Article: How happiness beats procrastination

Watercooler

How happiness beats procrastination

If you often find it challenging to finish tasks on time and procrastinate instead, start with finding some happiness and finish off the tasks that hold you down.
How happiness beats procrastination

Whether you’re putting off talking to a client, or trying to finish a task that’s nearing its deadline, or thinking about going to the gym regularly, there’s a good chance that you would rather put it off for some other time and procrastinate instead. The bad news is, it happens to everyone once in a while. The good news is, you can control it only if you teach your mind to be happy instead of getting intimidated by the task at hand.

Just get started

Of course, you need to get started. But that does not necessarily mean that you have to finish the task immediately. If you just start with setting a strong strategy to tackle the task, that in itself is getting started on the task, and a strong strategy is you best weapon to handle it with ease. Prof. Timothy Pychyl of Carleton University, Ottawa believes that as soon as we get started on something, our perception of the task makes a dramatically positive shift and helps us through to the finish line.

Break it down

Before you begin, start with yourself and change your own cognitive framing by telling yourself that you are not a procrastinator by habit. Think about the time you finished your tasks on time and never experienced anxiety as a result. Tell yourself that you are fully capable of finishing the task on time and then break it down into ridiculously small parts. Commit yourself to those smaller parts and allow yourself the time to tackle the bigger task at a later time, but get started with the small task immediately.

Once you accomplish that small part of the larger task, give yourself a reward it could be as simple as getting a sandwich from the kitchen, or finish the task today and go out with your friends tomorrow.

Start being positive

Positivity can have a profound impact on your focus and concentration at work. Going out with friends for dinner, nature walks, or even plants in the balcony - the reason we like these things is because they make us feel good and help induce positive thoughts, something the psychologists dub as the hedonic principle. However, in spite of our affinity towards happiness, we are not chasing happiness constantly. But according to a recent research study published by Harvard research scholar Maxime Taquet and her colleagues, the interesting things is that it’s only when we are the happiest, that we actually choose to tackle tasks that we constantly put off for later. This positivity or happiness can be achieved through any medium, be it a piece of chocolate cake or by practicing meditation, all that really matters is that you let positivity take root in your thoughts.

Happiness can be as difficult as it is delicate. When we feel low, we choose to finish tasks that offer instant gratification. When we feel happy, we take on challenges that will result in long term gains. Although this seems strange, enough research is available on the topic to help you make up your mind on the positive correlation between happiness and saying goodbye to the habit of procrastination. So do yourself a favor, and start being happy if you really want to stop procrastinating. 

Topics: Watercooler

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