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#021: How to overcome procrastination with three simple questions

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” - Tom Stoppard

David Luescher
2 min read

An idea for you to consider

We’ve all been there - be it at school, university, work or in our personal lives.

We exactly know what we want / have to do, yet we find cleaning the apartment (or any other activity) 10 times more appealing than focusing on that priority.

It’s called procrastination.

Fuschia Sirois, a professor of psychology at the University of Durham, defines procrastination as “the voluntary, unnecessary delay of an important task, despite knowing you’ll be worse off for doing so”.

So, why do we procrastinate in the first place if we already know we’ll be worse off for doing so?

I guess the answer differs from person to person a bit.

However, my hypothesis is that the root of all procrastination is some sort of avoidant behaviour.

I started to ask myself the following three questions whenever I find myself procrastinating:

  1. How do I find this task? (e.g. difficult, stressful, boring)
  2. What am I avoiding by procrastinating? (e.g. feeling overwhelmed or bored)
  3. How can I make it easy? (e.g. focusing on getting the first sub-task done in 25 minutes)

I’ve learnt that I tend to procrastinate when I either find the task very boring or when I’m facing a task that seems intimidating to me.

One task that seemed a bit intimidating to me is starting my own startup.

It took me a while to realise that I was procrastinating on this task by tackling several startup ideas at once instead of focusing on one.

My biggest fear was that I would focus on one idea, give 100% and fail because I didn't have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

So I tried not to get into a situation where I could fail in the first place.

Focusing on several ideas at the same time was the perfect excuse to make me think I was working on starting my own company, when in fact I was creating a set-up that didn't even allow me to validate an idea to the point where failure was even possible.

Procrastination is sometimes a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Don't let it stop you from living a fulfilled life.

A quote for you to ponder

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” - Tom Stoppard


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