Written by Andrew Major
What is procrastination?
Have you ever found yourself asking, "why do I procrastinate so much?" or "why do I keep putting things off even though I have so much to do?" Procrastinating is one of those things that we can all suffer from - even the most organised and driven of people procrastinate at one point of another.
You may have fast approaching deadlines or even have the opportunity to get important projects finished ahead of time, yet when you're procrastinating, you put off these meaningful tasks or even avoid them because they feel difficult - deliberately looking for distractions such as scrolling though social media or answering unimportant emails.
The problem is that procrastinating gets in the way of you following through on what you promised yourself you were going to achieve. It can leave you feeling in a downward spiral of negative emotions that only serves to cloud your judgement and prevents you taking action just when it's needed. So, what can be done about it? Let us start by looking at some of the causes and discover what you can do to overcome procrastination.
What is the main cause of procrastination?
You may think that procrastination is simply a lack of motivation or self-discipline, or even laziness. However, in reality, there are a number of factors that can have a bearing on your emotions and mindset, which means you are far more likely to procrastinate and put things off.
Essentially, you can think of procrastination as a battle between the two parts of your brain. The primitive limbic system and your intellectual prefrontal cortex. The primitive limbic system is concerned with your survival. Think of it as your 'fight, flight, or freeze' area of the brain. Your prefrontal cortex is solution focused, enjoys a challenge, and is involved with decision making. The more time you spend in that part of the brain, the more confident and determined you are to achieve your goals.
So, when you overthink, for example having fears of giving a talk, worries about meeting project deadlines, negatively forecasting the future, or worry about what others may think, it all leads to some level of anxiety, which builds up gradually. As it does, your primitive brain steps in to help you survive and has a much greater influence of your rational thinking and determination. It encourages you to put things off, to think the worst, and do something that feels good instead - you procrastinate.
Not only that, but it also encourages you to focus on all the negative aspects of you goals, such as how much work is involved, how will I start, I don't have the right information, or am I good enough to get this done. This increases your stress levels further, which leads to further disruptions and stresses, making procrastination worse.
So how can you put your intellectual prefrontal cortex back in the driving seat?
Can hypnotherapy help you stop procrastinating?
Absolutely, because hypnotherapy helps you reduce the stress and anxiety that can build up gradually and gets in the way of you taking action. As your stress levels fall, the more time you spend in your rational prefrontal cortex part of the brain, and so the more confident and determined you are to work towards and achieve your goals.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic approach because rather than trying to analyse the cause of the problem, it will focus on what you want to achieve - so you can identify your plan and goals. It will then support you in taking small steps towards your overall aim by combining positive talking therapy with hypnosis at each session, so you feel more motivated.
Does hypnosis work for motivation?
Hypnosis can work for procrastination because your mind is more responsive to positive suggestions that are designed to be beneficial and help you change the unhelpful thought patterns that can cause procrastination. That way, you feel motivated and more determined to succeed. It creates healthy new habits and thought patterns that encourage a shift in perspective, so you feel more confidence, more productive, and more motivated each day.
How can I stop procrastinating?
If you've been putting things off, here are my top tips that will help you get started today and feel more positive about taking action:
1 Be clear about your objectives.
It may help to write down your goals. Remember, objectives that make you happy will be meaningful, ones that reflect your true aspirations and you'll feel more motivated to achieve them as you move forward.
2 Plan every day in advance
Write down the actions you need to complete! Breaking objectives into small manageable actions will help you clarify the steps required.
3 Remember the 80/20 rule and apply it to your day
80% of your results will come from 20% if your efforts, so always focus your daily efforts on the most important deliverables first.
4 Be prepared before you begin
Make sure you have everything needed to complete your work, such as tools, materials, and equipment. It also helps to prepare your work space, making sure it is clutter free and clean. It can make a big difference to how you feel before you begin working.
5 Motivate yourself into action
Look at the positive aspects and seize the day as a challenge. Focusing on solutions rather than the problem leads to optimism that will help you find the creativity you need to succeed.
6 Celebrate your achievements
Take time at the end of each day to reflect on what you have achieved rather than what you haven't. Be kind to yourself, and recognise what has gone well or what you're grateful for. It will help you feel calmer and think clearly about the next steps.
7 Get professional support
This will help you to manage and reduce your stress levels so you can stay on track and in control. For example, hypnotherapy helps you reduce the stresses that get in the way of you taking action and helps you take small steps towards your goals, so you feel better and more motivated.
Help to stop procrastinating
Solution-focused hypnotherapy can help with many emotional and physical conditions, which are made worse by or caused by some level of stress or anxiety (including insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, fear, panic and much more), without the need to analyse past problems.
Andrew Major Hypnotherapy
Integral LIFE Centre, 44 High Street, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5AZ
p: 07464 682 389