Procrastination is an awful habit to have. It makes you lazy and feel terrible about yourself, while simultaneously holding you back from achieving your long-term goals.
You will agree with me that it´s best to get rid of procrastination as fast as possible. But more often than not, procrastination is ingrained in your brain for years, maybe even decades. Overcoming procrastination is hard as fuck.
Think about all the goals you want to achieve: exercise more, make more money, read more books, start meditating. Yes, you really want to do all that and become a modern superhero. But the motivation to get up and actually DO something is hard to find.
The first step is always the hardest; after that you will gain momentum and enter the flow where everything becomes easier.
So, the trick to beating procrastination is to make the first step that requires the most willpower. While I was researching ways to overcome procrastination I found two tricks that helped me a lot.
The first trick is to always do what you don´t want to do. Whenever you realize you just do not WANT to do something, do it immediately. Do not write it on your To-Do-List for tomorrow or next week. Do not tell yourself you are going to start later.
Well, I admit that this first trick is useless without the second trick which is very simple but turned out to be incredibly effective.
It is called the “3-2-1 Trick”. Chances are, you have already heard about this trick. But I promise you that it will make you more productive if you just implement it into your life.
You can read about procrastination all day but as long as you are not applying what you have learned it doesn´t mean anything. You are just procrastinating further – disguised as research. Too much research without applying is a form of procrastination.
Here are the instructions to beat procrastination once and for all:
Find a task that you can start doing right now. The trick is useless if you can only start your task two hours or two days from now.
Count “Three… Two… One” and exhale between every number so you become aware of the task ahead.
After you counted down to one you IMMEDIATELY start the task. It doesn´t matter if you work on it for 30 seconds or 3 hours at a time. The most important thing is to start.
Use this trick at least three times a day for at least a month to beat procrastination in the long run. I promise you it works just fine!
You don´t even have to count out loud if you are out in public or do not want to. Counting in your mind is fine as well.
Becoming aware of the task ahead makes you tap into your infinite reservoir of willpower. If you just go through your day without being aware of anything your brain will decide on its own how much willpower you get for the day.
But if you actively decide to use your willpower you will discover that you can achieve just about anything you want.
Setting yourself this deadline of about three seconds to start the task gives your brain no time to think about why you shouldn´t be doing that right now. You are in full control of your mind if you want to.
Building new habits becomes a hell of a lot easier with this trick. Even if you logically know that exercising is good for you, finding the motivation to do so is still hard. The hurdle of motivation is overcome by the “3-2-1 Trick”. You count down which requires only very little willpower, then you start doing the task. The amount of willpower needed for this task will go down drastically.
But you have to use this trick DAILY and as often as you can to make it work efficiently (yes, I already said that but it is so important that I thought it was better to repeat that).
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you do not want to do a task you count down to one and just start. Starting is the hard part, continuing is much easier.
This trick is the only thing you need to know to overcome procrastination. You do not need to look any further. Just go to work.
Start working right now, fellow superhero!