Lunch and Learn with Lindsay – Issue 1: “The Procrastinators Anonymous meeting has been postponed”

Back in May, I started a new email campaign of “Lunch n Learn”.  I wanted to do my part in supporting you by sharing motivational learning and food for thought in the form of “Lunch n Learn” posts every Monday lunchtime. For those of you who were not subscribed to our newsletters back then, here’s the very first one from May 11th for your reading enjoyment and learning!

We’re using the hashtag #LunchNLearnWithLindsay on our social media posts. We have also set up a Private Facebook Group which we’re inviting you to join.  Head on over to Facebook after you’ve read this!  

I’d love to hear from you if there are particular topics you’d like me to cover in the #LunchNLearnWithLindsay posts – so please drop me an email with your requests or suggestions.  

Lindsay
Founder & Director of Your Excellency Limited

#LunchNLearnWithLindsay

According to www.dictionary.com this is “The act …..of putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”.  Truth-be-known, it’s something I’m pretty good at and, from that sheepish look on your face now, I guess you are too!

One of the main reasons for procrastination taking a hold is due to time inconsistency. You see, human nature is such that we favour immediate rewards over future rewards. This means there is a time inconsistency that leaves the door well and truly open to procrastination.

When we set goals we are imagining what it will be like when we have achieved that goal in the future. This satisfies our “future self” in valuing long-term rewards.  However (and herein lies the challenge folks) only our “present self” can make a decision and take the action for our “future self”. And our “present self” favours instant gratification rather than a reward that’s way off in the distant. And of course, to add more complexity, the current COVID crisis is fuelling this time inconsistency.  The future is a haziness of uncertainty. None of us know what our lives and world are going to be like in the new normality when we come out of the other side of this.

The good news is there are things we can do and strategies we can employ. Right now, In the present.  And here are three of my favourites for you to try:

1.   Bring forward the negative impact of procrastination

So, I’m procrastinating about working out and visiting the gym.  I have no excuse as a third of our “home office” is kitted out with gym equipment.  I jokingly say to people that “I’ve been to the gym today” very quickly followed up with “…to dust down the treadmill and the exercise bike!!”.  I know that the negative impact of not visiting the gym is a strained waistband… social distancing is for people not the zipper in my jeans – but my future self is overshadowed by my present self of course.

By putting the “Bring Forward” strategy into practice I could invite my daughter to join me in a regular weekly workout in the gym (with the double-whammy that this will contribute to her school timetabled sport/exercise).  I would be much more likely to stick to this regime, rather than letting her down.  I’ve brought forward a negative impact of this procrastination and my waistband can relax.

2.   Temptation Bundling

This is attributed to Katy Milkman at The University of Pennsylvania. The strategy shares that “bundling” a behaviour that feels good in the short-term (or present) with a behaviour that is good for you in the long-run (or future) will stave off procrastination.

(When I first learned this strategy I realised I was already putting this in to practice.  Every Sunday evening when I do my weekly ironing I make sure I have a glass of chilled Marlborough to get me through the “chore”!)

3.   Employ the 10-Minute Rule

This is one of my favourite strategies as it’s really easy to put into practice – and it works!

This strategy acknowledges that getting started on a task is usually the toughest bit.  Tell yourself that you are going to work on a task for 10 minutes (set an alarm bell on your phone or ask Alexa for her help….) then when 10 minutes are up you will then decide whether to keep going. More often than not, once you’ve got that initial inertia going you’ll carry on with the task beyond the 10 minutes….give it a go!

With regards
Lindsay

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