It’s often the case that you take the path of least resistance; whatever’s easiest in the moment, you do. Stay on the couch instead of going for a run? You stay on the couch. Watch YouTube instead of reading a book? Watch YouTube.
The path of least resistance is one of procrastination and goal-avoidance.
And considering you’re reading this, you know how it feels. I certainly do. It’s common among all peoples, regardless of procrastinatory-vice. But like any problem you have, there are solutions. There are ways to make the work the path of least resistance.
The easiest way to stop procrastinating is to be proactive. It’s to have your tactics in place before the opportunity arises for you to put them off. Kind of like when you have a headache from dehydration. It’s too late to get rid of it with water once you already have it.
However, if you stay regularly hydrated, you’ll have no issues.
Procrastination operates in the same manner. You can prevent it from ever occurring. Here’s what to do.
Have a plan for your time
Know what you are going to do and when. Have a specific plan for your time. Leave no ambiguous stone unturned. Decide what time you will:
- Wake up
- Get dressed (and what you’ll wear)
- Have breakfast (and what you’ll have)
- Start work (and what you’ll do during that time)
Create that plan for yourself the night before when you’re relaxing on the couch.
Then when you wake up, follow the plan that you created for yourself. Do your best not to veer too far off path. New meetings or fires may pop up and that’s to be expected. However, once dealt with, update your plan and get back to what you had intended to do.
Dress in a manner that prepares you for whatever task you generally procrastinate doing. Remove the friction that slows you down so that it becomes a chore to not do the prescribed action you want to take.
For example, if you find yourself procrastinating to exercise, it’s simple. When you get dressed, put on workout clothes. When you go outside, put on workout shoes. Carry your headphones around in your pocket.
When your plan dictates that it’s time for you to go on a run, you’re ready. You just need to lock the door on your way out.
Listen to the right kind of music
When I write, I listen to a very specific playlist. When I workout, I have a different playlist.
Know what kind of music inspires you to do the work you need to do. Then, listen to it. Play it for a few minutes leading up to your activity and let it seep into your mind. Let it motivate, energize, inspire you to take action.
Turn it up so you can’t ignore it.
And then when it’s time, do the work.
Try it right now
If you do those three things, you will make significant progress on your goals. You’ll find procrastination doesn’t pose as serious a threat, plus each action you take will build your momentum and confidence.
If you continue that for a few days, you’ll develop new habits that will diminish procrastination’s hold on you altogether.
Try it out and let me know how it goes.