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T.or initiate a response to being distracted, we must overcome our own inertia: to prevent ourselves from doing things that we might consider difficult or are unsure about. If you’re going to minimize the distraction in your life and find purpose, the truth is, it’s not easy. One thing you will have to overcome is your inherent mechanism of stalling, delaying, procrastinating. Everyone procrastinates according to Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the conundrum of procrastination (2010) and 20% of people chronically procrastinate. In his two decades of research on the subject of procrastination, he found that the more unattractive a task or project is to you, the more likely it is to stop you.

He found six main elements that make procrastination more likely. These are related to the size of the task at hand is one of the following: boring frustrating, difficult, unstructured or ambiguous, devoid of personal meaning and / or devoid of inherent rewards. The more elements a task contains, the more unpleasant it seems to us, and therefore we are likely to stop and avoid doing it.

Pychyl notes that: “Sometimes procrastination is just a symptom that your life just doesn’t match what you care about and … maybe you should be doing something else.” I’ve had this feeling many times in my career, and in truth, until I found my external passions – writing and teaching – in balance with what paid the bills – my corporate career, I always felt off balance, not completely complete. It was only when I was able to stabilize my energy through these three aspects of my life that I was able to overcome (most of the time) my procrastination.

That doesn’t mean this is what you should be doing. Rather, if you find yourself procrastinating at work or at home, consider what other interests you can bring into your life that will fulfill your purpose. This way, you won’t have time to procrastinate as you will see time as a precious commodity not to be wasted.

Simple strategies

In the meantime, if you find yourself procrastinating, find some ideas on how to overcome your tendency to stall and lag. Here are some suggestions. If the activity is:

Boring: Bring some taste and fun into it. If you need to browse a spreadsheet archive to understand the cost structure of a budget, read the first draft of a boring piece of legislation, or fill out a boring application form, visit a place you like, such as a local coffee shop. . Buy a coffee that stimulates you in a positive way and work on it.

Frustrating: I often turn on a countdown timer for 30 or 45 minutes and then move the activity. When the counter reaches zero, I’ll leave the business, leave for a while and do something I like, like listen to an audiobook, read a novel, or take a quick walk. Then I go back to the activity, set a new countdown timer and then go through it one more time.

Hard: Each of us has a time of day when we are at the peak. For some, it may be early in the morning; others, in the late morning; for others, in the late afternoon. You know when your body is naturally most energized. Take on the difficult task when you can apply more energy to it.

Unstructured or ambiguous: Anyone who has worked as a consultant he will tell you that every business that a client has been asked to tackle starts the same way. The customer knows there is a problem but cannot understand it. Or they can put their finger on it, but they just don’t know why the problem exists. If you have a business like this, take a step back and deconstruct it into micro-businesses. Make sure you keep the causal links between the tasks, without losing sight of how they stay connected to the whole. Then establish a plan to tackle one micro-task at a time. As a novelist, I do not write the novel in one sitting, but take it one chapter at a time, and often within each chapter, each sequence for each sequence and within each se.quence, each event for each event, and within each event, each beat for each beat. It is much more manageable this way and you always feel a sense of momentum and progress.

Lacks personal meaning: I’ve had it so many times in my career that I’ve lost count. Why am I doing this? What’s the point? This has nothing to do with me, and so on. When this happens, and it still happens, I think about something that is meaningful to me, like spending time with family, reading or playing tennis, and I tell myself that if I can get through this hard work, then I will have more time to do it. other thing, which has more meaning for me. This usually prompts me to take action.

Lack of intrinsic rewards: In other words, there is nothing in this task that gratifies you internally. You don’t feel proud, or more complete, or enriched by the experience of doing it. I know people who set aside a small cash gift for themselves when they finish an assignment. Your treatment will depend on your personal preferences, but it should be something you rarely treat yourself with, not something you consume or do every day. Treatment does not have to be about consumption. For example, if you have a pet, you can allow yourself more time to play with the pet.

Rehan Khan, principal consultant for BT and novelist

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