You know that feeling when you have a big deadline, and you’re like, “I’ll just watch one more episode of ‘Parks & Rec’? And then you’re like, “Just this one more episode…”? And then it’s 2 am, and you’ve watched the entire series and still haven’t started working on your project?
It’s extremely common but highly avoidable, and I’m going to tell you how to permanently break free from it.
In order to fully understand the downwards procrastination spiral, let’s first talk about what procrastination actually is and isn’t, as well as how it affects your life—which might surprise even those who don’t struggle with this habit themselves.
Procrastination can be defined as “The act of putting off tasks that should be done now for a later time.”
As simple as this sounds, it’s important to note that there are two parts here: Putting off tasks and doing them later.
The second part is not inherently bad: Putting off work in order to enjoy yourself can actually be a healthy way to reward yourself for your hard work. But if you don’t ever put the work in, it becomes unhealthy.
“I’ll just check Facebook for a second.”
“Oh, look, someone shared another video of a baby goat. That’s sure to perk me up!”
“Okay, now I’m ready to get back to work.”
“Maybe I should clean my desk first. I’ll be more focused if it’s clean.”
“Or maybe I need a snack. I’ll make myself a smoothie.”
“I wonder when we’re going to get new blenders in the office kitchen…”
You’re supposed to be working on something, but you keep getting distracted by little things that you think will help you focus and do your best work.
In reality, these distractions are just ways of putting off doing the thing you need to do. And when you do finally get back to it, you’ve lost your momentum and have even more trouble concentrating than before.
By itself, one quick peek at Facebook isn’t too bad—you can easily get back in the groove once you close the tab. But what happens when you find yourself frequently getting stuck in this infinite loop of procrastination-fueled distraction?
It’s like you’re watching yourself as you fall deeper down the rabbit hole of distraction. And every time you try to pull yourself out of it, your brain is like: “no no no no NO NO NO.”
You’ve been sucked into a downwards procrastination spiral, and it can be really difficult to break free of it once you’re in it.
Luckily for us, however, we live in the 21st century and there are ways to manipulate our environment so that we don’t find ourselves caught in this kind of situation again.
So… what can you do today to avoid this vicious cycle?
Psychologists have found that procrastination stems from many different sources, and they’ve developed some strategies to help people overcome it.
Whether you’re someone who always waits until the last possible minute to complete your tasks or you regularly take on more than your plate can hold, the following strategy will help you get back on track and help you succeed.
The first step in overcoming procrastination is understanding why you do it in the first place.
Walk through the reasons behind procrastination so that you can learn how to combat them and be more productive in your day-to-day life.
Most often, the thing you’re avoiding isn’t the actual thing you’re avoiding—it’s something deeper.
Maybe the thing you’re avoiding is finishing your thesis because it means you have to finish university and get a real job.
Or maybe it’s because it means graduating and leaving behind your friends and everything familiar to start a new life.
Those are uncomfortable thoughts, and most of us would rather not think about them until we absolutely have to.
So we distract ourselves with something that feels more comfortable in the short term (like watching yet another episode of Black Mirror), even though it means we’ll only have more work in the long term.
That way we can trick ourselves into thinking we’re being productive when really we’re just stalling.
The longer you procrastinate, the worse you feel about it. The worse you feel about it, the more difficult it is to stop procrastinating and start working on the task at hand.
On the other hand, the more you work on it, the better you feel. The better you feel, the less likely you are to continue procrastinating—and so on and so forth.
The trick to breaking this cycle is simple: take one small step forward (even if that step feels like it’s just a millimeter). You don’t have to do everything all at once; in fact, you shouldn’t. The only way out of a downwards spiral is gradually climbing up.
Creating daily goals is a super easy and effective way of doing it. Create a goal for every hour of your workday.
When you’re stuck in a downwards procrastination spiral, it’s near impossible to create a list of things you need to get done for an entire week, but if you set aside 15 minutes every morning and create daily goals, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Then start by the simplest productivity – as soon as you wake up in the morning, make your bed! It’s such a small task, but it will help give you that feeling of starting your day with success that will energize you for the rest of your workday.
We know you want it. You know you want it. And, we’re pretty sure, deep down inside, that you’re ready to get rid of that procrastination habit for good. But, if we’re being honest: you’ve already tried, not quite successfully.
But don’t worry! We have a solution that will actually work—a solution that’s tailored specifically to the way you procrastinate.
it’s called Virtue Map – and it’s the result of years of psychological research and testing on procrastination, depression, and anxiety.
Here’s how Virtue Map will help you permanently break free from the downwards procrastination spiral:
It starts with a simple quiz that you can take, answer probing questions honestly.
The reason why it works is that according to your answers, Virtue Map determines your procrastination type and level, creating and sending you a personalized plan on how to beat procrastination for good.
Personalization is key to this approach. You see, not all procrastinators are alike. There are passive procrastinators and active procrastinators; there are those who put things off because they’re afraid of being judged, and those who put things off because they’re worried about being ridiculed; there are those who are more susceptible to outside influences, and those who have trouble influencing themselves.
Our assessment will give you insight into what’s really going on, so you could understand your unique procrastination patterrn and overcome it for good.
Test your procrastination tendencies and get the kind of support you need.
Start by a simple quiz now!