The Simple Way I Stop Myself From Procrastinating
I get asked a lot, “Hey Tim, how do you stay so focused all the time? How do you stop procrastinating?”
But here’s what a lot of people don’t realize:
I procrastinate too!
Who doesn’t procrastinate? Seriously? So many people these days act like they’re so busy and so productive. I honestly think most people are putting up a front. For some weird reason, society these days put a lot of value on “being busy” so everyone’s running around just being busy without ever really getting anything meaningful done.
You can stop procrastination, it’s easy
Here’s the simple solution:
You have to stop thinking about the work that you have to do because then you’ll want to keep procrastinating and putting it off. Too many people focus on, “Okay, when should I do this? How should I do it more efficiently?”
Forget all that.
Keep your eye on the prize
First, you have to only think about the thing you want. The end game. “Keep your eye on the prize.” as they say. People misinterpret what that means. You have to take it literally. What’s the prize? It has to be specific.
All the things you’re procrastinating about come from basically a misalignment in your brain of something that one of my mentors taught me about: the reward versus pain ratio.
The reward vs pain ratio
When pain becomes too much of your focus, and the reward is not contemplated enough, then the pain gets too high. It’s like a scale.
When the pain gets too high and the reward gets to low, you’ll always procrastinate. There’s no solution. No one has an answer for you. You can read all kinds of books. There’s no answer. The second the reward/pain ratio is out of whack, you start putting things off, and procrastinating more and more.
Like Mark Cuban once said, when he was poor, he used to drive around Dallas, Texas and look at rich people’s houses. He would have very specific rewards in mind and be like, “Oh, I want a pool like that,” or “Oh, I want a house with this much square feet.” and that would keep him motivated to keep grinding on.
It doesn’t have to be all material things
It can other stuff. Like for me, what I think about is specific stuff. I never want to have someone to tell me what to do or how to work, so that’s why I became an entrepreneur. I’m like, “You know what? I don’t like people telling me what to do.” I keep that in mind sometimes.
When I don’t feel like working, I’m like, “Oh, but do I want to go back to a life where someone orders me around every day and I basically have no free will?”
Do you even lift bro?
The same can be said for working out.
People focus too much on the workout. Routine A versus Routine B. This kind of split routine versus that. Well, I’m a personal trainer and I can tell you that it doesn’t matter more than actually doing the work out. You know, actually exercising rather than planning out all your regimens sitting on your sofa. “Special diets” don’t matter that much either.
There’s people gaining and losing weight as vegans. Some people gaining and losing weight as Paleo. It’s the same with workout routines. Some people are doing high intensity, low rep stuff. Other’s do low intensity high rep. Some do kettle bells only. And some do power lifting or cross fit.
You get my point?
At the end of the day, the people who stick to the routine are the ones who get in shape, period.
Don’t focus on the pain
That’s why if you focus on the painful event you’ll be more likely to give up. Ask yourself, what’s the reward for you being in great shape? What’s the reward for achieving financial freedom? People just get too caught up in the process, and the tiny details, they never follow through enough.
Keep your eye on the prize.
It’s all about changing your mental perception of what challenges you. It’s all a mental game. Same for reading. People don’t read because they associate it with pain, because the school system reprogrammed our brain to associate reading with pain.
For me, reading has brought me so many tangible benefits. When I see a book, I get excited. I’ve changed the association patterns in my brain. So, books appear to me to be a pleasurable thing. No pain or whatever, they’re just rewards. That’s why I can read a lot.
Like if you’re worried about starting your own business or your own blog, and you go, “Well, what happens if that doesn’t work out?” Then you’re focused on the process. That will come later. Get your butt to the gym. Get started on the company or your blog, then you’ll figure out the process as you go.
The visualization process is what you want to focus on.
Be like Kobe!
Hall of famer, Kobe Bryant, one of the great basketball players of all time, he would ply basketball without the ball because the ball is the process, and the process wasn’t all that important. What it was is he would visualize the ball going in. Shaquille O’Neal said he came to the gym one day and thought that Kobe Bryant had gone crazy. He was playing a game by himself with no ball. Kobe was literally dribbling and shooting without a ball.
Remember, keep your eye on the prize, and the prize should be a tangible thing.
Don’t be too broad, be super specific
Don’t say broad things like, oh, happiness. Too broad. Don’t say, “Oh, life is going to be better. Oh, make enough money.” Pick a number. “When I make $100,000 a year, I’ll be able to do blank. Go visit my family on Thanksgiving without stress. I’ll be able to contribute to this charity; or I’ll be able to buy this car or this nicer place to live; or I’ll be able to put my kids in a nicer school.”
These are tangible and specific benefits.
That will start balancing out that reward/pain ratio, and as you focus on the reward and you visualize a reward, it tips the scales. You’ll start being excited to do the work, and you’ll want to do the work.
What ways have you found to fight procrastination?
Give reward-thinking a try this week. Think “What is it I want, and what do I need to get there?”
Write down whatever it is you want on a piece of paper, and put it on your mirror so you see it every morning. Remind yourself of what you want every chance you have, and if you want it bad enough, you’ll never run out of motivation.