Behavioral Science

The One Reason Everyone Procrastinates and How to Stop It

by . August 27th, 2014

I see you. You’re passing off that thing you’re supposed to be doing. You’re probably scouring social networks, YouTube or humor sites. Maybe you’re planning that task. Maybe even planning to plan. You just woke up from napping just because. You’re procrastinating.

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Jose Manuellere
You shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. Everyone does it. Even that kid back in 4th grade who’d get honors every time.

Now that you feel better about yourself, let’s address the problem. Because let’s face it, all those articles that say “You’re just being lazy. Just do it,” don’t work at all.

Q: Why do you procrastinate?

If everyone does it, there should be a ton of reasons behind it, right? Wrong. Derek Halpern helped me realize that everyone procrastinates for the same reason: It just doesn’t matter enough for you.

Using that knowledge, we can turn the tables on this nasty habit… or rather turn the tables on us. We need to find a way to make that task matter. And I’m not talking normal levels of importance, because if that were enough, you’d be done with laundry. I mean off-the-charts important: a life or death scenario.

Ask yourself: What means life to you? What completes you? Money? Reputation? Something you could put on the line without hurting others much. Find something you could wager on and gamble on it.

If you’re preparing something public and have been passing it off, tell the world and give it a date. Because people expect it, you’ll have your reliability on stake. Or maybe give your friend $50 and have him or her donate to a charity you hate if you don’t stick to your goals. How would you feel if your money went to the opposing football team’s fan club?

Try it out with small tasks. Like make the repercussion obviously heavier than the task at hand. Build up little by little.

Actually, about donating to a charity you hate, that’s the service Stickk provides. Go check them out. They’re quite interesting.

Have you tried this yet? Tell us how it went by commenting below. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I do grown-up things to pay for my childish whimsy and rule the universe one step at a time while at it. Join me for the most fantastical, out-of-this-world adventure your trudgy 24/7 startup will never have.

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