Do you know those things you need to do, but you would rather push it forward, until you can no longer delay it? Yeah, this is called procrastination, in other words it’s postponing or pushing forward activities that were scheduled and replacing them with others of secondary importance.
According to Pies Steel of the University of Calgary, Haskayne, 1 in 5 people have chronic procrastination problems that result in jobs loss, jeopardize relationships, increases alcohol consumption, generate financial losses and even health problems.
We can say that laziness is procrastination out of control and whatever needs to be done, is not. Still according to Pies Steel, 95% of people experience some sort of procrastination, even if sporadically. What few know, however, is that procrastination is a psychological phenomenon that can be circumvented and overcome. But before we get to that, we need to understand how does the "Cycle of Procrastination" works.
Every time you think about an unpleasant activity, that you set yourself to do, but you really do not want to it, you automatically activate an area of your brain associated with the feeling of pain (insular cortex). Your brain, which is programmed to minimize the feeling of pain and discomfort, will try to nullify this stimulus by diverting your attention to other things. This distraction is what takes us from the undesired activity into a state of temporary satisfaction, thus creating the Cycle of Procrastination.
The good news is that recent research shows that after a few moments after starting an unwanted activity, that feeling of discomfort drastically diminishes, becoming often imperceptible. Consequently, if we find a way to make our brain cooperate with us, focusing in what needs to be done, without getting immediately distracted, our chances of carrying a whole task ahead is high.
Well, one has already thought about it and developed a mental technique that leads us to get around the Cycle of Procrastination. More precisely, Francesco Cirillo, at the late 80's tested a technique wih his students in a University. The technique was called "Pomodoro". The name "Pomodoro" (tomatoes in Italian), is because of a tomato-shaped timer, used when a technique was first applied.
The Pomodoro technique, has been presenting extraordinary results and works especially well when it comes to long or unwanted activities. The methodology is simple: reduce an activity in smaller pieces, timed, called "Pomodoros", with duration of 25 minutes each. Why 25 minutes? Well, according to Francesco, we are all able to stay focused for at least 25 minutes. But for this technique to work, it is required to follow 3 golden rules:
• In these 25 minutes, remove any distraction;
• During this time keep focus on the activity;
• After the period is completed, create a reward for yourself.
Reward is a big part of the magic. It conditions your brain bare an unpleasant feeling since there will be a reward and relaxation offered after the end of the period. So, seek a relaxed state by doing something you like, like having coffee, checking your Facebook page, or even stretching, chatting with someone, or anything else that relaxes you.
Well, time to try it out. What do you have to lose?