The Real Reason Why We Procrastinate

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It easy to fall into the trap of believing that we’re missing something.

A new method to organize our time, a secret productivity “hack”, a new morning routine.

There must be something missing, right?

Maybe. However, when we focus on those things, most of the time, we are merely looking to solve the symptoms, instead of looking at the root cause of our issue.

The real reason that leads us to delay our work, to browse Instagram instead of getting started, to give up on our plans when something goes wrong.

Heck, you might be reading this article when you know you should be working.

If that is the case I suggest you close this tab, get to that, and then come back.

If you’re not persuaded by my efforts, well then, let’s dive into how to identify the root causes so that we can address them.

(Disclaimer: This Won’t Be Comfortable)

To properly recognize the bigger issue we have to dive into past failures, identify the patterns and study them in detail.

Due to the painful nature of this, it can be quite hard to not procrastinate on this task.

Since this is the first thing we must do, the only way to make it easier is to get the help of someone who has done it in the past. If you would like help with this, click here.

Other than that, it’s all up to you to exert your self-discipline in this beginning stage.

How Do We Get Started?

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First step, if you are a coffee person, make a big cup of it. Trust me, it will help.

Next step, grab a piece of paper, a pen, and find a place where you can be uninterrupted.

Don’t bring your phone, computer, or anything that might trigger you to get distracted.

Once all of that is in order, identify 2–3 past experiences where you failed to achieve your goals, due to procrastinating.

Keep it simple for now, write just the title of what happened.

Diving Deeper…

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Now that you’ve identified the situations, you’re ready for the painful part.

I told you it was coming.

What you are going to do now, is to go into detail of how this procrastination manifested itself in every situation you’ve identified.

To do that, here are some questions that help:

  • Did you set a plan to reach your goal or did you go by intuition alone? Or a mix of both?
  • If you created a plan, was it very detailed, step-by-step, focused on the long-term? Or was it the opposite?
  • When you had this plan, which was the hardest: taking the first step or sticking to the plan?
  • If you managed to stick to the plan, how did you deal with setbacks? Where you able to recover from them or did you felt like you went all the way to the beginning?
  • When these setbacks happened, what was your mental dialogue like?

By asking these questions, for all the past “failures”, what will certainly happen, in my professional opinion, is that the answers will be very similar.

You’ll be able to find the patterns that, if before were unconscious, now you’ve taken control over and made 100% conscious.

As Carl Jung once said:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

But Where Do We Go From Here?

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We sat down and wrote.

We went over our past.

We’ve identified the patterns blocking our progress, or in other words, made the unconscious become conscious.

“So now, how do we actually solve these patterns!?” — Some of you might start to think as I delay the most important part.

Fear not, because here it is.

Next, what you have to do is, first of all, plan for how you are going to replace these habits, secondly, how you are going to stick to the plan in the long term, and finally, how to properly deal with setbacks.

Since the purpose of this article is of identifying, I’m going to stop it here, however, I won’t leave you hanging.

To move on to the next step, planning that is, I have a previous article that goes into great depth about the best way, in my opinion, to approach it.

“Problem #1: Winners and Losers Have The Same Goals”

You can click here to read it: Read Now

One More Thing…

If you would like to set your morning routine to boost your productivity, based on Marcus Aurelius’s advice, I have created something for you…

It is called “Marcus Aurelius Morning Routine”.

I took 4 practices that the emperor would have approved of (by following his texts) and how you can best apply them to your life!

Get It Here!

Written by

Stoicism & Philosophy | Building @pathsofmeaning

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