Challenging Procrastination: Experimenting with Excuses
Last week we started to talk about how you can challenge your excuses for procrastination by challenging the conclusions you come to. However, you can also challenge your excuses for procrastinating by testing them. There’s a few different ways you can test it based on what’s fueling your procroastination
Fatigue, Motivation, Inspiration & Mood
- I’m really tired, I am better off doing it after I’ve rested.
- I don’t want to do it now, I may feel more like doing it tomorrow
Each of these statements concludes that you do not feel capable of completed the required task right now, and you decide that it will somehow be better in the future.
- Rate how you’re feeling – The next time you notice yourself procrastinating on something, first rate how tired, unmotivated, uninspired or how low your mood is on a scale from 0-10.
- Set a time frame – Once you’ve rated you’re feeling, give yourself a time frame to do the task that seems like a realistic and reasonable amount of time.
- Re-Rate Feeling – After you work on the task for your set time frame, re-rate how you’re feeling, and reflect on what you’ve achieved in the given time frame.
- Repeat – you may choose to continue working for another set amount of time, and then re-rate how you’re feeling again after that.
It’s important to experiment with your conclusions multiple times. After all, to test a theory the scientist wouldn’t just collect one sample or do one experiments; they do multiple. For most people, after they complete these experiments, they often realise they feel more motivated, energised, and inspired.
Lack of Resources
- I don’t have everything I need, I’ll wait until I do
- I don’t have enough time to get it all done, I’ll wait until I have more time to do it.
With these excuses, you decide that you require all the possible resources until you can complete a task. Luckily, there are two ways you can experiment with this excuse; and it’s important to try to both and alternate between them.
- All or Nothing approach: try waiting until you have everything you need and enough time to complete the task before starting. By doing this, you wait until you can do the entire task in one sitting.
- Bits and Pieces Approach: Try doing what you can with the resources you have available, coming back to the task each time more resources and more time becomes available. This allows you to complete the task in smaller chunks.
After trying each approach several times, compare each one and see which works best for you. It’ll allow you to see which approach suits you best instead of presuming waiting is the most effective way.
- I’ll wait until the last minute, I work better under stress anyway
With this excuse, you believe that pressure is the best way to get something done. Just like with the lack of resources, there are two ways to experiment with this.
- Last minute approach – leave tasks until there is very little time and you really feel stressed before starting the task.
- Ahead of time approach – plan to work on tasks so they are completed well ahead of time (e.g. at least 2 days before).
After trying each approach, try to see which way works best for you.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned next week, we’ll talk about turning negative self talk into motivational self talk.
This blog post was adapted from Module 4: Dismissing Procrastination Excuses.