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I was wondering if someone know of a good way to get out of procrastination. Like situations when you know you have to do something and the more you procrastinate the more you know you have to do it anyway and just have to stress it out or pull an all nigher. But the more you think of that you have to do it the more you avoid it. And get stuck doing things like:

  • Clicking around, on internet not getting anything useful done at all.

  • Watching meaningless youtube videos for hours on end.

  • Should take a quick shower but ends up spending a long time just standing there.

  • Going to bed early to get up in the morning to do it, but still sleep until late.

I am asking for specific techniques or mental tools to aid in getting out of these situations.

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7 Answers 7

My mother-in-law has said: "If you have a plate of frogs in front of you, eat the ugliest one first."

Features of this quote:

  • The frogs are your unpleasant tasks. They're not butterflies.
  • One of those tasks is going to be the most unpleasant.
  • Given that you have to do all of them, get the most unpleasant one out of the way first.
  • Then, it gets easier. The other tasks are less unpleasant, and eventually they're all done.
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I've got a few things that might be able to help you, this has been a problem for me throughout my life, causing me years of depression and pervasive suicidal thoughts. It's my hope that at least some of this will be useful to you, so you can go on living a happy life stress-free. I wish you luck on your journey!

Stress, Anxiety, and Mindset:

The first and most important thing is to not beat yourself up too much about this. It will only serve to discourage and de-motivate you, when what you need most right now is movement in your life. It's not productive.

As always, easier said than done.

It's most important during these times to keep perspective. Don't compare yourself to other people, instead compare you to where you were and how far you've come to where you are today. Don't say, "this crap isn't as good as what [that successful guy] is making." Say, "this crap is WAY better than the crap I was making 2 years ago!"

Make an effort to realize that as stress and anxiety builds around the project, the actual work required will begin to seem overwhelming. When this happens, you actually get the nice benefit when you complete the project of being able to say, "...wasn't as hard as I expected!"

Tips and tricks you can actually 'do':

  • Small-chunk the work (and let the Zeigarnik Effect take over)
    1. Say it's a stack of papers that you must process. Take a small stack off the top, and place it in front of you. Now tell yourself, "all I have to do is finish this small part then I can go on to something else."
    2. What if it's just one big chunk of work, say like a software project? Pick a close stopping point – a spot easy to reach and easy to continue from – and tell yourself the same thing, "At this point I can move on to something else if I like."
  • Tell other people about it. (or not)
  • Remove distractions
  • Change locations.
  • Take a walk — take the time to air our your lungs, air our your mind, change the scenery a little bit, get your body and your brain out of being stuck in the same place. The spiritually-calming effects of the most simple stroll around the block are so profound and subtle that it must be tried to believe.
  • Play time is sacred – schedule it into your day. Do not let work or any other project violate your well-deserved daily guilt-free play. Making play time sacred will give perspective on work time and actually make you more productive. (The Now Habit)
  • Meditate. If you haven't read any of the several studies out there about the positive benefits of meditation on the mind and body, you should. Doing meditation is simple – yet as always, easier said than done, it's harder than it looks. The purpose is to clear your mind and remain at a blank slate, no stray thoughts flying about – easy, right? If you find them creeping in, simply let them pass; don't fight it. "Whatever you resist, persists." Experiment and find out what you like. You can meditate sitting in a chair, lying down, sitting against the wall, etc. Try to remain present and in the moment. And overall, screw anybody who tries to tell you 'this how you're supposed to do it,' listen to your body and do what you like.

Good luck be unto you!

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OP I really like your question, so I'm going to continue to update for my own sake and for any others out there who think like I do. In fact, I may change it completely, so don't mind me. –  IT Bear Aug 23 at 1:01

The key is to start the task you plan on doing. Once you started the task, it will be easier to get the motivation to complete it.

You should also set small prizes for yourself if you finish a task, and only receive them once the task is complete. This could be a fun way to do things, nut as I said before, you must first START.

Now, get of your ass and START ALREADY !!!

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In many (not all) cases, procrastination is a result of a task not being clearly enough understood, or being too big to approach at one time.

When I find myself procrastinating on something, I take a close look at it. I may need to clarify the definition of "done" for that task, or I may need to break it down into smaller pieces.

Taking either step often has the effect of clearing the mental blockage that causes me to procrastinate.

Note, there is a potential trap here. Spending time refining your task list can itself be a form of procrastination! Knowing to guard against that, take another look at the things you're procrastinating about and see if clarifying your goal or dividing to conquer helps.

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Anyone who truly knows probably won't be on this forum answering the question in the first place, but I'll still throw out a few tidbits.

The ability to get stuff done seems to come from deep within. I've been in moods where I want nothing more than to blast through my to-do list. Other times, I've felt that refreshing my inbox repeatedly was the most important thing in life. Dumb, obviously.

Tidbit 1: You can force yourself to behave by focusing on the satisfaction of getting something done, but in the end you still don't feel like it, and you'll probably fail again very soon. So, focusing on the reason for doing the task can work in the short term.

Tidbit 2: To do better in the long term, you need to identify the time-suckers such as Facebook, and admit that they are robbing your life of meaning. Then, just delete the accounts. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then watch the documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply". Then you'll want to delete it. Basically, making distractions a part of your past (rather than present) is the only way to make them stop.

Tidbit 3: As I was saying, true motivation comes from within. I've had good luck using Yerba Mate, which has stimulants known for elevating mood and increasing motivation, and Aniracetam worked pretty well, as well. In addition to that, check your diet for things that cause lethargy, such as MSG, too much junk food, sugar, fast food, etc. Check out http://www.bulletproofexec.com/ for some great diet and life tips.

There's a saying that goes:

You cannot make anyone to do anything. You can only make them want to do it.

The key, overall, is to make yourself want to do it. Nobody can make you want something. That drive must come from you. If you don't have it then you must find it. If you can't, then scratch your youtube itch and look up Jim Rohn on youtube. He's the motivational speaker that taught and inspired all the big names that you know today, such as Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and others.

I gotta get back to work.

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Other commenters have pointed out spiritual or mental ways to accomplish your goal of reducing procrastination. However, as we are all humans, we will fail at controlling ourselves.

I have found that a software, such as SelfControl, can block sites and make it impossible to get lost on YouTube or Reddit...

Good luck!

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You are assuming that the internet is the main problem. I tried your solution but ended upwith tweaking my pc –  Suhaib Aug 15 at 5:57
    
I suggested this solution because OP mentioned hours of YouTube videos and pointless internet browsing. If you're serious about tackling procrastination, which I believe you are, then you'll need to use multiple methods to achieve your goal. The other answers will help your mentality, and having a website blocker will reinforce those efforts. –  YoungEcono Aug 15 at 6:24
    
This answer only addresses only the detail where (Internet) distraction is part of the procrastination. –  Jan Doggen Aug 15 at 7:00

So let's start by taking an example: you are on the internet searching for the best way to stop procrastinating. And you see that you have an unread email in your inbox and you are so tempted to look at it so think of procrastinating your search.

Now, here's a simplest thing you can do to avoid procrastination:

  1. Identify the value that you would gain out of the task in your hand - now you know the importance of the task in hand
  2. Fix a time from right now to whatever time you think this task will take - Decide that no matter what, you will finish this task during this time interval. [If you are not able to finish the task in time, do not stop it there. You would have already gotten a hang of it take advantage of the situation and continue until you finish it]
  3. Set a reward for yourself for keeping up your commitment. [because you deserve it!]

Hope you found it useful. All the best!

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