Confessions of an ex-procrastinator | Gregory Caremans | Skillshare

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Confessions of an ex-procrastinator

teacher avatar Gregory Caremans, Making the Unconscious Conscious

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. why we procrastinate

    • 3. Types of procrastination

    • 4. About willpower and motivation

    • 5. Strategies to beat procrastination

    • 6. Dopamine driven strategies

    • 7. Contextual strategies

    • 8. Brain hacks

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

I’m an expert in procrastination. I know all about it. The guilt, the shame, the internal struggles, ... and more importantly: how to overcome it!

Some people think that procrastinators are just lazy, but that’s really not the case. Well, there are various types of procrastinators, as we will see in this course.

To understand procrastination, we have to understand where it comes from, understand our behavior. You know, why we do the things we do the way we do them. And then, act upon it.

Join me in this fascinating and light-hearted class as I show you my journey into understanding why we procrastinate, and guide you through a dozen strategies that I used myself to help me beat this nasty habit. 

If you're one of those 20% who admit to be a chronic procrastinator, or even if you're only sporadically falling into it, you don't want to miss the new scientific insights shared in this course, which will make you look at this habit in a totally new way.

See you inside! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Gregory Caremans

Making the Unconscious Conscious


I have a lifelong fascination with human behavior and spent the last ten years in the Learning and Development sector.

So why do I know about brainstructures, behaviorism and social psychology? I'm the former director of the Institute of Neurocognitivism, which developed the NBA (Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach).

Early 2014, I started Brain Academy, an organization aimed at building a bridge between brain science and every day life. We transform scientific (theoretical) studies into practical insights and ready-to-use tools.

I'm much more a communicator than a scientist myself. I enjoy explaining complex matters in a way that they become accessible to everyone.

