Art of conscious self-development

Personal development • Self-Coaching

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Do you procrastinate? Not this time. There's a 10 minutes reading ahead of you - and you won't put it off. See how nice it is to do something right here and right now.


“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could look at today’s to-do list, and just got down to action – without any hesitation? If you were ticking off one item after another, going like a bomb through the day, so that in the afternoon you could relax with a sense of pride?

Perhaps you think it’s impossible … then keep reading because there is a way.

There are many reasons for procrastinating instead of acting, even when you really want to act. What can block you from consequent realization of your goals? Perhaps you lack motivation, because you plan to do something you don’t really want to do; this may also be the case of habitual, limiting thought patterns; and perhaps your psychophysical state you isn’t allowing you.
For several years I was quite effective in procrastinating. One day I started to count the hours I wasted per month (that was my mental kick in the ass) and decided to put an end to this mean habit.

Through trial and error I researched the subject of procrastination for months. There were more errors were more, but that led me to the alchemy of dealing with procrastination. So I completely got rid of it, 100%. It turns out that there are some really good ways to deal with procrastination, and today I’ll show you one of them.

Let’s go into details. In one of his books Kevin Hogan described the study that teaches us something very interesting. In a moment I’ll show you a very interesting exercise to deal with procrastination, based on the results of this study. The study was conducted by Dr. Sean McCrea at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

A group of students participated in this experiment. They were divided into two groups. During first study, one half of the study group was asked to write about why someone would want to open a bank account or write a diary. The second half had to write a few sentences about how exactly would they open a bank account or wrote a diary.

During second study, half of the students were asked to name the members of a group, for example, specific types of birds. The second half was supposed to name general categories (types), to which those birds belong.

During third study, all students received some money and specific time to look closely at the 19th century painting. Half of the group received very detailed information on the method of painting. The other half had a general description of the painting style, but not the painters’ method. Then, the two groups were given a task to subjectively evaluate 13 different images, in the context of the earlier described style.

The results of all three studies were very clear. It turned out that almost all the students who were given the task explained in a concrete and precise way (they knew exactly what to do) have done their job. If the instructions were general and vague, only half of the group has completed it.

Let’s try. How do you think, when is it more likely for you to take action?

  • When someone tells you “Call and fix the accommodation at the seaside”, or rather “Call hotel X, ask about the date Y, say Z, and book two rooms with private bathrooms.”
  • When someone asks you to write an article about X, or rather give you the deadline for tomorrow, length: 2 pages, which takes into account the issues A, B and C?
  • When someone proposes “Sign up for the course!”, or rather “Sign up for a Spanish course at school X, to teacher Y, on the Z level”?

    Exactly. The presentation largely determines whether you start to do your task or not. If something is defined too broadly, there is a small chance that you start to do it right now. The more detailed the task is submitted, the easier it will be for you to perform.

    Why is this happening? Our thinking strategies are responsible for everything. Any information on how exactly to do what we have to do is a separate, visual representation in your head.

    This means that thinking about the task “Sign up for the course” you can imagine, let’s say, the school building. You think it’s something big, because you don’t know what’s the first step, then the second step, etc. So you put it off.

    When you know that this task consists of a greater number of smaller tasks and understand how to accurately perform them (I know which course, school, teacher and level to choose, I know what paper I should submit and when do the classes start) then to take the first “bite” is very easy. You are aware that each step will be a single, small task, and you have all the vision in your head. You see a set of ideas that motivates you to act.
    How to put it into practice?

    It is very easy. Whenever you write down a new task onto your to-do list, describe the exact stages:

    1. On the paper first – write down key words, create a detailed plan.
    2. In your imagination – imagine all the stages of this task one after another.

    Your challenge is not one big watermelon that needs to be eated at once. It’s rather a dozen of small and light pieces that you can easily crunch for dessert, one after another.

    Visualizing your task, pay attention to every single aspect of the implementation process. Think about each activity separately and see yourself performing them one after another.

    Don’t be surprised at how quickly you’ll feel a growing need to act. This time don’t resist – just do what you have to do.

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