As we analyzed in our previous article procrastination is an emotional response. There is no external solution to procrastination (no time management apps, no mindfulness,… NONE). To rid procrastination, we do need to change our habits and do some subconscious reprogramming. After years of study and practice I have developed an effective methodology within 5 steps to beat procrastination:
- Write down your goals.
- Acknowledge when you are putting something off.
- Start performing new habits.
- Recharge your mind.
- Be grateful.
If you don’t have much time today, I hope you have enjoyed this previous summary we have prepared for you. On the other hand, if you want to learn more, I recommend you to read the rest of the article. In any case, thank you for the support and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here to stay updated on the latest content published on all of our platforms. Buckle up and #subconsciouskaizen for all!!!
What is procrastination?
Procrastination. We have all done it at one point or another in our lives whether it was putting off studying, following up on some lead, or even washing our faces.
Procrastination has deep roots that often are triggered from a potential emotional response such as the fear of failure. We may be putting off things, subconsciously, because we are actually afraid of achieving our goals. Subsequently, we find other things to do to prevent us from reaching that goal. In our last article we talked about why we procrastinate and the origins of procrastination. Essentially, the reason why we procrastinate lies in our subconscious mind and if we want to kick this self-sabotaging behavior for good, we need to work on reprogramming the subconscious mind. Don’t worry. It is not as hard as it may seem. Actually, by following our kaizen transformation methodology, reprogramming the subconscious is easy.
So how can we stop procrastination?
I hope it is clear now that nothing external can help us to stop procrastination. No time-management applications, time spent meditating, or quick hacks will really rid the issue of procrastination. Wait a second, what happens then with this world wide extended mindfulness wave? Isn’t it the solution? Why do companies invest millions in both mindfulness and time management apps if it doesn’t solve the problem?? (Dear kaizeners, if you want me to write an article on the topic leave a comment on the comment section below).
To rid procrastination, we do need to change our habits and do some subconscious reprogramming. Like all stories that have profound and everlasting change, eliminating procrastination is an internal process of transforming our subconscious. But don’t fret! Changing internally, is not as hard as you may be thinking. In fact, it does not have to be difficult to begin the rewiring process of the subconscious.
5 Steps to erase procrastination:
1.- Write down your goals.
In this way you are giving your mind a clear route to follow. Without a plan in place, it is more difficult to get to the final destination. For example, let’s say that you want to write your own book and you are going to dedicate at least twenty minutes a day to writing it. Without a clear plan, your brain gets distracted and that is when procrastination takes over and you never get around to writing that book. Your mind starts looking for temporarily relief and reaches for your phone or turns on Netflix. With a plan, reprogramming the subconscious is possible.
2.- Acknowledge when you are putting something off.
That it is your subconscious mind looking for a way to give you temporarily relief. Perhaps you have this plan to write a book and that you are going to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to writing it. When the time that you have set aside to writing the book comes around and thoughts creep in such as I’ll write later tonight or it’s okay to take a day off, sit with these procrastinating thoughts and accept them. Appreciate that it is just your subconscious mind trying to protect you in an illogical way and then start writing just as you’ve planned. When you recognize these thoughts coming up and see them for what they really are, you can focus your attention onto what you want to do.
3.- Start performing new habits.
Remember a habit is a task that is repeated, and they make up 95% of what we do on a daily basis. In order to shift your habits, you need to develop a new routine. In the case of the book example, your new routine would be dedicating and following through with writing for at least twenty minutes a day. Another way to create new habits is to change up your morning routine. Create a routine where you have some time to set your intentions for the day. I have a routine where I wake up early, set my daily intentions, write down what I am grateful for and then go for a run with my dog. Before I established this routine, my mind tried to convince me that I don’t have enough time to do those things and it is better to sleep in. It took about a week of commitment to the new routine, until the repetition and new habit took root in my subconscious mind. New routines will lead to new habits which will imprint on the subconscious and lead to newfound success.
A great tool that can help you stay on track is by placing autosuggestions in places your will see throughout your day. Autosuggestion is the practice of suggesting new thoughts or ideas to oneself. Place autosuggestion thoughts and goals in places that you frequent the most such as post-it notes on or near your computer, on your lunch in the fridge, your bathroom mirror, and in your cell phone (you can send reminders to yourself throughout the day).
These autosuggestions will help keep you on track and prevent procrastination. Even if you just gloss over the autosuggestion, your subconscious mind will take it into account and once it is starting to reprogram itself it will direct you back to your goal. The more you see the autosuggestions the quicker it gets imprinted into your subconscious.
4.- Recharge your mind.
This step is critical to prevent procrastination, yet often overlooked. Procrastination tends to creep in when our minds are tired. Many things can cause our minds to be tired from lack of sleep to what we eat. Some quick hacks to recharge the mind are to get up and take a 20-minute walk. In fact, a study led by Charles Hillman shows that a 20-minute walk is exercise not only for the body but also for the mind. So, take a short walk and move because your cognitive performance will improve and this will help prevent procrastination. Once your reenergized, stick to the plan and take some time to write your book. 😉
5.- Be grateful.
I start and end each day by writing down at least three things I am grateful for. In the morning I write down anything that I am grateful for having. In the evening, I write down the things that I am grateful for achieving. Having a gratitude practice in place imprints on the subconscious mind that you are happy with the progress you have made, and it will desire more. In fact, researcher Joshua Brown and Joel Wong did a study on how gratitude changes the brain. In their research they found that gratitude helps to rid toxic emotions such as anxiety and self-resentment and helped people form new thoughts with positive emotion words. When you practice gratitude on a daily basis, the goals you set in step 1 will be performed faster, and your subconscious mind is reinforced.
Procrastination loves to rule its head throughout the day. It is not actually because we are lazy humans. Rather, it is because we are human; and, our subconscious mind has been wired to protect us. In the past our subconscious mind responded to actual threats (think predators attacking the tribe), but nowadays it is responding to not so life-or-death threats but to uncomfortable threats such as fear of failure. To prevent such common day fears, we procrastinate.
There are no simple hacks to rid procrastination once and for all. The effective way to ban procrastination from your life comes from understanding that to defeat it we must work at a subconscious level. When we start reprogramming the subconscious mind, everlasting change can occur. So, next time you find yourself delaying something on your to-do list, recognize that it is your emotional brain at work that wants to give you temporarily relief. Follow the steps in this article, and start writing that book 😉
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