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Have you ever been so overwhelmed by all the things you need to do that you couldn’t face all of it and instead ignored those tasks with the help of procrastination? I bet you did. If I know you well enough, I even dare to say that you have been in this situation more than once. So today I’m going to teach you how to talk yourself into doing work or, in other words, how to trick your brain to focus on the dreaded tasks.
Let’s get one thing clear, I am guilty of procrastinating when I really shouldn’t, and I’m definitely guilty of leaving important things for the last minute. But one thing that helps me the most in these situations and that actually makes me a somewhat productive person is my ability to actually talk myself into doing the work I need to do. Yeah, I basically know how to kick myself into a butt and get some shit done, to put it simply.
It isn’t easy and it isn’t achieved by one try but it’s definitely possible, and let me tell you that it’s life-changing. Think how good it would be to know how to motivate yourself to do something without reading motivational quotes or scrolling through Pinterest – you can scroll through mine here if you wish – while searching for productivity tips every single time. You just say a few words to yourself and voila! You are actually doing something productive for once!
So buckle up, people, because I’m about to tell you all you need to know about the art of talking yourself into doing something. I should probably note that the things I’m about to tell you can be applied to any life situations, even when trying to persuade yourself into not buying that chocolate bar or going to the event you want but are afraid to. Hence why this is life-changing. A life-changing magic of talking yourself into doing something if you will.
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Step one: acknowledging the things you need to do
Let’s be real here, you aren’t going to motivate yourself if you won’t be entirely sure what you’re motivating yourself for. So the first thing you need to do is sit down and think about what you really need to do. Don’t overwhelm yourself with every task you need to do, focus on the main ones.
For example, I need to write an essay that is due in 5 days. The first thing my brain will do is say that I can do it later. But the goal here is to make your brain understand that you need to do start writing this essay now. I like to say the things out loud to make it more real, let’s say. So once you identify the task that you need to do, say it out loud. In my case: “I need to start writing the essay”.
Don’t neglect the power of your voice. We, as humans, have a lot of on our minds and only thinking about the things you need to do is not enough. It’s very likely that they will get lost in the sea of other thoughts. But when you say something out loud, you bring that thought to life, it becomes real and alive.
Therefore – look at me being all smart and all -, you make that thought more important than others making your brain understand the importance of it. Plus, that voice in the back of your head will most likely acknowledge the need to do this task too.
Step two: picturing the end results
Now that you said the things you need to do out loud, you need to picture the end results of this task to shush the voice in your head that will try to convince you that you don’t need to do it right now. Create a picture in your head of how it will feel once you’ll do this task and the picture of what it’ll look like if you won’t.
Going back to the essay example, I will explain to myself that if I start that essay now, I will be able to finish it sooner, I will have less stress, and I will have more time for other tasks or my hobbies – read: binge watching fave tv shows. If I don’t start writing that essay, and if I listen to that voice in the back of my head, I will do it last minute, I will create stress for myself, I will not have time for my hobbies, and I will feel awful about my decision.
I think you get the idea which picture is more appealing. It might sound a bit juvenile right now when you’re reading this but I’m telling you that picturing the end results and actually saying things out loud makes a huge difference when making decisions.
So after saying what you need to do, start picturing in which situation you want to be in more. After you have a strong idea about how you want this task to end, it’s time to start fighting with your own mind.
Step three: mentally minimising the workload
This is where the most back away from their tasks and instead do what that little naughty voice says to them. At this stage, your mind is fighting a battle. One side of it wants to tackle down that work while the other desperately tries to convince you that you still have lots of time left to do the work next time.
Your mind is scared of the amount of pressure and work it will need to do, so it starts protesting. What you need to do is calm it down a bit by mentally minimising the workload.
Don’t scare away your brain by picturing all the things you will need to do to complete the task or how much time it will take and what you could be doing instead of it. It’s a NO zone. As soon as you notice that your brain is trying to show you what a hassle it will be, stop it right there, and calmly explain how it’s not that bad. Minimise the work you need to do so your brain won’t freak out or bail on you.
Think of your brain as a child who doesn’t want or is afraid of going to the doctor. You need to coax a bit and say things like “it will be alright, there is nothing to fear”, “it won’t take long, the doctor is only going to check your eyes and that’s all”, and etc. Trick your brain into thinking that this task is nothing big and that it won’t take very long to complete but it’s necessary to do it, just like an annual
dentist’s medical check-up.
Step four: setting a reward system
Now that your brain is all calm and ready to do that little task, you need to motivate it a bit to work more efficiently. Set a reward system to not lose your brain’s attention in the whole process.
Plan what you’ll do after you’ll complete the task. Maybe it will be a movie or an outing. Or maybe you’re feeling fancier, and you’ll cook something super delicious for yourself. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s exciting and that your brain will want to look forward it.
Also, plan out little breaks if the task takes more than an hour to complete. Take few 5 – 10 minutes breaks with a set reward for each. I usually work for 25 minutes, then spend 5 minutes catching up on social media or simply watching out of the window to give my brain a complete break. Reward system is time-tested, and it works wonderfully when motivating yourself to do something important.
Step five: starting to do the work
Now, you are all set to do the work, so tell yourself to get off that sofa or bed, and start doing what you said to your brain you’ll do. It’s no secret that we are
good fantastic at talking ourselves into procrastination. We say all the right arguments that make us believe that we actually have enough time to do something more fun instead of doing the tasks that aren’t as fun.
So why not use the exact same system when talking yourself into doing the work or talking yourself out of procrastination?
Do all these steps above – in order, of course – and you’ll be amazed at how good you’re at convincing your brain, mind to do something that they are dreading. Remember, everything is all in your head, and guess what? You are in control of your brain, so start believing your abilities and show those brains who’s the boss here.You are in control of your brain, so start believing your abilities and show those brains who's the boss here. Click To Tweet
Do you find it difficult to convince yourself to do work?
What do you do to motivate yourself?