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Benjamin Franklin He said, “Never postpone until tomorrow what you can do today.”
It is very good advice considering that it comes from a subject that was a genius in the world productivity (Author, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civil activist, statesman and diplomat).
Recognizing wisdom in aphorism will not prevent us from leaving out the regiment “Never hesitate again”. (Which is not so terrible: we are not robots and leaving a project unfinished so that we can go to the beach from time to time makes us human.)
Therefore, hesitation is not an occasional issue for some of us. Instead, it locks us into a curling iron and tries to define how we approach everything. If you are like me, you know the tired ritual: voluntarily delaying a necessary task until the panic of a board to check the work finally overcomes the inactivity. Not only can this put you on an embarrassing curve, it is also a huge productivity killer.
Why are some of us more vulnerable than others? Like most of the Personality traitsA recent study says that this has a lot to do with our genes.
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder asked 181 pairs of identical twins and 166 pairs of fraternal brothers about their work habits. Compared to fraternal siblings, identical twins reported similarities in behavior based on their ability to set and achieve goals and their tendency to act impulsively.
The impulsiveness It probably had an evolutionary advantage, said study director Daniel Gustavson. For our ancestors, it was more important than long-term planning to fight for survival in a dangerous world and make decisions quickly.
Delay can develop at the same time as impulsiveness or “arise as a by-product of it” (if we are impulsive, we will be distracted from long-term goals). Unfortunately, these two interlocking genetic traits hurt rather than hurt in times when both management goals and the ability to delay satisfaction are rewarded.
But before you start blaming mom and dad for this penchant for putting off everything until the last minute, remember: most of your personality traits are partly hereditary. The last thing Gustavson wants is for people to read his study and conclude: “I think that means that I will never change. When people see great genetic influences on certain things, they often think they can’t do anything about it, and that’s not true. Just because something is hereditary does not mean that it cannot be changed.
Tom Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, and author of “Solving The Procrastination Puzzle” agrees.
Our limbic system sees it as a constant struggle with the prefrontal cortex (a section that was later developed by evolution and is responsible for executive functions and impulsive control). Sometimes the limbic system inevitably wins. It is natural to hesitate, you must realize that you will be wrong, however you can change if you really want to.
For all of us struggling with genes that shout “back, back, back”, Pychyl shares some Strategies to help the prefrontal cortex emerge victorious.
Understand the true definition of postponement
This is very important, there are different types of delay that are flattering, since life is, after all, a constant series of compensations. Sometimes you have to be on a project because something more important comes up. This is not called postponement, but a informed decision.
Delay, however, is never positive. “Anyone who thinks they have a silver lining is playing with the definition,” says Pychyl.
Some of us may develop a protective relationship with their tendency to hesitate, but although there are many reasons for this, none is healthy.
Stop making excuses
This is related to Pychyl’s previous point. Deferral is a voluntary delay an intentionally flattering act and therefore causes uncomfortable dissonances that we try to alleviate with a ball of excuses.
Most frequently? “I work better under pressure.” “This is nonsense!” Everyone makes more mistakes when he’s under printIt has always been like this. What you really say is that the only thing that motivates you to work is a lot of pressure to quit and that is wrong.
Postponement can cause people to concentrate, and this is because their backs are glued to the wall. The same attention to detail is possible even when you are not under pressure. Learn how to volunteer to get one Flow state It takes time and effort, but it is the secret of productivity. Reluctants have to realize that it is possible to concentrate on deadlines without panic, this takes practice.
Minimize distractions and set deadlines
If you have all sorts of distractions at the push of a button, you’re more likely to check Facebook, your email, and suddenly three hours pass. Distractions, of course Reduce your productivitybut for a chronic procrastinator they are the worst. It is better to remove most (block Facebook, delete Solitaire from your desktop, whatever you need to do).
As a sum, set up a strict schedule for you. “Autonomy is good for those who don’t hesitate, but those who need deadlines,” says Pychyl. For managers dealing with hesitant employees, Pychyl recommends that they set their own goals. Specific details help them to have a certain order.
Don’t let your inner child dictate your actions
“I don’t know where we learn this, but somehow we internalize the idea that our state of motivation has to match the task at hand,” says Pychyl.
In fact, getting started for many if not most important jobs has nothing to do with how we feel.
Either way, we sometimes reject the term hopeful sentence: “let me want more tomorrow“” We hardly do it, so the task is delayed again. So why do we insist that a job we fend off magically becomes less off-putting in 24 hours?
We tend to predict our future feelings based on the present (remember to go to the supermarket on an empty stomach instead of having a feast. Your car is probably full of groceries). If you decide to put off something, take some stress on yourself and that makes you feel good. So when you predict how you’ll settle tomorrow, base your prediction on your current mood.
In summary, brain scans show that we view our future more as strangers, which explains why we often overestimate our ability / desire to accomplish a necessary but undesirable task within three weeks.
The biggest myth procrastinators have to eradicate? Interrupt the delay cycle and say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Once you realize that this is a strategy to avoid things, you are on the right track.