From theory to practice

From science to everyday life

See full profile

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1. Introduction: procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. Well, as far as I remember, And even before that I've been procrastinating. You see, Even before I was born, I was already progress in ating. I was born one month late one month. Understand nine months in there? Oh, not me. I stayed a full 10 months and if they hadn't induced labor, God knows how much longer I would have holdout a couple of years later. I'm a toddler Now. Most babies take their first steps sometimes between nine and 12 months and are walking well by the time they're 14 or 15 months old. They say not to worry if your child takes a little longer, sometimes it takes up to 16 or 17 months and everything is perfectly normal. Well, not so for good old procrastinating. Me? I was, too when I walked. Yes, two years old, 24 months. Not nine, not 12 not 16. 24. From there onward, life has just been one long procrastinating thing after the other. They made me repeat kindergarten, for crying out loud. Supposedly, I wasn't ready now really asking a procrastinator if he's ready. That's like asking a kid to say when he had enough sweets. Anyway, that's cool. Things went quite well. Actually. I was kind of smart, so that was helpful. My first year in school, it was first off my class. So went, really That's not supposed to happen. Apparently, I was doing way too much effort for the school thing. So from there onward Ah, I started a long journey in finding the right amount of studying, which would keep me out of trouble. Just enough. You know, I had to take the train to go to school. So in the morning I would do my homework in the train, stuff like that. When I had purity, even my body procrastinated. I mean, I was 15 looking like I was 12. Come on. Really. Needless to say, there wasn't a girl around interested in dating a 12 year wolf look alike. At university, we didn't work with semesters who had a year system. So in June you had two exams or classes were crowded. So I remember this professor saying, Look, everything is in the book. If you don't want to come to class, you don't have to. 00 that was a one way ticket to Procrastination Ville. For the next five years, I extended this invitation toe all my classes. I would party all year and open my first book around Easter. That would leave me April in May to study what the orders had done in nine months. Challenge. Except I tried starting later the first year, but I felt exam. So I had to study during the summer months, which is supposed to be procrastination heaven. So that was kind of counterproductive. None. And I need it. Minimum input, maximum output, studying two months a year and get that diploma. Needless to say, my professional life has suffered from it. I would be hired to do a job and end up doing all kind of other stuff. That's the thing about progress. In eight hours. We're not lazy. It's not that we don't work or don't like toe work. It's just that the other stuff it's so tempting, and there are 1000 good reasons to do the other stuff before whatever it is we're actually supposed to do. Anyway, I won't tell you how I ended up eating chips and Coke for breakfast is not to go to the bakery down the street, how my cooking could be resumed to what I call five minutes being, you know, microwave food or waking up in the mornings news after snooze after snooze and then running like crazy in order to make it on time. And then there were those hellish moments where you knew you had to do something. There was no more delaying, for example, filling in taxes or something. I would just stare at the paper and frustration, hoping it would somehow magically go away or something. I'm telling you this just to show you I'm an expert in procrastination. I know all about it. The guilt, the shame, d internal struggles and, more importantly, how to overcome it. So what happens? I'm expert Crestin. Ater rights. So what did I do to overcome that? Well, first of all, I lied. I'm actually not an ex. Procrastinator has still do it sometimes, but I use it to my own benefit. I give it a space. I let it exist and it serves me. But I'll explain all that later. So basically I decide when I progress in eight second. It didn't happen at once. When I look back I realized there were many little changes things I started doing and stopped doing, which helped me, and I'll share all of them in the coming lectures. I basically started new habits. Step by step one by one. I'm not sure which came first. Wasn't my results so strong that I started to new habits or was city habits which strengthened my determination? Hard to say. If I had to choose, I probably would say that both happened at the same time. And a strong resolve which helped me put in place new habits, which in turn grew my resolve even further. Yeah, something like that. So in my procrastination Free. Yeah, Well, almost. If you don't count a plumber I'm supposed to call since three years for that thing in the basement. You know, I'm doing pretty good. I guess so. This chapter is about progress, donation, willpower and motivation. Follow me on my journey and I'll tell you everything I know and learned firsthand about procrastination and how to beat it. Unless you're procrastinating right now. Of course, by watching this, if you watch this, you'll be procrastinating. But if you don't watch this, you won't know how to stop procrastinating. What a moral dilemma 2. why we procrastinate: there are some misconceptions out there regarding procrastination. Some people think that procrastinators are just lazy. That's really not the case. Well, there are various types of procrastinators, as we will see in the next lecture, and it is possible to have a lazy ass on top of your progressive nation, which would be real bummer. But in general, a procrastinator is far from lazy. Actually, procrastinators are often hard working individuals who are really good at coming up with all kind of stuff to do, which they do in order to avoid doing what they should be doing. But in any gays, they are doing a lot of stuff. It's not as if they are just sitting there doing nothing. Well, sometimes they are, but mostly not there to beat it doing all this stuff. Another misconception is that they would be stupid. Actually, procrastinators are quite gifted and astute. In some cases, the task at hand is just way too boring for them, and they need that little extra to spice things up. It's way more exciting if you only have one night ahead of you and want to which the Lord of During Trilogy before the Sun comes up. That's a challenge worth living for. To understand procrastination. We have to understand where it comes from, understand our behavior. You know why we do the things we do, the way we do them now. I'm not going to go too much in detail. Here is I've covered this extensively in various or the courses of mine for now. No Did I'm a strong advocate of uncovering the unconscious drivers behind our behavior. We like to see ourselves as rational beings, but we're not remember most definitely not. Don't get