Why do we put off doing things that we know we need to do?
It seems to be that, as humans, we are naturally drawn to novelty; to find new and interesting activities and objects. This stimulates the pleasure centres in our brains, while routine and mundane tasks have just the opposite effect.
This can be a problem if you are a chronic procrastinator and are always putting things off. It might be that you have just built up 'bad habits' or feel helpless. It might also be linked with feeling sad, angry, or depressed about aspects of your life. But there might also be other emotions or mental states that accompany chronic procrastination. It's possible that when we put off certain tasks, it's because we do not wish to identify with what those tasks might imply - a conventional, routine, and unexciting life. Behaving like the sort of person who would prioritise getting things done on time might interfere with an identity built on creativity, and spontaneity.
Whatever the reason, hypnotherapy can help you overcome this.
You might also find that these tips can help:
1. Stop catastrophizing.
Many people procrastinate because they catastrophize, or make a huge deal out of something - the task is perceived as too difficult, too boring, or too painful to do. Challenges, boredom, or hard work will not kill us. Putting things off, on the other hand, is associated with stress - think of the stress you feel when you avoid making a phone call you know you need to make. So keep things in perspective: "this isn't my favourite task, but I can get through it.”
2. Focus on the benefits.
Procrastinators focus more on short-term gains (avoiding the distress associated with the task) as opposed to long-term results (the stress of not doing it and the consequences of you avoiding this task). Instead, try focusing on why you are doing it: What are the benefits of completing the task? so, if you have been putting off cleaning out a wardrobe, imagine how good you will feel when it is de-cluttered, how much money you will make by selling the items on eBay or the good it will do by taking the items to a charity shop.
3. Fix a date and time.
Projects that will get done "when I have time” often tend not to get done very often, if ever. Plan when you are going to work on a project, and block out that time and when it is time to do it, set a timer so you can be focused for the entire allotted time.
4. Be realistic.
Things often take much longer than expected, so expect to plan in some extra time. Look for ways to make it easier on yourself: If you're not a morning person, don’t expect to get up an hour early to start exercising if you have put it off for months - It might be better to schedule that activity during lunch or before dinner.
5. Break it down.
When a task seems overwhelming, procrastination often follows. Break the task into smaller, more manageable parts.
6. Excuses be gone.
Do any of these sound familiar? “I need to be in the mood.” “I'll wait til I have the time.” “I work better under pressure.” “I need ... to happen before I can start.” Be honest: These are excuses. It might be nice to ”be in the mood,” but waiting for that to happen can mean you never start that task.
Give yourself a reward if - and only if - you do what you set out to do.
8. Forgive yourself.
Stop beating yourself up about the past. Thoughts such as “I should have started earlier” or “I always procrastinate” will only make matters worse. Research shows that forgiving yourself for past procrastination will help you stop putting off working on a task.
9. Drop the perfectionism.
Perfectionism is an all-or-nothing thinking - something is either perfect or it is a failure. People with perfectionist tendencies tend to wait until things are perfect before they start or if it's not the perfect time, you believe you can't start. This way of thinking can hold you back from starting or from completing a task.