If you ask anyone what procrastination means, they’ll say, “Procrastination is when you put things off.” If you ask them why we procrastinate, they’ll say, “It’s because you don’t want to do something.”
For the most part, this is true, but it’s not the whole truth, and it’s the whole truth that will change your perspective on procrastination.
Yes, when we procrastinate, we are avoiding the dreaded deed that needs doing, but we’re only avoiding doing that deed now. We know it’s got to be done, but so long as we still believe there’s time to get it done before it needs to be done, we’ll keep putting it off.
There’s a Reason Why We Put Things Off
Procrastination means that the dirty deed will eventually get done, but it just won’t get done immediately. We tell ourselves, “There’s still time, right? It doesn’t have to get done today. I’ll eventually get to it.”
Therefore, the problem with procrastination is that when the deed finally does get done, it’s likely to be a half-assed job, or it creates other problems for you or someone else. Have you ever had someone ask you, “Why did you put this off?”
Is it just laziness? That certainly has a part to play in our procrastination, but it’s not the only reason, because we’re still engaged in doing other things while we’re procrastinating. If we were completely lazy, we’d be doing nothing at all. The issue is that we’re only avoiding certain deeds.
So, what would be the reason for our procrastination? Even in the face of the obvious truth that doing something now is always better than putting it off, why do we still put things off? I would argue that procrastination is actually our weird way of getting things done, and there’s a good reason—at least in our own minds—for why we think this way.
“I Work Better Under Pressure.”
Have you ever said, “I work better under pressure?” I think we all say that but why? It’s because the pressure created by a deadline forces us to take action in a way that drives out all competing desires. In other words, when the last day to get something done arrives, you finally give 110% effort to get it done, and you’re focused on the task!
Isn’t that true? We believe that we need external pressure to force you to take action, which is why some people join the military or hire a coach. They know they need pressure from the outside to do what needs to be done. Procrastination, therefore, is our way of putting pressure on ourselves, but that pressure will only take effect when we get closer to the deadline.
Think about it. Today, you appear lazy because you won’t take any action on what needs to get done, but when the day of judgment finally arrives, you suddenly become a different person. You become a massive go-getter who will stop at nothing to get that thing done!
Get Those Dirty Deeds Done by Creating Pressure
Please understand that I am NOT justifying procrastination. Far from it. I’m explaining what I believe is the reason behind why we put things off. What we need to do is overcome our procrastination, but understanding why we procrastinate is the first key to overcoming it.
To repeat, the reason we procrastinate is that we believe that we work better under pressure and that we need the external pressure created by a deadline to force us into taking focused action. It’s really as simple as that. Therefore, the key to overcoming procrastination is to create pressure without a deadline.
The Threat of Punishment or the Lure of Reward
Pressure can come from two sources: 1) the pressure created by the threat of punishment, or 2) the pressure created by the lure of reward. We can easily understand the pressure created by the threat of punishment. That would be like joining the military where the pressure is coming from the threat of a drill sergeant, but what is the pressure created by the lure of reward?
The word “lure” means to tempt someone to do something by offering a reward, and that incentive creates its own kind of pressure because knowing there’s a reward shines a light on the fact that we don’t yet have the reward. Let me explain.
We all know what it means to be hungry, and hunger is an empty stomach, and an empty stomach is a void. Therefore, when we have a void, we seek to fill it, right? When your stomach is empty, you take aggressive action to get something to eat. Even when it’s late at night, and you’re already in bed. You’ll still get up if you’re hungry enough.
It’s the same way with those dirty deeds we don’t want to do. If we can create a sense of reward for getting things done sooner, then that creates a void because we don’t have the reward until the task gets done. This creates internal pressure that will push us to take action just like the void of hunger pushes us to eat.
The Multiplying Effect of Gettin’ Things Done!
So, what’s the reward of getting your taxes done sooner? What’s the reward of cleaning out the garage? What’s the reward of starting on that diet you’ve been dreading? Well, there’s the reward in what those things actually produce, but there’s a deeper reward that’s found in what getting things done does to you.
Every time you put things off, you weaken your self-image. Every time you procrastinate, you undermine your self-worth and self-confidence. However, the opposite is true. Every time you take action and get something done, you improve your self-image, reinforce your self-worth, and increase your self-confidence.
This will have long-term implications because taking action and getting results has a multiplying effect. It will become a “reinforcing cycle” as with each dirty deed done, you grow stronger and more determined to do even more!
How to Become a Beast of Achievement
So, how do you overcome procrastination? You do it by constantly meditating and envisioning what you get, and what you become, if you take action now, and THAT is a healthy form of “internal pressure” that can turn you into a beast of achievement!
Does that make sense? I can tell you that it’s made a difference in my own life over the years because it taught me that success is more than positive thinking because our minds won’t believe a million positive thoughts if we don’t see ourselves taking action. You can imagine yourself thin all you want, but until you physically see that eating right and exercising regularly is actually taking the weight off, you’ll never believe it.
Your mind will change faster when it sees action taken, and if you see yourself getting those dirty deeds done ahead of time, you’ll more quickly believe that you’re equipped for success in any and every area of your life.
You’ll start to get a taste for achievement. You’ll soon realize that the dread you once felt for getting things done was just an illusion, and you’ll become convinced that the reward for taking action sooner is that it creates a better, stronger version of you. At that point, you’ll start living on the internal pressure generated by the lure of reward, and you’ll be transformed into a beast of achievement. Metal up!
*Is there an area of your life that you’d like to overcome your procrastination? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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