Perspective. Everything is influenced by our perspective, even and especially COVID and quarantine.
You say to-ma-toe. I say to-ma-ta. You see the glass half full. I see it half empty.
Perspective shapes our world in so very many ways that we’re not aware of.
We don’t think about how we pronounce certain words, they just roll off our tongue.
Perspective shapes our views even on handwashing.
As we continue with the COVID online grind, I’m gritting my teeth as I can’t get home safely from Kenya to Canada to see my kids. One of the issues, with the ongoing grind, is procrastination starts to escalate.
Excuses, boredom, denial, feeling blah and flat, all contribute to procrastinating about getting stuff done. And getting stuff done (in moderation of course as we need to give ourselves grace) can ironically be the very medicine for NOT feeling bored, in denial, blah and flat.
So let’s jump into an easy way to use your perspective to dash procrastination.
Turns out how you feel in the moment is extremely important to your motivation. If you’re not feeling great, that exacerbates procrastination. Add that to the fact that immediate gratification drives our behaviour, as in we lean heavily towards doing what’s good for us in the moment at the expense of what’s good for us in the future (otherwise known as our present bias), and well, we have a recipe for a large pot of procrastination. So says Katy Milkman on the Choicology podcast, Season 5 Episode 6 with Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier and Nancy Strahl (link below).
Katy and her guests suggest two ways to overcome our procrastination and present bias with our perspective.
Katy talks about her spoonful of sugar theory (don’t cha just love that name?!), whereby, according to the classic Mary Poppins song, everything goes down easier with a taste of sugar.
In our case, when we’re trying to overcome procrastination and present bias, this means bundling or combining a longer term benefit with a short term one. I’ll share some examples with you in a minute, but first, the second way to overcome present bias and procrastination.
2. Make it fun
Now don’t go all cogery on me, I’m talking about strategic fun.Research shows, says Katy on the same podcast, that if something is fun, we’re wayyyy more likely to stick with it.
So give present bias and procrastination the push and change up your perspective by making way for temptation bundling AND fun. Yes it’s a 2:1. Put them both together and it’s even better. Here are some examples from the podcast:
- If working out is hard for you, bundle it with something you like doing and is fun for you, like listening to your favourite podcast or music. Bonus points if you ONLY listen to said podcast or music while working out.
- If you know you need to have a difficult conversation with a difficult person, have the conversation in a place you look forward to and enjoy such as your favourite restaurant.
- Apparently people who have their mobility damaged through a stroke can have a tough time exercising said appendage(s) and will tend to use just their functioning side. This is not good for recovery. The podcast mentions a cool sounding video (enter fun) game that helps stroke survivors exercise their weaker limbs.
- The podcast interviews a man who had to take medication for a serious illness for 1 ½ years that had very bad side effects. He deliberately bundled taking the medication with watching movies he was really looking forward to. This made the 1 ½ year side effect grind much easier to swallow.
It’s time to curb your procrastination
Sometimes the face of procrastination is actually needing to give ourselves grace and rest, especially during these hairy times. When it’s not though and you really do need to get something done, bundle it up with something that is fun and enjoyable and you’ll push procrastination to the curb.
For those times when you need some grace, reflect on Morgan Harper Nichols’ inspirational post.
And when it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, you now have two new tools, bundling and fun, to overcome present bias and procrastination to turn your perspective inside out and get on with it.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Talking about flipping the switch on perspective, check out this hilarious mom acting like her toddler and her toddler’s reactions.
- What could be more procrastinating prone than end of life planning? Check out this blog post from my favourite folks at Willow for their take on procrastination and download their handy dandy procrastination checklist.