Here’s How to Manipulate Your Brain Out of Procrastination

January 10, 2018 | 1,229 views

Here’s How to Manipulate Your Brain Out of Procrastination

Here’s How to Manipulate Your Brain Out of Procrastination

Happy New Year! If you’re like many people on this planet, you’re using the ringing in of 2018 to start fresh, revitalize what isn’t working, and push aside what’s been holding you back. But with all great ambitions comes a need for a strategic approach because, after all, old habits die hard.


If you’ve resolved to stop procrastinating, you need a solid plan to keep yourself on track. Right now you’re pre-wired to push off what you know you should do today to tomorrow when it’s crunch time (or too late), according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. To overcome this, you need to hardwire your brain a little differently. You need to manipulate yourself to start approaching work and difficult tasks with a new mindset. Here’s how.


Give In To Peer Pressure

It’s easy to break a commitment to ourselves. What isn’t easy? Losing on the social spectrum.


Part of being human is valuing what other people think. We don’t want to look lazy, so when we know others are watching, we tend to push harder. We don’t want to look dumb, so when we know others are watching, we tend to work harder.


Give yourself deadlines and make those deadlines well-known. You might even put them in your public calendar. No matter how you express the work you’re striving to complete, do it in a way that’ll give you a gentle nudge from your circle of friends, coworkers, and influencers.


Go Easy on Yourself

Have you ever heard of the five-minute rule? This rule states that if you can complete a task within five minutes, you should just get it done without procrastinating.


There’s a reason this rule is in place. If you push off one, five-minute task all of the small steps will start to add up, creating a pile of work that overwhelms you. To get you out of the habit of putting off work, start by resolving to tackle tasks that should be fast to complete.


Then, when you have a larger task to complete, such as a major report due to the executives in your company, break it down into smaller tasks. Your brain will then be hardwired to accept and embrace smaller jobs, making it easier to surge forward with gusto.


Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself doesn’t mean you should go out and treat yourself to an ice cream every minute you check something off your to do list. However, it does mean to give yourself some sense of joy out of the tasks you have in front of you – especially in the beginning.


Tie each small task to something you find pleasure in doing. For example, if you were training for a marathon but couldn’t run a mile yet, you might want to tie the first mile to a podcast you’ve been eager to catch up on. That way, you could listen to something enjoyable while pushing through some pain or discomfort.


Start Now

Ultimately, the best way to put off procrastination is to just get started. By breaking down tasks into bite-sized chunks tied to things we enjoy doing, you can eliminate many of the excuses to getting started. Publicly state everything you have to tackle and you’ll get an extra dose of motivation.


Have you resolved to end procrastination in 2018? Make your voice heard by shouting it from the digital rooftops in the comments below.


Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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