowing down. I find that my first response is not my best response. A delayed response will often be cleverer or more artful or more effective.
Great advice Troy. I find when I try to force the issue it doesn’t work well. Thanks for the suggestions 🙏
I am a huge procrastinator! And it doesn’t help that I think I “work better under pressure”… I’ve got away with it for a long time, but I know I’m going to meet a turning point eventually! I do think it must be easier to procrastinate in this day and age, than any other day and age, because of all the brain candy we have access to: social media, shopping apps (which embody a whole other set of problems :S LOL), and all these websites that are so easy and pleasant to navigate.