3 Simple Self Discipline Tips To Beat Procrastination

Sometimes little changes can have big impact on your life. In today’s article I will present you 3 simple techniques that will improve your self discipline. Those 3 are:

  • 10 Minute rule
  • 3 Magic questions
  • Ultimate goal VS immediate desire

10 Minute rule
The basic idea is: If you have to complete some task decide that you will work on it just for 10 minutes to see how it goes. You can stop or continue after that, but you will commit yourself to the task for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes have passed you will usually find out that you actually want to keep working on the task. You will notice you are already producing results and the law of inertia will keep you going. Once you get started its easy to keep going.
For procrastinator the hardest part is to get started on the task and the “10 minute rule” will help you vastly with that. You won’t be overwhelmed with the enormous task on your plate anymore, you only have to work on it for 10 minutes. Sometimes that might even be enough to get the whole thing done! People who procrastinate can sometimes spend five hours to procrastinate on a task and in the end it turns out it only takes 10 minutes to complete it.
The 10 minute rule will help you get started and usually you’ll find out that you are still working on the task when the initial 10 minutes have elapsed. According to studies it takes about 10 minutes to get absorbed in the task you are doing. What if you stop after 10 minutes? That’s fine, you completed the first part now you can move to another. Take another 10 minutes and see what you can do now! Rome was not built in one day. You can only eat an elephant one bite at the time. Consider 10 minutes as one bite and slowly you will get even the biggest, most overwhelming task (your elephant) done that way.

Stopwatch

Stopwatch

3 Magic questions
The second technique to improve your self discipline is called “3 magic questions”. Every time you catch yourself procrastinating ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Where am I now and what am I doing?
  2. What do I want to do?
  3. How will I feel when I do it?

The point of this exercise is to change your focus from your current distraction to the task you want to get done. And one way to change your focus is to ask yourself the right questions.
With first question you will become aware what you are doing right now, that you are procrastinating, not getting anything done and you will feel bad about yourself.
Example: Where am I now and what am I doing? I’m behind my computer surfing the web, looking at lolcats funny pictures.

Next you will focus on what you want to get done. Think about every detail, get yourself into the state of doing it.
Example: What do I want to do? I want to finish writing new article on my blog and publish it.

With the last question think about all the positive results you will get from accomplishing your tasks. They might not be immediate, but make them seem like you already have them. See what you will see when you get it done, and try feel physically in your body as if you would already finish your task.
Example: How will I feel when I do it? I will feel great, i will get the job done and get the valuable information I’m putting to this article to my readers.

Ultimate goal VS immediate desire
When we procrastinate we are usually in inner conflict between the ultimate goal that we want to achieve by completing our task and the immediate desire that we can get right now. For example, you want to exercise, but you are procrastinating to get to the gym. The ultimate goal is to lose 10 pounds. The immediate desire is to watch youtube videos and browse facebook while eating a cupcake. What you have to do here is to switch your immediate desire with ultimate goal. You have to make your ultimate goal your immediate desire. You do that by changing your focus to the positive results you will get by completing your task. They might not be instant but you have to ask yourself: “At this point would I rather be slim, fit and healthy or would I rather see another funny video on youtube?” This way you make your ultimate goal more real. Ask more questions about how completing your goal will positively affect your life and you will get more and more compelled to do it now. Make your ultimate goal seem like instant gratification.

These 3 simple techniques will greatly improve your self discipline. Try it next time you catch yourself procrastinating!

  1. You can only eat an elephant one bite at the time. Couldn’t be more true.

  2. Good stuff Andrej, I just purchased the Action enforcer this week and it has really helped me. It’s $27 http://e1kad.com/r/action-enforcer

  3. Hi Andrej, what about linking the original source of the ideas? I totally agree that these simple three tips are very useful but it’s not the first time I’ve heard about them.

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