me wrong. We're capable of rational thought. But that doesn't make us rational beings. No, we are social beings, emotional beings, contextual beings, even instinctive beings. Long before we could consider ourselves rational beings. When a procrastinator procrastinates, he or she doesn't sit down and starts of rational thinking process about how he or she will progress in eight ways. Time on other things before finding oneself with their back against the wall and having no other option than to work twice as hard to get things done off course not. But neither does it just kind of happen. That might be what it feels like, but underneath that feeling. There's an unconscious decision making process going on, which drives us to act a certain way in certain situations. So how does that unconscious decision making process looks like? I thought you'd never ask. Let me try to explain to you in the best way I can what's going on in our head, how we make decisions and why we sometimes progress innate welcome to the human minds. I'm going to use the iceberg analogy. You know, the part we can see and the invisible part in the water. Actually, this analogy was introduced by Collier, even though some of his findings are are dated. A lot of what he said is still valid today when even though the iceberg analogy has been overused, it's a total cliche in frankly, not even as accurate as I wished it would be. Thing is, it's the best I have, and it's one most people will understand. So indulge me. We were saying Yes, a nice book. The iceberg stands for who we are or more exactly, for how we make decisions in life. The top of the iceberg. The part we all can see is like that little voice in our head. That little voice is our conscious self. The one was self awareness because of it. We firmly believe we are our own boss. We are the ones in charge, taking decisions alone, mature Lee rationally. Here, right back to the iceberg. The iceberg is floating. It's not because of the part of both the water, but if what is beneath the surface and exactly the same way. Our decisions are not to the result off our conscious self off that little voice, but have was been need. The surface are unconscious drivers. These unconscious drivers will present a limited number of options to our conscious self, who will then take a decision? Let me explain. We can identify three drivers. 1st 1 is our genetic driver. Millions of years of evolution have embedded in our DNA all series of survival strategies, which will diminish the risk of being eaten a life or becoming extends as a species amidst the pyrotechnics of firing neurons and rushing hormones. This programming will lead us towards preferences that keep us safe from harm and towards reproduction from primal instincts over physiological needs. It will push us to eat, sleep, stay safe and have sex and not necessarily in that order, but not only that. Here we also have our personalities and motivations those things we are naturally inclined to love doing. Second driver influencing our choice is built on the 1st 1 as a species were born. In complete, our brain needs to continue its development and won't reach maturity until the age of approximately 24 years old. Now, everything we do stays recorded in our brain, especially what happened before reaching maturity will have a strong impact even if we are conscious. Self, don't remember a thing off. Our first years on this planet are brain dust. It's all registered there since the first moment we left the safety of our mother's room and actually already before that, our brain started to form itself and respond to the environment it was confronted with. And it hasn't stopped ever since. On values and norms have developed this way. But also our self confidence inhibitions, limiting believes and attached coping mechanism and all that, even if it remains under the surface, tells us what to do, how to behave, what to say in what circumstances and so forth. It ends up creating a road map for how to react to the outside world based on our prior experience and a basic rule in depending at all is a simple as it gets. We will seek to repeat whatever experience we've enjoyed, and we will seek to avoid any experience which created discomfort. Now the third and last driver is intimately interwoven with the two orders. It's the environment or context we're in with context. You have to understand the physical, social and physiological context. Caller smells and sounds will influence us just as the company were in or the amount of strain were under. And in the case of a procrastinator, there's always a perfect excuse readily available in our immediate environment, to postpone doing whatever we should be doing. So these tree forces combined, mingle and continuously assign value to thinks people and situations. Once our conscious self comes into play, it can merely choose out of the preassigned associative valuations, which he has no clue why they came to being in the first place, said a procrastinator. That thing he or she should be doing is getting away lower value. Dando's other options the unconscious drivers came up with and systematically, the procrastinator will go for those other, more attractive options. Sometimes the suggestions that bubble up from our unconsciousness are in competition with one another, our primal instincts wanting to avoid a conversation at all costs. But our prior experience tells us that not facing issues usually doesn't end well. That's where that little voice in our head comes in. That's when our reason picks a fight with our instincts or emotions. That's when we test our will power. That's when sometimes we just feel torn apart with the four side of shame and guilt when we know that we really should be doing one thing. But we're doing something else instead. So one of those drivers below the surface or combination of them. It's pushing us towards the choices we're making, and if that little voice in our head isn't paying attention, we will just go with it time and time again. 3. Types of procrastination : now, procrastination isn't the same for everyone. The behavioral model I just showed you in the previous lecture explains how our behavior is influenced by unconscious drivers well dependent on the type of influence we can identify different types of procrastinators. The first type comes from, the first driver has explained. One of our primal instincts is to stay safe, and one of the best strategies to stay save is simply to avoid danger. Now our brain does interpret danger very broadly. 