Below are some typical errors in thinking that we make when we approach a task that overwhelms, bores or bothers us. Try to spot your favorite thinking errors so that you can talk back next time you are attempting to put something off!
I. “I am not in the mood right now” When your boss tells you to do something, do you say, “Sorry, I’m not into that right now”? Of course not. Not if you want to keep your job! Studies show that there is no particular mood that makes people more productive. Don’t wait for the mood to hit you. Your mood will increase by actually doing the task.
II. “I need more time than I have right now” If you often put off a task when you have some spare time, you are procrastinating. Even though the task may take hours, you can still accomplish important things by spending chunks of time when you have them. Try organizing your materials, doing some research or just outlining the task.
III. “I’ll do it later when I feel more motivated.” When are you going to suddenly feel motivated? Motivation doesn’t just happen. It comes from doing things. Try working on the task for 5 minutes, and if you still don’t feel motivated, then plan a time when you will do the task no matter what. Chances are, you will be hooked and keep going.
IV. “I’ll do it later. I function better under pressure.” We tell ourselves we do best under pressure, because we have been lucky too many times. Ask yourself how much better-quality work you do when you pace yourself.