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If you procrastinate then you need to read this

You know it is in your best interest to complete the task now, but you keep putting it off...


When we procrastinate, we can find ourselves saying that we are lazy or unproductive. However, we must realise that, at it's core, procrastination is an emotional regulation issue.


Did you know that?


As a human being, you naturally retreat from (expected) discomfort. Couple that with present bias, which is our tendency to prioritise short-term needs instead of long-term ones - and you've got it - procrastination.


I encourage you to first focus on what you feel you think about the action/task that you are avoiding, and then try and find more helpful ways to regulate that emotion.


BONUS: consider positive aspects of the task to up-regulate positive affect. For example, by reminding yourself how this task helps you reach your goal. When the task doesn't require full concentration, you can also down-regulate negative affect by making an activity less aversive. For example, listening to your favourite podcast while cleaning.


Try and push back on those harmful names you give yourself in times of frustration. They don't serve you.


Remember:

  1. Procrastination often happens when we're avoiding emotional discomfort. The solution likely lies in managing your emotions in new ways.

  2. Focus on what you feel when you think about the action/task in question. Can you find a more helpful way to express that emotion?

  3. Practice taking ownership by swapping out 'I need to...' or 'I should...' with 'I choose to...'

  4. Stop telling yourself that you're lazy. That's not helping. Practice compassion instead.

  5. If you're struggling to start, give yourself a short window of time to begin. Give yourself full permission to stop what you're doing after that time (though, you might surprise yourself!)

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