100,000 years ago, danger was hungry lion or a pissed off Mamet. Today it can be a simple as a phone call we should make or a conversation we should have. We know before doing it that it will be unpleasant, so our brain associates it with danger. The importance here is not whether danger is real or not. It's about a perceived danger. Guess what happens as it is label as a dangerous activity. Our brain files it as an activity to be avoided, and there you go off first type of procrastinator. Isn't avoider now closely related to this first type on the freezers? One thing is avoiding danger. The other is how to react when facing danger. Remember here again we're talking about perceived danger, right? You might have heard about the famous flee or fight reaction. When facing a danger. We can react by fighting and all for running away well. There is 1/3 world many people don't know about, and that is to freeze. You know, you just stop moving like a deer caught in headlights. And yes, this is our second type of procrastinator. There's one just freezes. So whatever task is being seen as a threat, this progressive later, as a reaction to it, will just stop acting altogether. It's a pure stress reaction no more, but it does make for great procrastinators. For the third type of progress in ator, we stay with the first driver, our genes. Now, technically speaking, procrastination is not hereditary. The activation of progress. The nation is not passed on through our genes. At least, no scientific study so far has been able to establish a link. However, what is part of our genes are our personality traits and motivations. Some activities we are naturally drawn to, and they give us energy enjoy. Those are what we call intrinsic motivations. Other activities on the other hand, Costas energy, and we need an external push to do things. And guess what? This lack of motivation is the perfect breeding ground for the third type of procrastinators. Whatever activity doesn't lie in their intrinsic field of motivation, they won't do it just because they don't like doing it. They will need an external push to get things done, and that Bush can come in all kind of shapes a deadline, a threat, a reward. Because if you leave it to disprove fascinators, you can be pretty sure you'll be waiting forever now for the next one, we moved to our second unconscious driver off a prior experience. As I just said, Procrastination isn't something we inherit from our parents. Still, our genes are not the only ways our parent past things on. There have been studies showing a clear link between harsh controlling fathers and procrastinating Children. The reason behind it, apparently, is that too much authority will keep Children from developing the ability to regulate themselves as they're being told every single thing they should or should not do so in the long run, these kids don't get the opportunity to internalize their own intentions and then learning toe act on them. In these circumstances, they don't have many options, and procrastinating can become a form off passive aggressive rebellion. Unfortunately, once they've become accustomed to procrastinating, once the brain is wired for it, this way of doing things can stick with them for the rest of their lives. The other way a child was strong authoritarian upbringing can turn out is to be left with the low self esteem. For these procrastinators, the issue is that they just don't think they're capable of doing the task at hand. When parents are too strict, too controlling. Don't do this. Don't do that. Ask my permission. First, the message they're sending, the one the kid's brain is interpreting this. You're not capable of doing these things by yourself. And guess what? 15 years of that and eventually yes, that kid's brain will be wired to not take initiative, wait for permission, not knowing where to start or how to do things by themselves. Also part of the second driver or the perfectionists. Now perfectionism can have various causes, and this is not the place to go into these details. What is important here is to see the impact of it, because perfectionism doesn't necessarily lead to perfection. One of the main consequences of it is that the person who wants something to be perfect is never happy with the end result and consequently is always postponing and delaying deadlines in order to improve whatever they're working on. The results is that it takes forever to get things done. Razzle types or thrill see years. These are the guys and girls who say they need to pressure of a deadline breathing down their neck to be able to produce their best work. Well, if you are one of them, you will hate me for this. But this is one big fat lie. You're telling yourself to make yourself feel better about your progressing nation. If you claim this, you obviously have no idea how your brain works because no, we don't work better when our back is against the wall. Quality work isn't producing one night exams are and studied by cramming. What these procrastinators are after is the thrill of completing an almost impossible task . When they reach it, the brain releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter also associated with cocaine, gambling and sex. Yes, thrill seekers with the third driver. We also have procrastinators. They're heavily influenced by their environment in the sense that everything that comes to them is equally important. They just don't know how to prioritize the urgent, important. It's all the same to them. So they end up failing deadlines or just not doing things, because, well, something came up. What we witness here is really a failure of higher cognitive functioning, such as planning and organization. In this case, it really has nothing to do with willpower or motivation. For these procrastinators, everything is important is as urgent. It's not that they don't want to do something in their eyes. Everything is the same. Everything is equal. They are equalizers, last but not least, and also part of the third driver rd addicts. I already talked about dopamine with the razzle types and how it's linked to addiction. Well, in this particular case, the procrastinator is just addicted to something, anything, really, which leaves him, or hardly any time to do anything else. Workaholics, shopaholics, video games, Facebook, you name it. Whatever they need to do, it will always come last after their prediction. It's not that they're avoiding they're just too busy with their addiction to do anything else. Really? So here they are, nine different types of procrastinators. If you are procrastinator, were you able to recognize yourself in one of these? Actually, a procrastinator could well be a combination off various of these types. So now that we know why and how procrastinators behave the way they do, let's have a look at how a procrastinator can stop procrastinating. 