Do you have to finish a project that you left on stand-by, the deadline is getting closer but you have not started with it yet? Do you think you are putting off tasks and you don't finish them, although you feel bad for not doing it? How much stress, guilt, or frustration would we take away if we were able to do the things we don't feel like doing when we are supposed to do them, right?
Scientist Heidi Grant has done a lot of research on procrastination and found that we can learn to manage our time if we find the reason that leads us to postpone and we use an appropriate strategy.
Grant offers us the most common reasons that lead human beings to procrastinate and strategies to face them:
- You postpone something because you are afraid of making mistakes.
Solution: Take a "preventive approach." This means that instead of thinking about how to get the best result, you can think of tasks as a way of holding on to what you've already accomplished (as a way of not losing it). For example, finishing a project is a way to prevent my boss from getting angry at me or having a bad opinion of me. Although this may not be very pleasing to the naked eye, there is probably no better way to overcome fear of failure anxiety than to reflect on the dire consequences of doing nothing at all.
- You postpone something because you don't feel like doing it.
Solution: Ignore your feelings, they are getting in your way. On some occasion we have all thought that to motivate yourself and be effective at work, it is necessary to experience that we really want to do it. In other words, being excited about what we do. It is true that we must have a certain degree of commitment to what we do, but it is not necessary that we like to do it. The artist Chuck Close said that “inspiration is for fans; the rest of us just come and get to work. " If you are one of those who postpone tasks because they do not feel like doing them, remember that you do not have to wait for you to feel like it either. Actually, nothing prevents you.
- You put off something because it's boring, difficult, or unpleasant.
Solution: use the "if ... then" formula. Sometimes willpower fails because it is limited. It is not always up to the challenges that we face and that we consider boring, complicated or tedious. Use the "if ... then" formula to decide what steps are appropriate to finish the project you have in mind, the when and where. I give you an example: "si It's three o'clock, so I will stop what I am doing and start working on the first point of the report that José asked me for. ” Program in advance what you are going to do, where and when, and cancel any type of doubt that may arise when you are going to put it on (can I do it later? Should I do something else instead?…). This formula reduces the pressures that can affect your willpower and can allow you to make the right decision before it's too late.
These strategies are not commonly known as "think about your dreams and chase them", "think positive", "focus on everything you can achieve" ... they may be less attractive but they are equally effective. Try them out!