The following is a technique that you can use to dissolve procrastination and make it easier to get your important work done.
You'll notice that I use the key word 'dissolve' as opposed to 'overcome' because I'll be pointing out a huge shift in perspective that we need in order to find ourselves in a place of awesome, flowing productive momentum.
Now I don't want to overhype this or anything, but speaking personally, this technique is what opened everything up for me. I still have days that are less productive than others, but generally there's way, way more inner cooperation within myself such that there's no more self-sabotage, self-abuse, frustration, friction, and disappointment with self.
Instead, things are more congruent internally. I no longer have to "get myself to do" something, instead I can just do it.
The major "catch" with this is that I don't think I can reduce this to a quick, skimmable paragraph. I believe you'll absolutely benefit from what I'm going to share here, but the trade-off is that you'll need to commit to actually reading it somewhat carefully.
With that said, I respect your time and I know your attention is a precious resource, so I'll do my best to make it direct and pithy. (I'll also put a TL;DR summary at the bottom).
Okay! Let's get it.
How to Dissolve Procrastination
The primary mistake that almost all of us make, as a culture, is that when we decide that we ought to do something that's good for us we treat ourselves like an obstacle to override, overcome, surmount, subvert.
You'll find this basic error when we ask questions like "Why do I keep letting myself down?" or "How can I force myself to stay focused?". You can see in these questions that we split ourselves down the middle where "I'm" asking questions about how to get "myself" to do the work.
It's like one part of us is the mind - that is intelligent and knows what we should do, and the other part of us is the animal - that is childish, wants instant gratification, and doesn't want to do anything difficult.
We divide ourselves into these two halves, and we make the 'mind' the good one and the 'animal' to be the bad one. Not only that, but we actually believe that we ARE the 'mind' part and the 'animal' part is this annoying aspect of the vehicle that we operate in the world as. Like a car with a flat tire or something.
And a chorus that we repeat to ourselves is "Everything would be perfect if it weren't for the pesky instant-gratification animal aspect of me."
THIS is the inner conflict that we create.
We think that this conflict is something that we may eventually win one day - that will be the day that all our dreams come true and we'll become the Ubermensch Super Human that we see in our imagination.
In reality though - and please really hear this - this conflict has not once ever been won.
It's like your left hand engaging in conflict against your right hand. Even if one hand "won" it would still lose because either way the body ends up injured.
We dissolve inner conflict by replacing force with respect
To put it simply, we go from "I hate that I procrastinate!" to "Why did I procrastinate?"
An absolutely essential switch that we make is replacing force with respect. Whenever I describe this method to people, this is always the most difficult pill to swallow.
Instead of treating the self like some malfunctioning piece of equipment, we begin with a new assumption that there's some sort of benefit behind procrastinating. There's some sort of survival benefit in it.
For example let's say that you dream of becoming a professional singer, but to do this you need to go to auditions. But you procrastinate on going to the auditions. When we ask from a place of respect - why do I procrastinate? The answer might be: Because I might be told that I'm bad at singing, and that will feel so terrible it will almost register as a death to my ego.
The fear of that rejection is so real, that it will override your entire system to prevent you from doing it. Energetically you'll feel "too tired". Emotionally you'll feel sort of like "ugh, don't wanna". Mentally you'll say "tomorrow is a better day" and fool yourself in similar ways.
Get rid of the "Master & Slave" Dynamic
If the old relationship between your two aspects is like a master-&-slave dynamic, then the new one is to be an intelligent leader for yourself.
Think about the best leader you've ever worked with. It might've been a teacher, parent, or employer. Who's a leader that you admire? How did they lead? How did they treat you? How did they balance caring and encouragement?
If you're the journalling type, write out some answers to the following questions:
ONE: What needs of mine am I ignoring? What needs of mine are going unmet? TWO: How can I do a better job of supporting myself?
Now look at the work that you've been procrastinating:
THREE: What does this task mean to me FOUR: How do I benefit from avoiding this task? FIVE: How does doing this task feel unsafe? With these last three questions answered, move on to the next phase: SIX: Is any of this true? Or does it just seem true?
To the extent that the answer is 'no' then affirm the following aloud:
Thank you, survival-self, for keeping me safe. I appreciate your work. I hereby choose and accept all the risk associated with this task, real or perceived. I promise to keep our communication lines open from now on and will listen if you have anything to say. I apologize for pushing you so hard and so far.
Now do the work!
See what happens! If this exercise hit its mark, there will be nothing that you have to overcome in order to do it. There will be an internal willingness to do it. Now that you've committed to communicating with this other aspect of yourself, it won't have to resort to sabotage in order to get your attention.
Try it out and let us know how it goes!
Here's the summary below:
- If your strategy on getting yourself to do your work is based on force, manipulation, fooling yourself, or guilt-tripping yourself - it cannot last permanently.
- This isn't because "you're not trying hard enough" it's just that it's impossible to sustain conflict against yourself because you're burning up all of your energy in friction until you're completely wiped. All progress tends to be erased at this point too.
- Therefore let the new strategy be to achieve respect, harmony, and cooperation within all aspects of yourself.
- Ask yourself the questions listed above, especially 1 & 2 if you wish to dissolve all of this inner conflict
- If you have to get yourself to do something, there's a reason why you don't want to do it. Figure out what that reason is, and see if anything can be done to mitigate it. That way procrastination no longer will need to arise within you.
Looking to learn more about how to dissolve procrastination?
THIS VIDEO will take this concept much further for you.
You can also receive a Productivity Coaching session for just $5 by clicking here and I'll show you how to make all this work.