4. About willpower and motivation: many people believe that everything can be solved with willpower. Procrastinators like will power. That's it. They're a lazy bunch of do nothings who need a kicking their ass. As you've probably understood by now, procrastination isn't a one dimensional issue. It's complex. It takes many different shapes. Its roots can go way back. And likewise, there is no simple, one dimensional solution to it, because if there waas progress, Nation would have Bean eradicated a long time ago. Still, here we are, with around 20% of the population to admit being a chronicle procrastinator. That's one out of every five individuals that's huge. Remember the iceberg model I showed you before visible part of the eyes Book was our conscious self right, the one who was ultimately deciding what to do based on the suggestions bubbling up from our unconsciousness. Well, this is a seat of will power. It's that little voice in our head who has the amazing faculty toe, a variety, older suggestions and go with something else. It's a power to say no now to something that is very tempting and do something else. It's also called delayed gratification, one of my all time favorite studies is the marshmallow experiment of Walter Michelle. It stars a bunch of little kits, most of which to come on average within six minutes to eating a marshmallow. Had they waited 15 minutes, they would have gotten a second marshmallow. Is premium would have bean acute hidden camera? Were it not that it did of follow up study 20 years later, what they found was astonishing. Those who successfully resisted the temptation 20 years earlier had better jobs earn more, had more stable marriages, etcetera, than those who hadn't resisted. Basically, the study revealed that the ability to delay gratification is a major factor of success in life. The ability to say no to temptation for the procrastinator. That seems like more bad news, right? But is it really out off nine procrastination stars? We've identified how many of them really are dealing with issues of will power. Let's see. Avoiders of orders are basically dealing with stress, and it is distress that should be addressed. Willpower can temporarily force avoiders to comply, but it's really fighting symptoms, not the root cause. Freezers. That's basically the same issue is with avoid us non motivated procrastinators again fighting symptoms. Here's a real issue at hand is motivation. Even if you're able to force yourself to do something, you will still not like it. The problem will present itself over and over and over again. Rebels with rebels will power. It's pointless because it is their willpower that causes the progressive nation. They already have plenty of it. Lois. Team procrastinators. Oh, here will Power will do more harm than good. Imagine someone with low self esteem. You're telling that person he or she should be working on their willpower now. Any failure to overcome their procrastination will be further proof for them that they're just, in fact, a failure, tumbling them down, even lower on their self esteem. Skill. Willpower here is just counterproductive perfectionists. Well, these guys are already working a lot. Willpower is just totally pointless here. So what? They should be using their willpower to stop working thrill seekers again. Pointless. They're in this for the dopamine. Willpower doesn't give them dopamine. You're just taking all defend out of this thing. Should be repeated. Boring should be avoided. You're just gonna make avoiders out of them equalizes. This is somewhat similar. As with perfectionists, these guys are already working in starting on time. Just not on the right. Protects They need tools, not willpower. And finally, addicts. Addiction is basically an overcompensation for something missing in our life. So again, willpower won't address the root cause. Onley create more frustration and need for overcompensation. This can potentially turn ugly. Whoa! So that's it. Did you see what just happened? Not a single one of the nine procrastinator types are dealing with issues off willpower. Yes. In some cases, will power could have an effect, but it is mostly fighting symptoms rather than root causes. Now, I'm not saying willpower is not important. It is one of the most reliable indicators for success in life. So, yes, by all means do work on your willpower. But don't do it to solve your procrastination because willpower is not the problem. You see, scientists have been looking at willpower very closely. One of the main questions they had was how does it come that some people seem to have more willpower than others? Is it a failure of executive function? Is that little voice in their head really too weak now? It turns out with procrastinators. It isn't a willpower that is lower is a temptation that is just overwhelming. Now let me turn this around. Non procrastinators do not have more willpower than procrastinators. They are just less tempted than procrastinators. And this makes total sense to me. I remember when I was a kid at the end of a meal, my grandmother always asked me if I wanted dessert. Most of the time my stomach was full, so I said, No thanks. My grandmother always reacted in disbelieving with admiration for my willpower whilst she was indulging herself with chocolates or sweets. But the truth was to me, it didn't cost me anything to say No, I just didn't want it. It wasn't attractive at that moment, so it wasn't about willpower. It really was about how much I wanted something. Yeah, that kind of takes a glory out of the hole. Willpower debate, doesn't it? Those marshmallow kids didn't have more willpower than the other kits. They just wanted it less. I know life is unfair because the kids who wanted it less ended up getting to Marsh Muller's anyway. So if you don't progressing it, it means you're just less tempted by stuff. So why are some of us more tented and others less. Remember the iceberg. We have three unconscious drivers genetics, prior experience and our immediate surroundings to stay with the example of my grandmother . Genetics. Some people just like sweets. More than all this prior experience, my grandmother had been wiring her brain her whole life to eat desserts whilst I was just starting off in life and we usually didn't get dessert at home. And last but not least, our surroundings take the availability for sweets Way and my grandmother one be ating sweets. Either. It's that simple, so back to procrastination. I want to make it gays here to stop blaming and shaming procrastinators with this whole willpower thing because it's bogus on top of that and I kid you not. Scientists have recently discovered that to use of willpower is causing so much internal friction that it ends up damaging the telomeres on our DNA strings, which ultimately leads to a shorter lifespan. So let's go easy on that willpower, and let's try to find a better, healthier solution for our progress in aiders 5. Strategies to beat procrastination : if willpower is not the answer. What iss? I want to know how I beat progressive nation. Well, I didn't. There was no battle of wills. I didn't achieve victory. It just kind of happened. You see, after I left my last job, I started looking for a new one. But I quickly realized it was about time I do something differently. So I started studying again, researching a lot. I started developing programs and launched my own consultancy company. Now, for the 1st 6 months, I didn't make a penny, not a single one, and still I was loving it. So there was no external reward. It was pure, intrinsic joy. When people ask me how I was doing, I was saying Great, I just need to find out how to get paid for what I'm doing and everything will be perfect. Suddenly, I wasn't procrastinating anymore because what I was doing was way too much fun. I loved everything about it. This was a better way more fun than procrastinating. That's when I understood that motivation, not willpower, was the answer. I wasn't using any willpower to work my butt off. I just loved what I was doing that's it. And it didn't and still doesn't feel like working. This is actually fun. I'm getting my dopamine, my challenges and everything. I can see how, over the years I've developed good practices, which have helped me along the way. In 2015 psychologist Brian Gala and Angela Duckworth's published their findings about how people who are good at self control seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self control decision in the first place. And structuring your life has nothing to do with will power. It's about planning. It's about routine. It's about developing healthy habits. Once we're used to something, it comes naturally. Take my morning ritual, for example. Waking up in the morning has always been a real nightmare for me. