Overcome procrastination - Don't fall for your pick up lines!

Overcome procrastination by identifying your excuses and building an intention plan

overcome procrastination

You've heard of pick up lines, right? You know, those cheesy one-liners someone might use to get a date? Well did you know that there are also procrastination pick-up lines. 

When you hear yourself say….'hey I have plenty of time'….or 'I work better under pressure'….or 'this is soooo boring'…..well these are your procrastination pick-up lines.

They are like your warning signs that you are about to enter the procrastination zone. 

It is completely normal to say these things…who wants to do something they don’t like doing. The problem is that for procrastinators they fall for some of their own pick-up lines and so put things off. 

The thing for procrastinators is to recognise their pick-up lines and change their conclusion to them. In this article I want to:

  1. describe what an intention plan is and how you can overcome procrastination with one
  2. provide you with some examples of the typical procrastination pick up lines
  3. have you develop your own intention plan to overcome procrastination

1. How to overcome procrastination with an intention an intention plan

Peter Gollwitzer, an expert on intention plans, says that you double the chances that you will follow through with almost any activity when you make an intention plan. In fact, this has been scientifically confirmed from tasks like writing a report over break to getting medical screenings for life threatening illnesses.

So in order to overcome procrastination and not fall for our own pick up lines we need to debunk all the old familiar excuses. 

This involves indentifying your well-worn excuses and then pre-deciding what you will do if you hear yourself saying this excuse to yourself. This immediate next action that you will pre-decide to do so that you do not procrastinate – that’s your new domino behaviour.

Shane Owens and his colleagues at Hofstra University demonstrated that those who perform implementation commitments were nearly eight times more likely to follow through on a commitment than those who did not create them. That could be you!

2. Typical procrastination excuses and pick-up lines

Excuses can be lame….excuses can be pathetic…excuses can be clever….AND….the really creepy thing is they all have an element of truth in them. That is why they are so compelling.

Some typical procastination excuses include:

  • Tax return (or insert any thing you dislike)…..I’ve got so many more important things to do than this.
  • Not much detail in this brief, I’ll wait for more information.
  • This essay question is pathetic….if they can’t make an effort why should I.
  • Last day of sunshine for the week! I’ll start it tomorrow.
  • I work better under pressure – I am just a last minute person

3. Building your intention plan to overcome procrastination

Now the implementation intention is about creating a new response to these triggers (these are your procrastination excuses). 

What are your new responses going to be.

Here are some ideas:

  • IF I say to myself things like “I’m too tired” THEN I will just get started on some aspect of the task.
  • IF I say to myself things like “I don’t feel like doing this now,” THEN I will take the first step right now - just for 30 minutes.
  • IF I say to myself things like “I'm waiting for a moment of inspiration” THEN I will just get started and inspiration may come.

Which type of procrastinator are you? Find out here

So you can see hear that the IF part of the statement are your typical excuses (which often have an element of truth to them) and the THEN statement describes the new trigger action to the old familiar excuse. 

What you are trying to do here is to identify those typical excuses that you make and then to create a pre-decision that decides the action you will take when those familiar excuses pop up. 

4. Your procrastination activity

Your activity is to identify the words that you hear yourself saying to yourself when you are about to procrastinate. In other words identify your well-worn excuses.

Following this, complete your intention after the words “Then I will”. This is where you write your immediate next action that you will pre-decide to do so that you do not procrastinate – that’s your new domino behavior.

Shane Owens and his colleagues at Hofstra University demonstrated that those who perform implementation commitments were nearly eight times more likely to follow through on a commitment than those who did not create them. That could be you!

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