May 3, 2007:
An Interesting View Of Procrastination
Interview with Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit

Mike Carruthers:
Why is it that we procrastinate when we know we have to get something done?

Neil Fiore:

We do it in part because of the way we talk to ourselves and the way in which our parents talked to us about our homework. "You have to finish your homework" - well that's very counter-productive 'because you have to' means you don't want to.

Neil Fiore, author of the book The Now Habit, says procrastination is a good way of avoiding something painful or boring but you also avoid that very good feeling of accomplishment.

It feels good to be able to be effective. Our brain actually lights up and rewards us any time we're effective. So, procrastinating keeps us from experiencing that optimal performance thrill.

Neil's suggestion is you change the way you look at any task - rather than looking at it as something to finish, simply look at it as something to start.

So when you tell the workers: your mind and body start at 1 pm on this project for fifteen to thirty minutes, you're creating a more doable task with a clear message of when to start - that's very different than I have to finish. So you begin to eliminate the anxiety by starting now for just a brief period of time.

When you focus on starting something as opposed to finishing something you'll be amazed at what gets done.

It's counter-productive to give your mind an image of getting it done because your mind can't get into the future. You need to focus your mind on what you can do now so that it's not overwhelmed trying to get into the future.

You can link to Neil's website from ours: I'm Mike Carruthers and that's Something You Should Know.

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