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to get out of bed, regardless of the amount of sleep I've had. That night I was a zombie. My brain just seemed wired that way. Then I became a dad twice in order to give my wife a break, we've developed his routine where one night she would get up, and the other night I would, it seemed only fair. So for about five years, my nights have been heavily disturbed, waking up the most impossible hours. Sometimes after getting the kid back to sleep, I was the one who couldn't sleep anymore. So it was like a living with a constant jet black. However, whatever the sleeping it, any time one of my kids would cry, I would just jump out of there so my life wouldn't make up anyway. Long story short after five years of that rhythm. Today, whenever I wake up, I get straight out of bed. It doesn't cost me any willpower. I'm just used to it. It has become a habit. I'm not even tempted to stay in bed anymore. When I wake up early, I just get out of bed and start my day. That would have never happened in the old days, but that's also because I look forward to each day and we're back at Square one motivation . So let's have a look at the different strategies that we can use to gently slip out of procrastination instead of waging a battle of wills against ourselves. So the classical way to deal with procrastination would be for the procrastinator to let the primitive instinct of fear to kick in with a deadline coming way too close or the consequences of non action becoming unbearable. The other way has always bean to go to our conscious self, that little voice in our head and start an arm wrestling contest and trying to overpower and override what were naturally inclined to do. And I say now, forget all that. Let's stop the suffering, the fear, the anxiety, distress, the shaming and blaming. No, no, that's just not healthy. Sure, we're capable of reason, and we do have those primitive instincts. But look at our unconscious drivers. Our actions are first and foremost, determined by our emotions in our limbic system, fuelled by dopamine and also by our contexts, the people and things around us. So lets them raise that. Now that you understand how our brain works, let's use that to our advantage. In the next three lectures, we will go over a whole list of strategies, most of which I use myself to overcome procrastination 6. Dopamine driven strategies: So is this is all a matter of motivation. We should start by looking there. Have you procrastinate in the context of your job? Let me advise. You should seriously consider a career change. It's never too late to start doing something you truly love. And even if you believe you love your job, well, you're progressing. Nation is actually strong indicator that you are actually lying to yourself. Sorry for being blunt. Someone had to bring you the news. Now, before you all massively start quitting your jobs, there are still other ways to make you like, or even love and activity. Remember how our prior experience works? We avoid what we dislike or what bores us. And on the other hand, we look to repeat what we like. The magical ingredient is dopamine, so I'm gonna make you want to do it. This is a short meditation activity. Make yourself comfortable. So take D activity you're procrastinating about. Now visualize yourself doing it and instead off dreading it or hating it. Make it a best case scenario. See yourself enjoying it. You're having fun doing it to make it as realistic possible. Feel the emotions, the positivity witness how you enjoy yourself and then just see yourself finishing the activity and experience the satisfaction, a tent or relief, Whatever the activity was about, the whole avoid we dislike and to repeat what we like thing comes from our limbic system. In our brain, it's fuelled by dopamine. Every pleasant experience we have makes us release some dopamine and gives us a kick. Games, especially video games, have mastered this whole dopamine release process and are able to hook us and glowers in front of screens. I have one word for you. Book him on. That should say enough. Each time these players catch one of them, they get their dopamine Schultz. And whenever they are in the vicinity of one, they start anticipating and craving their next shot to truly our digital junkies, you know? But that's another causal together. Anyway, back to the activity you're procrastinating on a great way to get you going and even crave for more is by GAM. If eyeing that activity, organize a task has in a video game create levels you have to pass the things you must hate about your task will turn them into bosses. You have to beat earn points along the way, especially if you finish your task within a certain timeframe, then set up a whole of fame where you can compare how you did with previous deaths. Sounds already way more fun right now. If you're not into video games and you have no idea what these levels and bosses are all about, don't worry. There's a very simple strategy to get your dopamine shots without having to turn yourself into super my obras. What, You don't even know Dad guy anyway. A more simple strategy. Simple but highly effective as to make lists, yes, to do list. Break your task into little pieces, and each time you did one of them, you just check it off. Every time you check one off, you get your dopamine. On top of that, the task at hand will look less daunting and probably even easy. As now, it's just a collection off small bit size activities. The motivation bundle. Okay, I already talked about this one before. If you don't like whatever it is you have to do, do it together with something you do like, for example, you like music. Well, if your activity permits it listen to your favorite music while doing it. You like sports. Try turning your activity into a workout session. You get the idea, you bundle something you're procrastinating on with something you really like. So the joy and positive energy of doing the ladder will shine on the first ballot. A bun. You know what I sai some things in life obeyed, like, really, Might you make other things? Just might you swear and curse when you're chewing on laughs? Kruzel, Back Ramble. Give a whistle and thistle LP's turnout for the base. I always look on the dry side of life, always look on the lie snow and hasn't sung along with this one. Good old Monty Python did have