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Thread: Procrastination

  1. #1

    Default Procrastination

    Has anyone overcome this? How?
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  2. #2
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    May 2009
    1w2 so/sx


    I don't have it licked yet, but I think I've identified some of the things that will help.

    1. The more you do of something, the more interested you become in doing it. The less you do of it, the less interested you are in doing it.

    2. Action precedes intention. Rather than waiting until the circumstances are perfect and you feel like it, do some of it and the feelings will come along.

    3. Break it into bite-sized chunks. Usually our avoidance is caused by the emotional feelings of being overwhelmed which our brain is trying to protect us from encountering. This may be because we tend to be too perfectionistic, we are missing some piece of information that we need for how to go at it, we have had a bad experience with it in the past and are afraid of failing, or the task just seems too big. By looking at it just a little at a time, our brain gets the message that we will be okay - just around the time panic sets in we are done that little bit that we set for ourselves to look at. This may be very small - asking a question to one person. Looking up one website. Sorting out the stuff that you will need. Going to the store for the materials needed to accomplish the task, etc.

    4. Misery loves company. We tend to be very influenced by the actions of those around us. Finding someone to work alongside you at a task they are avoiding will encourage both of you to do better. Similarly, hanging around someone who is also procrastinating prolongs the problem.

    5. Try to chart a map of the steps from where you are to where you need to be. This makes it seem more approachable and like you are in charge of it, instead of it being in charge of you.

    6. Accountability - build in some mini deadlines for yourself and preferably a times along the way when someone else actually sees where you are at. Most of us work best under pressure.

    7. Actually schedule regular time in which to work on it, rather than leaving the time to work on it up to chance. Little short spurts scheduled more often are easier to face than one long spurt at a time when you feel like it. I've done this with exercise and with cleaning by setting my watch on the hour and doing X amount of squats or picking up 10 items and finding homes for them etc.

    8. Try to identify the fear/emotional issue that is keeping you from wanting to face what is in front of you. When you deal with the source, rather than the symptoms, it is easier to overcome.

    9. Sometimes completing something is more important than having it exactly as you visualized it and never ending up getting it done.

    10. Try to deal with anything within your power right away. This is particularly true for things like phone calls and emails. It's easy to forget, feel less urgent, or procrastinate returning communication the longer you put it off.

    11. Recognize that the longer you avoid something, the bigger it becomes in your head. By facing it, you shrink it back down to its actual size, rather than what it has become in your mind.

    12. Develop routines for yourself. Little children do not put up as much fuss about doing things when they get into the habit of doing them every day and it is not a surprise. It becomes a habit and they are also emotionally prepared for it. We aren't so different, even when we have the autonomy to choose when we want to tackle something.

  3. #3
    Vaguely Precise Array Seymour's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    5w4 sx


    I can't say I've overcome it,but I think I've gotten better at working around it. I find it's painful for things to move from the abstract ideal I envision into the less-than-ideal actual. This means I have a tendency to put off actually starting something, because as soon as I do it can no longer be improved, and it will disappoint (on some level).

    So, I find that deadlines are actually my friend. They force me to shift from the perfect to the "as good as it can be given time." That's actually helpful for me, since it causes me to adjust my expectations from the ideal to the possible.

    So, my general coping strategy is:

    • Take deadlines seriously (that adrenaline plus the challenge helps motivate)
    • Do things while you are thinking about them whenever possible (as a perceiver, I suck at remembering to do things on a schedule)
    • While waiting for inspiration, pick some tiny goal to get started. Once one's interest is engaged, things get easier.
    • As an Fi dom, I find that guilt from procrastination prevents starting something. When possible, try to get started without engaging the guilt... trick yourself into starting without thinking about it too much, if possible.
    • Guilt is a demotivator, not a motivator. So, don't focus on how you've failed to get things done, focus on the next time it's possible to get something done.

    As a perceiver, your motivation is going to be less even than a judger. Part of the process is accepting that. Learn to pick away at things to try to encourage your motivation to engage. At your best, I think perceivers in the flow are hard to beat.

    EDIT: I think fidelia's suggestions are great, but I find I rebel against things like list-making, explicit scheduling the like. I do sometimes make fake early deadlines for myself, in order to try to make something a challenge. Somehow I'm more motivated when it seems impossible.

    I also find that I do have to work on internal motivation... not as good as the "fake it 'til you make it" approach as fidelia is.

    Otherwise, lots of overlap.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Tabula's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    9w1 so/sx


    My strategy has proved to be fairly successful, if maybe a bit seemingly-counterintuitive. It works for me (mostly, and when it NEEDS to...) but I can see that this might not be the greatest advice for everyone. Take from it what you will.

    I'm a minimizer. I'll minimize its importance, its impact on me and my life in the "grand scheme o' things"-- basically making it more tractable to work with and so diminishing that initial scary/intimidating sense of: "This Is Very Imporant; Do and Do Well...OR ELSE!" thing. I can see how, in some people, this might be the wrong route (it COULD be like giving yourself a pass on doing/handing in sloppy work [or whatever it is you need to be doing] because "doing something is better than nothing, and well, I did do something!") That's the fatal flaw with this strategy, I think, but it's good when you're aware of it before it could happen. I think it greatly depends on what is causing you to procrastinate in the first place. It's usually fear for me, in some form. Fear of not meeting the expectations I set for this project (and, by extension--ME!) fear of failing, fear of...whatever it is. Other than that, I see you've already received some great suggestions. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Banned Array
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    Nov 2009


    I have some ideas about this.. But I'll tell you later

  6. #6
    Carerra Lu Array IZthe411's Avatar
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    Jul 2009


    I like the small steps approach. I tend to look at the thing in 'whole' and that's overwhelming. but If I do some work upfront of making the task at hand into smaller more achievable items, it works better and is more enjoyable.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Saslou's Avatar
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    Feb 2009


    ^^ Agreed
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  8. #8
    Emperor/Dictator Array kyuuei's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    I think fidelia was definitely onto something with her post. She mentioned a lot of the techniques and more that I was going to.

    I'll simply add to it with my own thought: Procrastination is just like any other bad habit. You never consider it 'broken'. I always tell people they "paused" smoking, because you never know if a year from now you'll smoke another one or not.. People who had bad habits about maintaining hygiene can slip again, and fail to brush their teeth.. They're bad habits that you have to consciously overcome day by day. You use techniques that work for you, like the ones mentioned above, and stick to them. Overcome is definitely the right word to choose in the OP imo.
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  9. #9
    Listening Array Oaky's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    5w6 sp/so
    SLI None


    There is a way one may overcome procrastination with a visual technique. It would be to imagine a certain flow of waves entering one's head. The wave imagined must be imagined to have an effect upon one's mind to disregard emotion and the thought of the suffering done by the action one is supposed to do.
    The flow of the particular wave will.
    - Make one lose all hope of any form of pleasure.
    - Force one not to think of anything but the particular action to be executed.
    - Make one disregard time as any factor for when we think about the length of the action to be executed it lowers one's will to do it.
    - Make one disregard the tiresome pain of the action upon the body.
    - Make one start executing the action without question.
    Of course a simple "Do" function may start one's execution of the action.

  10. #10


    It helps to schedule things that you actually want to do.
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