Have you ever wondered about some habits that seem to plague people repeatedly? Just look away, stop paying attention and lo and behold, you slip back into the same old habits that don’t serve you. ‘Procrastination’ is one such habit that almost everyone has suffered from, at some point in time. Procrastination is a state of inaction, a state of inertia, a state of staying in your comfort zone. Spending time on things that give momentary pleasure, rather than investing time on tasks that lead to real progress.
Sadly, most people don’t think much about procrastination, because at most times, you don’t even know you are procrastinating. The mind, plays games and creates an illusion of being ‘busy’, giving you a temporary feeling of accomplishment, by completing small and inconsequential tasks. Today’s fast paced lifestyle with it’s unending demands and distractions like social media, is a perfect setting to get lost in meaningless action.
So, why do people really Procrastinate? Rather than looking at obvious reasons such as lack of planning or laziness, we need to look at the deeper behavioural aspects that may be silently killing our chances of long term success.
The answer lies in the battle between two parts of our brain, the limbic system, popularly known as the monkey mind, which is the pleasure centre of our brain and the pre-frontal cortex which is the logical part of our brain, responsible for making decisions and following through. Every time your Prefrontal cortex tries to take action that is good for you, your Limbic system distracts it by drawing your attention to things that are far more pleasurable in the present moment.
Another interesting quality of the Limbic system is that it also works to protect us from any harm. It stops us from taking any action that may result in pain, failure, rejection or embarrassment. This makes us choose the path of least resistance and maximum pleasure.
Watching TV, scrolling Fb newsfeed, eating, reading the newspaper for hours, checking mails repeatedly, sleeping longer than necessary etc are habits that feel great in the moment, but do not add any true value to our life.
The key then, lies in becoming aware of this unruly, pleasure-seeking and safe-playing brat in our mind and asking it to shut up. To let our wise and logical self, take the decisions. You don’t want a monkey to rule your life, do you?
So, next time you get tempted to call for another unnecessary meeting, try to snooze your alarm clock or laze around on a Sunday, ask yourself, is this adding any real value to my work and life, or am I just procrastinating?
By focusing on the positive results and on how much you will gain by sticking to your plans and taking massive action, you will be able to counter the internal inertia and gain real momentum.
Remember, procrastination is just a state of mind, and the best way you can beat it is by becoming aware and enhancing your personal power to take action, despite all odds
Author- Seema Shenoy Manek is the Co-Founder and Principal Facilitator at Indian School Of Success, a Transformational Training and Life Coaching Organisation. She is an ICL Accredited Life and Success Coach and a Certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer from NFNLP USA. Over the last 15 years, she has trained thousands of individuals from various age groups and backgrounds to pursue their dreams towards an exceptional life.