Overcoming Procrastination

When you face a difficult task, it can sometimes feel like you’re trying to move a mountain.

The longer you stare up at the mountain, the more overwhelming your task seems. In

this situation, it's very easy to start procrastinating by finding other things to do.

Procrastination is one of the major obstacles that you need to overcome in order to

make your dreams a reality. The secret to overcoming procrastination is to stop looking

up at the mountain and start looking down at your wheel barrow. Let me explain…

When you look at a complex task in its entirety, it is very easy to become paralyzed by

the sheer amount of work that you need to do. Your mind starts telling you that ‘it’s

impossible’ and you spiral downward into a sea of negativity.

The way to overcome this paralysis is to change your focus and stop thinking about the

overall task you need to complete. Instead, just concentrate on something you know

you can achieve.

Let’s look at an example to see how this works in the real world.

Peter is facing the ‘mountain’ of writing a PhD thesis. When he thinks about writing a

500 page document, it just seems too overwhelming and so day-after-day he

procrastinates and avoids getting started.

Each morning, Peter asks himself, “Can I write a 500 page document?” and his internal

answer is “NO WAY!” so he procrastinates and looks around for other things to do –

He takes his kids to school, goes to the gym, does the shopping. Anything to avoid the

mountain that is sitting in his study.

Finally, Peter realizes that the best way to overcome procrastination is to stop looking

up at the mountain and start looking down at his wheelbarrow.

Instead of asking himself, “Can I write a 500 page document?” he begins his day by

asking, “Can I work on my PhD without being distracted for 1 hour?” – his internal

answer to this question is “Yes – I can easily do 1 hour”

Peter blocks out all distractions and works on his PhD for 1 hour. At the end of the hour

he feels like he has made a small amount of progress. He asks himself again, “Can I

work on my PhD without being distracted for 1 hour?” – Since he has already done this,

he knows the answer is ‘Yes’ so he does it again.

By the end of the day, Peter has completed four hours of effective work on his PhD. He

is tempted to look up at the mountain but he knows it is much better if he just focuses

on moving his wheelbarrow one hour at a time.

After a month of following this routine, Peter takes a look at his mountain and sees that

his 1 hour blocks of action have made a dramatic impact. This gives him even more

confidence and momentum to keep moving forward.

Step-by-step, one hour at a time, Peter moves his mountain.

If you are currently trying to move a mountain in your life, here are the steps you need

to take in order to overcome procrastination and get the job done!

Action Steps

(1) Stop thinking about the overall task you need to complete.

(2) Instead, focus on a small component of the task that you know you can achieve.

(3) Ask yourself, “Can I work on this task without being distracted for 1 hour?”

(4) Forget about everything else other than working hard for 1 hour.

(5) At the end of the hour, ask yourself the same question again.

(6) Move your mountain one hour at a time.

(7) Enjoy the amazing sense of achievement that comes from completing a difficult task.

 



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