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Eating a Frog during your Power Hour: Tips on fighting procrastination

While the title might sound like the newest diet craze, I assure you it is not. It is, in fact, a technique to fight procrastination. As mentioned in a previous post, procrastination is simply avoidance. We avoid things that are unpleasant. We put off tasks on our to-do lists until later…or until never. As humans, we are motivated by two basic goals: 1) Seeking pleasure, and 2) Avoiding pain. While seeking pleasure can be very motivating (rewarding myself with a cookie after doing a difficult task can help me increase my motivation), we are actually more influenced by avoiding pain. Given that many of our work tasks are unpleasant, dare I say painful, we are given many opportunities throughout our day to decide to avoid something that is unpleasant or to confront it. A pattern of avoiding such things is called procrastination.

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The 2-Minute Rule: Fighting Procrastination

One of the more common issues that professionals struggle with is the all-too-common procrastination. Procrastination, just like salsa, can be mild (putting off a simple task that you eventually complete within a few days), intense (developing a pattern of avoiding certain activities or tasks that one day lead to serious consequences), and everything in between. However, unlike salsa, there is no mango version of procrastination.

Simply put, procrastination is avoidance. We avoid things that make us uncomfortable. We avoid things that we fear. And the more you avoid something, the harder it is to confront. It’s like that email you got from an old friend that you were meaning to reply to. At first you put it off because you weren’t sure what to say (avoidance), then maybe you forgot about it, then you remembered that you hadn’t responded, you then felt bad, and then continued to avoid responding because it was now more uncomfortable because you still don’t know what to say AND you feel bad about it. 

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