Originally posted in our September 2022 Top of Mind Newsletter.
Thinking about the value of mind-wandering might lead you to reflect on times you’ve been guilty of procrastination. Everyone does it, but why? And perhaps more importantly, how can we combat it?
In this Harvard Business Review article from 2016, we see a simple yet effective outline of how to get over procrastination. From simple tips like committing publicly to achieving a goal to visualizing how you will feel once a task is completed, the author gives us ways to reframe a future task as something worth working on.
From there, she also highlights ways to make future tasks feel more achievable. Namely, tricking yourself into thinking the task will not take too much effort or time by breaking it into smaller steps. Tying the first step to a reward can be a good motivator, too. Put simply; our brains want to default to quick, achievable tasks that are low effort. So, we have to convince ourselves that important, larger projects are worth starting. As the author says, “be kind to yourself. Recognize that your brain needs help if it’s going to be less short-sighted.”
When we reflect on the power our unconscious minds have over us, it’s important to remember that brains want to keep us safe, secure, and happy, but they do not always think long-term. That is where we have a lot of power to focus on the future and set ourselves up for success.