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How to: Break Up With Procrastination

June 9, 2016
Are you in a complicated relationship with your work? Is procrastinating getting in the way of your thriving? Don't worry, we've all been there and breaking up is hard to do.

I have become so desperate to end my relationship with procrastination, that I have read the entire first (and second) page of Google search results on “how to stop procrastinating.” The fair share of the advice is based on foot-in-the-door approaches like starting on the hardest task first or creating a detailed to-do list. These solutions don’t get at the root of the problem, and as a chronic procrastinator, I ended up procrastinating on the things that are supposed to stop me from procrastinating!!!

procrastination underestimate time

Photos by Soojin Kim and Krizia Victoria

Miraculously, some higher power heard my cries and I found Dr. Pychyl’s podcasts! One in particular, really helped me to understand and change why I actually procrastinate. To pay it forward, I’ve compiled a (condensed) list of tips to help YOU ~break-up~ with procrastination!

Mindfulness of Procrastination

procrastination mindful3

Instead of ignoring or suppressing uncomfortable emotions such as guilt or anxiety when thinking about work, just allow yourself to be present with them and try to understand why you feel this way. Personally, I place extremely high expectations upon myself and feel as if others are doing the same, so the thought of not being able to meet these expectations immobilizes me to the point where I become anxious from all the “what ifs.” I realize with mindfulness, that I actually do have control of these emotions, and I can develop the ability to not react to them through procrastination. Emotions are momentary so try to allow them to happen and just pass.

Create A Narrative

procrastination narrative2

Just before I decide to actually get some work done, I have this self-talk where I repeat over and over, “Plz let me finish this tonight!” That alone makes the work harder than it actually needs to be. Even though it is work, I can change the narrative and choose not to treat it like assigned work. Instead, I can treat it as something that I have chosen to do! Remember that you are not enslaved by your work, you have the freedom to stop working anytime if you don’t want to!

Don’t Under Estimate Time

procrastination time edited

Something that I struggle with the most (and the reason for my horrible punctuality) is what psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky calls the “planning fallacy“ which is underestimating the time it will take to complete a task. One of the reasons for continuously underestimating time is by ignoring or failing to recall how long similar tasks took in the past. People develop a habit of being optimistic, thinking that accidents and unforeseen problems won’t occur to them and using the external environment as the excuse for our lateness. We should plan for extra time to accommodate the unexpected events — it’s always safer to overestimate time than underestimate.

Just Do It

procrastination feel

I’m still trying to understand how feeling like not doing anything can override all of my rationality and make me believe that watching Netflix the entire day is okay, even when I have a project due tomorrow (true story, I watched the entire series of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden during my first year semester, fml) Instead of becoming this feeling, realize that if you don’t feel like it now, you probably won’t ever feel like it later. Honestly, just start on your task even if it is just writing your name down on the assignment sheet!!! I believe in you!!!

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

procrastination forgive

I know the advice I just gave is easier said than done, so if you do end up losing this procrastination battle, show yourself compassion and forgive yourself. Negative self-talk is damaging and can make you further procrastinate from tasks. According to Dr. Pychyl, “Procrastination is the transgression with the self.” People often believe that in order to discipline themselves, they shouldn’t forgive themselves for procrastinating, in the fear of perpetuating this habit. However, by recognizing and forgiving that you actually procrastinated, allows you to move on from it. You CAN do it!!!!

Directed + Concept by Soojin Kim
Video by Krizia Victoria
Featuring Ema Walters, Soojin Kim, and Krizia Victoria
Voiceover by Kelly Seo
Titles by Soojin Kim

 

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Soojin Kim is Graphic Designer based in Toronto. She has an unhealthy obsession with tomato sauce and says sorry way too much. Follow her on Instagram to see more of her work!