Procrastination is often seen as an aspect of poor time management, but research shows that as associate professor of psychology at Carleton University Tim Pychyl states: “Procrastination is not a time-management problem, it’s an emotion-management problem.”
Even though bringing up emotions when you’re trying to tackle productivity might sound counter-productive, more studies expose the connection between mood, emotional regulation, and procrastination.
Feelings like boredom, frustration, resentment, self-doubt, and anxiety all take a toll on productivity levels and set the stage for procrastination. With this emerging understanding of the main culprit involved in procrastination brings forth new tools for combating it: happiness and positivity.
The mental habit that can change it all
Instead of waking up in the morning and immediately thinking: “I don’t want to work today,” put a positive spin on your thoughts by telling yourself: “There are so many possibilities out there. By working on this task, I get closer to making them happen for me.”
By practicing the mental habit of reframing negative feelings into positive ones, it’ll become easier to break work-resisting habits. It may even transform once dreaded jobs into enjoyable tasks. To help you implement this in your work and life, here are three steps:
List your successes
Think about how good it feels when you achieve something. To shift your self-talk from negative to positive, keep your successes at the forefront of your mind by listing them every morning (whether they’re recent accomplishments or not).
This will help you start your day with the right kind of emotions, which will make handling tasks much easier.
Make gratitude a habit
Here at The Optimist Daily, we never tire of touting the many benefits of gratitude. Cultivating gratitude does wonders for boosting happiness and transforming negative feelings.
Take just a few minutes every day to add to your gratitude journal if you have one. If not, simply reflecting on three specific things that you’re grateful for in your life during your workday will make your work feel much more fulfilling, which is key in keeping procrastination at bay.
Change the way you speak to yourself
To truly change the way you perceive your tasks, you will have to change the way you speak to and perceive yourself.
Think about how you talk to colleagues. Would you expect those around you to complete tasks well if you constantly told them how little faith you have in their abilities to accomplish their work?
If your answer is probably not, then keep that in mind while you talk yourself through your day. Instead of coming down hard on yourself for procrastinating, tell yourself that you simply made a mistake and that you really are good at what you do. Tell yourself that getting this next task done will help you reach your goals.