Four Things Procrastinators Need to Learn

If you’re a procrastinator you know that you run into a mental wall that stops you from doing that thing that you know you should do. It happens a lot, maybe all the time. And it may be because you have not learned some important truths that could aid you in dissolving that seemingly insoluble wall you’ve erected between you and that thing you keep dancing towards and then away from. To stop with the procrastinating can be hard because as long as the task is in your head you don’t have to feel exposed as a fraud, because you don’t know if you can really do it. That fear of failure is like a rock tied to your feet. But, it’s important to know that doing the act is what will gradually fill you with a certainty that you can finish it. It won’t happen while you think about it and imagine it and do nothing concrete about it. Sometimes starting a task seems justifiably problematic because common sense dictates that like some mythological beast the task you start will invariably sprout sub-tasks. This is true, as we have all experienced it. But, in the same way that separating out a single cord from the mammoth tangle of Christmas lights that invariably comes to light each holiday, the tasks will dissipate one by one until each is done, as long as you choose to begin. Starting a project feels risky and you probably think the end is not ever going to appear. But, it will. And going forward step by step is ultimately less awful than mentally lingering over an abyss.

Reflect on these key points:

  • 1Procrastinators often do not realize that confidence is something one acquires after getting underway on a new project, not before.
  • 2Oftentimes problems seem to be entwined with a slew of contributory sub-problems, but as one problem is grappled with and solved the problem as a whole will dissipate.
  • 3Projects look very differently in your head than they are in reality and frightening yourself before you start is counterproductive.

“To the procrastinator, starting a task always feels dangerous, because it’s the first moment you can be exposed as a hack or a fool.”

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