a good point, though, and one weaken for sure use with our procrastination. So one of the issues with procrastination is that we think about the activity is being boring or difficult or really unpleasant. That's what we're anticipating. That's what we're expecting, and that's why we don't do it now. Instead of thinking about how horrible the activity is, start looking at it from the bright side. Change your perspective about it. Try to find good things about activity. You don't need to lie to yourself. Just focus on the good things. And each time you think about the activity, force yourself to think about those positive aspects. Then, while doing the activity, be mindful about the positive impact of those things. The objective here is to change the way you look at the activity and actually over time, even start enjoying it. So that concludes our limbic strategies to overcome procrastination. We have visualization gam if I ng making lists, bundling motivations and always look at the bright side of life. Always look on the bright side of life. Always look on the light side of line. If life seems jolly wrong, there's something you forgot, and that's to laugh. Inspiring dances Sing one you're feeling in the dumps. Grab a silly champs. Just purse your lips and whistle. That's the thing. A wise look on the bright side of life. Always look on. The right side of for life is quite upset, and that's final world. You must always face the curtain with a bow 7. Contextual strategies: contextual strategies to beat procrastination. We are contextual beings. Yes, we are heavily influenced by everything around us, starting with other people. Of course, if there is one thing that characterizes us humans more than anything else, it is our social nature. We are social animals, are brain needs, social interactions craves it, even put people in solitary confinement and day go nuts. Put all people in social isolation and their brain will age dramatically. Now cut young Children off from any social contact, and their brains will remain impaired. Full life. We live and thrive from our contact with others. Positive psychology has been able to demonstrate that it is the quality of our social contacts more than anything else that will make us happy about our lives or not. So let's embrace our social nature and see how we can use that to overcome procrastination . So let's team up. In the history of humankind, very little accomplishments have bean work of one single person. Sure, the initial I D can come from one minds, but the execution is almost always teamwork. Now. Procrastination is mostly about executive tasks, right? Things that need to be done. So do team up. Invite friends or colleagues to do the activity. You're procrastinating home and do it together. Not only is it more fun and rewarding, he'll be done in half the time or use the buddy system. Maybe you just need some social control, someone towards whom you're accountable for instead of making it a real controlling job, make it a more positive, rewarding relation by using the buddy system. Basically, you find someone close to you whom you can call whenever you're having a hard time to get motivated. Someone who can give you a pep talk because let's face it. Sometimes we just need some attention in order to feel better and move on with our task. So does Buddy should be available whenever you had a heart moment, but also to celebrate whenever you did complete a task. You work for Quest in 80 on action takers. You've probably heard that we would be the average of the five people who spend most time with now was there is no scientific evidence behind his one liner. Good one, By the way, there is some undeniable truth in it. Our social environment has a huge impact on how we behave, we unconsciously tend to conform to group norms and behaviors. They have bean, often hilarious social experiments proving this over and over again. So, yes, if we're surrounded by procrastinators, were more likely to procrastinate ourselves. Likewise, if we surround ourselves with people who take action, we will be more likely to take action ourselves. So choose wisely, whom you spend time with and get rid of temptation. Okay, so much for people. When we're talking about the environment we're in as a driver for unconscious decision making. Were obviously also talking about things which thinks all things everything to a procrastinator, anything conservers, a distraction. And as we saw before, the issue is not the lack of willpower. It's too much temptation. We saw that people who are supposedly good at willpower are above all good at organizing themselves as to avoid willpower decisions. It's just easier that way, so let's get rid of temptation. Whatever it is you're procrastinating with, get rid of it now. I'm not saying you're not allowed to do your favorite procrastination anymore, but you'll have to manage it. Combine it with the other strategies. If your eggs books is the problem, give it to your buddy from your buddy system who will only give you access to celebrate whenever you finish a task. Or first finish a certain amount of tax on your to do list before indulging yourself. Whatever you do, make it hard for yourself to fall into temptation. Keep a clean desk policy. Get rid of your TV block your mail notifications. Turn off the beeping sound of your smartphone each time you get a message, then focus on your task. Take blocks of around 40 minutes of hard work and then take a 10 minute break to check your messages or just take a walk, get some fresh air and then continue. If you're really a diehard procrastinator, take it to an extreme. Get rid off all temptation and bore yourself so much that doing that ask your progress in 80 home will end up being better than the other option, which would be, ah, not doing a thing at all and change your environment. You see, if you have been procrastinating for a while now, you're probably already wired to procrastinate even more. Sitting at your desk might be a trigger to start doing the stuff you shouldn't be doing so . Whenever you detect repetitive patterns in your procrastination things or activities that will trigger your procrastination, it's time to break out of that pattern. And a great way to do so is to change our environment. If you always work at your desk, well, tried a kitchen table. Use the meeting room. Just break out of your habit By changing our environment, our brain takes notice of the change. It is more alert, and it's readjusting. Those moments are perfect to start doing things differently in our case to stop procrastinating. So that concludes our contextual strategies. To beat procrastination, we can team up, use the buddy system, surround ourselves with action takers, get rid of temptation or change our environments. 