Action is better than sidestep, completion is better than perfection
This topic has something to do with 25% of people in the world. This ratio sounds a bit high. Most people think they are the 25%, which is the topic of this article – procrastination.
There are indeed very few people who procrastinate everything, but those who never procrastinate are also rare. I also often suffer from procrastination. For example, my mother asked me to book some train tickets for her. Now it is very convenient to book tickets on the mobile app. It is actually hands-on and takes only two or three minutes to complete. I have to wait for her to remind me many times, and even go crazy, before I take action.
Sometimes I often wonder why such a small matter will be delayed. After reading the book “End Procrastination Now”, I realized that the procrastination I commit is called simple procrastination, and there are other types besides it. There are many types of procrastination. Let’s understand what procrastination really is.
“End Procrastination Now” is a masterpiece in this field. Author William. Knaus is a pioneer in cognitive therapy in the United States and a recognized authority in the treatment of procrastination. He has more than 30 years of professional experience and served as the dean of the Ellis Institute of Psychological and Behavioral Therapy. He also provides consulting services to the US military.
Although “End Procrastination Now” is not long in length, it provides a three-pronged approach for cognition, emotion, and behavior to effectively solve procrastination. The process and steps can even be directly imitated and copied in practice. I believe that after mastering it, it can effectively prevent procrastination from appearing on you again and again, which is very powerful.
What is procrastination?
The Latin origin of the word procrastination means : “to be added forward as tomorrow”.
Procrastination refers to the failure of self-regulation, the bad behavior of pushing important things and time-limited things to other times. Severe procrastination may even have strong feelings of self-blame and guilt, and will constantly deny and belittle oneself, and be accompanied by anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
The famous French philosopher Jules Beyol said: “The goal of most people is to live as inactive as possible.” The book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” mentioned elephants and elephant riders: elephants represent sensibility and are primitive humans’ spirit; Elephant riders represent human reasoning, and reasoning should drive sensibility forward. But sometimes they stay there. Why? Because both of them are lazy and don’t have enough clear instructions. They will auto-pilot, by doing things in the way they are most familiar with and accustomed to. We often use insignificant but happy things to replace our brains, such as flipping through Facebook, playing online games, and watching TV drama over and over again, which is just like auto-piloting.
Twenty-five percent of people in the world have procrastination behaviors, but simple small procrastination may not be true procrastination, just like we have compulsive behaviors, repeatedly confirming whether we have locked doors and washing hands repeatedly, but we don’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Procrastination can only be regarded as procrastination when it causes you to feel frustration, makes you have a low evaluation of yourself, and makes you feel painful. Procrastination is not a simple escape, but a collection of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Procrastination can be roughly divided into four categories:
1. Deadline delays ─ For example, you have to submit a report next Wednesday, and you have not completed your report before going to bed on Tuesday night. This kind of delay has a deadline.
2. Procrastination in personal affairs ─ this type of procrastination is that, there is no clear deadline for things to be done, so there will be endless delays. For example, if you want to study for an MBA, you have set a lot of prerequisites for yourself. And you tell yourself, maybe I don’t read the book first, and maybe I will talk to a few people who have studied MBA..etc. By the time you decide to get your MBA degree, I am afraid that you are already too old.
3. Simple delay ─ For example, my mother asked me to book a train ticket for her, and I could do this fast and easily. This is a simple task with no need to remember, but we just keep delaying. This is simply procrastination.
4. Complex procrastination comes from more complex mental activities, and may also be related to mental illness, childhood experience, perfectionism, etc. It is a more serious procrastination situation.
How do we deal with procrastination?
Remove the label “I am procrastinating”
Many people like to label themselves as patients with procrastination, so as to find a safe shelter for their procrastination behavior.
“Anyway, I just love procrastination.” “I am a severe patient with procrastination” By self-labeling this way, the behavior of procrastination seems reasonable. Rationalizing procrastination is not conducive to solving the problem of procrastination. You need to tell yourself “I have no procrastination” and then take action to solve the problem.
This is a very interesting method: don’t claim that you have procrastination, and don’t tell others that you are a procrastinator.
Overcome fear and practice the philosophy of immediate action
After tearing off the label of procrastination, you must overcome the fear of failure and pursue the philosophy of immediate action.
There is an entrepreneur who has a bad company operation. One time after he listened to Jack Welch (CEO of GE) speech, he became very excited, so he consulted Welch. “Sir, I like you very much. You are so successful; can you give me some suggestions? My company is in a mess.”
Welch told him: “When you get home, take out a piece of paper and write down the six things to do tomorrow. When you go to work, you will finish these six things one by one. One day is enough.”
The entrepreneur was dubious: “That’s enough?” He went back and wrote down six things to do the next day with the mentality of a try, and strictly implemented them on the second day. He went on doing his work on like this; he found that the efficiency had increased significantly.
In fact, there are not so many important things to do every day. For a company the size of Google, their management approach is to list a hundred things that the company needs to do, and then use this form to guide the work, reviewing who has done what work every day.
The most fundamental psychological motivation of procrastination is perfectionism. People who are perfectionists do not try to be perfect in everything, but they cares too much about how their image is in the minds of others, and are especially worried that they don’t do thing well even if they have tried their best. We often hear such arguments: “I didn’t have enough time; it only took me a day or two to complete this.”
This is like setting up an artificial barrier for oneself. It may be “insufficient time” and “unfavorable environment”. There is excuse for not doing well, and the representative ability is superb to maintain their image. In fact, not so many people in the world care about you, only you care about your performance.
I particularly like one of Facebook’s mottos: “Done is better than perfect.”
When you can work hard to finish, you have already overcome procrastination, which is better than procrastinating for perfection. In fact, when you pursue perfection, the final result is often more imperfect, but you have found enough psychological comfort for yourself.