We all have that one task that we keep putting off until the last minute. Even when we know we should start working on it, we find ourselves scrolling through social media, watching TV, or doing anything else to avoid the task at hand. Why do we procrastinate, even when we know it's not in our best interest?
The answer lies in our brain's reward system. Whenever we complete a task, our brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good. This is why we feel a sense of accomplishment when we finish something. However, when we think about starting a task, our brain doesn't release dopamine because we haven't actually done anything yet. This lack of immediate reward makes it harder for us to motivate ourselves to start.
Additionally, we may also procrastinate because we feel overwhelmed or anxious about the task. We might worry that we won't do a good job or that we'll fail. This fear can paralyze us and make it even harder to get started.
So, what can we do to overcome procrastination? Here are my top four tips.
Bite size it – if you break the task down into smaller, more manageable chunks it will feel less overwhelming. Set yourself a timer for 30 minutes and focus on one thing. Then take a break.
Better it – If the task makes your feel “blurgh” then is there a way to improve it? Could you change up your workspace? Find a co-worker? Think about the end result and how you will feel then. Focus on that.
Barter it – Is there someone else who can do it for you? There are lots of great small businesses out there who can support you with the tasks you are not skilled in or just don’t enjoy. This leaves you time to focus on the priority tasks.
Bin it – Do you really need to do it or is it something you feel you SHOULD do? Ditch the non-essential tasks.
Finally, it's important to recognize that procrastination is a natural part of the human experience. We all do it from time to time, and that's okay. Instead of beating ourselves up about it, we can try to understand why we're procrastinating and find strategies to overcome it. I work with clients to help them prioritise the important stuff. Want to chat through ways in which I can support you? Book in a free appointment now.