8. Brain hacks: brain tax. Now, interestingly, there are also ways to influence our unconscious drivers to trick them into action. You can call them brain hags or whatever. These are just shortcuts where we end up confusing our unconscious drivers. That's to avoid internal will power struggles and have them go along with what we planned in our case, to stop procrastinating Ako vertes thought when we don't feel like doing something, we can trick our mind by taking the first steps off the action. You know, we'll profile. You're in a procrastinator will start protesting. So you hush him and do it anyway. So, for example, if you need to start writing a document or something, start by turning on your computer in a procrastinator will go. But I don't want to do it. So you answer something along the lines off shore? Yeah, sure. I just want to have a look at the documents. So you go to your word file. The inner procrastinator will protest again. You go. Don't worry. I just want to write the first sentence. Then you write the 2nd 1 and the 3rd 1 And before you know what you're doing That thing you were procrastinating about and the inner protesting stops is you're too busy doing the task you're focusing on. I know it sounds crazy, but it works. I've done this a zillion times. Wording. Now, remember how we talked about the power of words, the words we hear but also the worst. We use ourselves end up shaping how we think and does how we behave. Here's a mind trick to get you going when you progress in it. You know, when there's this thing you should be doing, we often say to ourselves exactly that I really should be doing this. Now listen to these words and lead them resonates in you. Does this compel you to action nots? Really? Right. So tried is instead next time you talk to yourself thinking that you really should be doing something, change your words. Don't say I should be doing this. Say, I'm doing it. I'm doing it right now. Now listen to these words. I'm doing it right now. Is this action driven, right? Of course, it's not some kind of magical spell, but what happens is that our brain gets contradictory. Information are words say we're in the middle of action and the rest of our body isn't. That creates a discrepancy attention that can only be resolved by taking action. So it's a little bit like the rest of our body goes. Oh, we've already started the action. I wasn't paying attention. Okay, sure. Let's do this. Third person progressing heater. I already talked before about our inner procrastinator. This strategy is all about that. Look at yourself at that nasty habit of procrastination and make it a person. Give it a name. Can be Bob Godzilla or what? No. L do, Torino, I'm the dude. So that's what you call May you know, uh, that or his do dinosaur dude er or no l due to Reno, if you're not into the whole brevity thing, Pointers Make your procrastination habit an entity separate from yourself, then observe it, Talk to it, get to know it and tell it to back down. When you feel it holds you back, it's a good way to be able to mentally shift the blame and not feel guilt about your procrastination. It was a dude, man. So that concludes our mind. Hacks to be procrastination, you can use a covert start, change our words or person if I our procrastination habit 9. Conclusion : So we're arriving at the end of this chapter about procrastination. Basically, we started with a behavioral model underpinning our unconscious drivers. In our decision making, it led us to nine different types of procrastination, of which none were caused by a lack of willpower. So instead of resolving this issue by finding ways to reinforce our will power, the case was made to look at the real cause of this progressing nation motivation and lack of organization. This led me to share with you over dozen strategies from dopamine enhancement over using our social nature to changing our environment and even some mind tax. And the good news is, I still have one strategy for you, a foundational 11 that precedes all the others and will reinforce them. Because, let's face it, there will always be things we don't like to do. Having said that most of the time, there is a good reason why we should do them. And I'm not talking about the immediate consequences of it. I'm talking about the big picture. The very reason why we do things in the first place. Yes, a compelling vision. Something that is so big, so beautiful. So enticing that it means the world to you. Something that fills you with joy, Something you can't wait to have it happen. Now you will have to fight for it. But the prospect of getting there is so wonderful that you're willing to take the hits for it. It's your Holy Grail. Your promised land. No, let me ask you. Do you have yours? Have you thought about it? What is it that would rock your world? Now think about it. Think about it and make it. Is realist possible a Stangel? It's possible. I want you to be able to project yourself in that future state. Whatever it iss where you enjoy having reached your vision. Can you see it? What do you smell? What do you hear? Who or what is around? You make it like a short video clip in your head. Do you have it? Yes. Make it crystal clear. Now hold on to it. And every day, start and end your day with that vision that will be your fuel that propels your motor forward. The reason why you get out of bed to strength, to do what it takes to make things happen to get closer, one step at a time to that overwhelming, compelling vision of yours. Now you can decide to write it out. Some people like it more visual and create what is called a vision board. The idea is to take photographs from magazines or images you find on the Internet, print them out and attach them to a large piece of carton. The result of that will be a photo montage where you can actually see that compelling vision of yours. One look at it will be enough to revive your motivation levels any time you need to. So needless to say, you should hang it somewhere. You can see it somewhere. You will remind yourself of it several times a day. It can be in your bedroom or bathroom to start and end your day. Or it could be in your office next to your computer. If that's not an option, you can keep a photograph or a new object that symbolizes your vision and keep it close. That works as well. Remember to make it big, make it ambitious, make it something just irresistible. Of course, plantation still exists, and from time to time I still indulge myself, especially when I'm stuck on something. I give it a space and let it happen. But I do so for a reason. Because procrastination actually also has an upside. You see, our brain never stops, even if we don't think about something consciously, Our unconsciousness is still making links, evaluating stuff, creating new connections and so on. The best proof of that is when you're looking forward or name and just can't remember. Then once you stop trying couple of seconds or minutes later, suddenly out of the blue boom, there it is. You remember it. Your conscious self stopped working on it. But your unconscious self was still working on retrieving the information. And guess what? Procrastination is the perfect occasion for our unconscious self to advance on projects, find inspiration, make links without us having to do the hard work. Well measured procrastination should be part of any production process. It helps being more creative and find solutions. Once you understand that you never look at procrastination the same way again