Procrastination: get out of it and stop procrastinating

Sort his papers, call his bank, fill out a form … Deep down inside, we know it would be wise to get started right away to avoid trouble … So why don’t we take action? In the majority of cases, put off until the next day, in other words procrastiner, above all allows us to avoid doing what bothers us!

But it is not without damage! “Procrastination is a concern because it is associated with a strong feeling of guilt », Insists the coach Michaël Ferrari, Because the immediate relief follows the painful impression of being at fault. Jean-Pierre Soulier, coach and trainer, underlines “that it often takes a lot more time and money to make up for steps that have not been taken than it would have taken to act on time.” Fortunately, there are ways to motivate yourself to get started, and our experts tell us eight.

1. Analyze their behaviors

” The procrastination is not a personality trait, it is a behavior that has its source very far, in our childhood, our family history, recalls Jean-Pierre Soulier. To stop it, you still have to identify it. Now, procrastination is versatile, changeable. We can procrastinate in our professional or personal life, we may not be able to decide on very small things or major events. And our ability to deceive ourselves, to be in denial as well as to apologize is infinite.

This is why Michaël Ferrari suggests to take notes : when and under what circumstances do we procrastinate? For what reasons ? And what are our explanations? This analysis time will be useful for us to then give meaning to our actions and find the motivation we lacked.

2. Experiment with new ways of doing things

Willpower is not enough to change. Better still, Jean-Pierre Soulier warns us:

“You don’t change behavior. On the other hand, we can substitute it by widening the field of possibilities, by experimenting. We are gradually adopting new ways of doing things that will allow us to create new circuits. It is like the smoker who stops smoking. The original circuit is still there, but it has experienced a new, more satisfying behavior. He ends up preferring it to the first. “

3. Take it step by step

It is therefore essential not to harbor illusions about its revolution and to accept to take small steps. Michaël Ferrari advises taking the time to cut the action that we postpone, step by step, by asking ourselves at each articulation what we must do to achieve it.

“When we procrastinate,” he notes, “we often postpone action because we feel like we don’t or no longer know how to do it. We simply do not see how to do it. Detailing more precisely how we should proceed allows us to move away from the global vision that worries us and to return to the concrete, more easily accessible by our paralyzed brain. Then, the path is easy to draw. “

4. Do not set the bar too high

“Give yourself modest and close goals to gain confidence, said Michaël Ferrari. The potential long-term benefits of an action are less stimulating than those one might expect in the short term. And allow yourself to fail! »The first attempts do not work? Rather than saying to yourself “It’s ruined for me!” Observe yourself, dissect what went wrong, look at what the experience has given you. And move on to another exercise rather than giving up.

5. Identify what we have to lose because of inaction

Choosing is so difficult that many times we feel crippled at the thought of moving. “Our age is one of choice. For everything. From the quantities of yogurts in the supermarket to the different careers that you can have in one lifetime. It is particularly conducive to decisional procrastination, remarks Diane Ballonad-Rolland, coach, trainer in time management. We quickly reach saturation, there is too much of everything, to the point of being overwhelmed. It is therefore advisable to come back to very simple things such as listing the advantages and disadvantages of procrastinating in such and such a situation. When we put awareness on our actions as our inactions, when we put down on paper the costs and the benefits of not acting, we free our mind, we lighten it. This makes it easier to see what comes out of it. “

So we should take the time to visualize the consequences of our inaction. Example: “I will not fill out my tax form? All right, so I will receive an increased notice. I’m going to have to spend time, two to three unpleasant and humiliating hours, trying to fix my inaction, negotiating a reduction in this additional cost. Whereas this time, I could rather devote it to… to what for example? ” “What hurts, insists Michaël Ferrari, always makes us react more quickly. When we clearly identify what we have to lose by not moving, it makes us react faster. “

6. Develop your attention

As Jean-Pierre Soulier points out, procrastination often generates a feeling of stress which accentuates our impression of dispersion. To refocus in the present moment and be able to take action, the coach invites you to practice a breathing exercise regularly during the day for three minutes.

Standing or sitting, eyes closed, we focus our attention on our breathing while placing a hand on the stomach. The idea? Make sure you inflate it when you inhale. We take four deep breaths and then we breathe normally for two or three times. Thoughts appear? We let them come without judgment and then we refocus on our breathing. As soon as you feel firmly anchored in the moment you are living, you can reopen your eyes and resume the course of your day.

7. Appreciate one’s notion of time

Procrastiner has always existed. However, today even more than before, the means at our disposal to procrastinate have multiplied. “Mails, tweets, Facebook … It is now very easy to escape into the virtual world, explains Michaël Ferrari, even if this is only a symptom of our illness. We should therefore be wary of our own perception of time.

“Even for tasks that we are familiar with, we tend to underestimate the time we need,” notes Michaël Ferrari. Multiply the time you think you need by two or three to accomplish something that weighs on you or that you are used to putting off. “

8. Don’t overthink

“To relieve the pressure, advises Michaël Ferrari, we can decide to start an action that we push back, but for only five minutes. For example, we give ourselves five minutes to start a thank-you letter which we have been postponing for several days. Without thinking, we just get started by taking paper and pen and asking the first words. An alarm will sound at the elapsed time. Experience proves that what hinders us is reflection. We spend more time thinking about avoiding what we fear than doing it. However, when we start an action, the thinking process is interrupted. “The time to realize that deep down, we know how to do it.

In video: What is procrastination?

  • Stop procrastination, it’s smart, Michael Ferrari. 6 €, éd. Leduc.s.
  • I stop procrastinating, Diane Ballonad-Rolland. € 11.90, ed. Eyrolles.
  • Procrastination, Jean-Pierre Soulier. € 6.95, ed. Larousse.

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Procrastination: get out of it and stop procrastinating

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Catherine Coaches