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How To Beat The Procrastination Brain Battle
One in five people are chronic procrastinators – are you?
We know that procrastination can be one of the biggest blocks to success, but what really happens to your body and your brain when you put a task off, despite it being top of your priority list?
The Battle Of The Brain
‘How is it possible that, if one judges an action to be the best, one will do anything other than this action?’ – Socrates
When you procrastinate, it lights up two opposing sides of your brain: the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system.
Prefrontal cortex – this is the part of your brain that is future-focused and thinks about your long-term goals. Your prefrontal cortex is considered as your diary and planning tool. It wants you to succeed and reach your goals.
The limbic system – also known as the ‘lizard brain‘, is the region that focuses on immediate reward. If your limbic brain picks up that you’re not fully engaged and enjoying the task, it will go into overdrive to immediately repair your mood.
If you’re procrastinating, then your limbic system is winning the brain battle. It has taken over and found a way for you to do what it thinks feels good, e.g., not doing the task.
Why Does The Limbic System Win?
The limbic system is one of the oldest parts of the brain, whereas the prefrontal cortex is relatively new and weak. For example, the limbic system will work subconsciously; it’s automatic, whereas you have to really have to push your prefrontal cortex into gear to get it to work.
As a result, your limbic system is the dominant part of the brain, which means that procrastination will often win when it comes to unenjoyable or difficult tasks.
How To Prevent The Procrastination Brain Battle
1. Create a reward system
Your limbic system loves an immediate reward, and you can use this to your advantage when you procrastinate. Before starting the task, remind yourself of how good it feels when you get a task done and how bad it feels when you procrastinate. Once you tap into these feelings, your brain can remember that procrastination doesn’t make the unpleasantness go away.
2. Choose curiosity over procrastination
When you see the starting signs of procrastination, be curious. Try to engage in the emotions, reactions and physical sensations you feel and look into them with curiosity rather than judgement. It may help you to understand what is causing you to procrastinate as well as catching it early.
3. Build a positive habit loop
A habit loop consists of a trigger, behaviour and reward. For procrastination, the trigger is to work; the behaviour is to become disengaged; the reward is the relief of not working.
However, if you can reframe one of these actions, you can turn procrastination into productivity. For example, the trigger is work; the behaviour is to engage with the work and be curious about how you feel. Finally, the reward is recognising how unhealthy and unhelpful procrastination is and how good it feels when you can tick that task off your list.
The stronger you create the habit loop, the stronger your prefrontal cortex can become, which can help you overcome the procrastination brain battle.
Beat The Brain Battle
If negative habit loops have taken over, or you feel unable to break out of the procrastination cycle, then hypnotherapy can work wonders. Hypnotherapy works to rewire the brain pathways to create positive thought patterns and behaviours. To find out how hypnotherapy can help you to ditch procrastination, get in touch for a free consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free call.