In last week's article, we talked about the first piece of the procrastination puzzle, "how to start." We used "no-brainer," the minimum you could do to move a task or project from its halt state.
The magical thing about that is you tell yourself that you will work for only 5 mins, but you never do for only 5 mins. And once you are in the zone, you want to keep working.
That's the easy part. You start working for five minutes, they become ten and then 15, and suddenly your phone vibrate. You leave the task at hand and get sucked into whatever popped up on your smartphone screen.
Later, you try again. Another 5 mins and in the 8th min, your girlfriend asks you something, or your phone rings a second time.
I think it's clear where I'm going with this. I can list dozens of scenarios where you are trying to do X, but Y happened and interrupted your flow. If you think about it, procrastination could not only be "not starting" but also starting, however, getting continuously interrupted.
Now, what could interrupt us vary from person to person as we live in different environments. But we probably can split the distractions into two categories:
Like your girlfriend, your pet, or worse of all, your smartphone, this type of interruption is actually the easier one to deal with (most of the time).
If you work while watching tv, or your phone is sitting on your desk, you already sentenced yourself to procrastinate. These devices became an essential part of our daily life that we ignore how much distraction they cause.
A big part of solving our procrastination problem is eliminating this distraction, which I believe 99% of the time, it's within our control to do so.
This is the tricky type of distraction. When we have the perfect environment, we still fail to stay focused and finish what we need to do.
You start working, and suddenly you find yourself doodling, or staring outside the window, or just trying to find anything to distract you.
Fighting this kind of self-distraction can't be done by just removing yourself from an environment and putting yourself in another.
Our brain is addicted to dopamine, a chemical messenger our nervous system uses to send messages between nerve cells.
Dopamine is also called the happy drug, for a good reason. Whenever you eat something you like, see someone you love, or have sex, your brain showers in dopamine.
There is no harm in that, but the problem is when scrolling social media, getting likes when you post, and watching funny TikTok videos also makes your brain hit you with a dose of dopamine.
Now the brain is hooked, and whenever you try to focus on doing work -which is way less attractive to the brain than a 15-sec video on TikTok- your brain will go on strike, forcing you to start looking for your phone.
Solving this kind of internal distraction means going to rehab. Quitting the "cheap" dopamine of social media or whatever your brain is hooked on. Once you realize your drug, you need to go on dopamine detox and reduce or eliminate the triggers.
As I said, the first step is to pay attention and recognize your "enemy," the external and internal ones. Once you know exactly what is distracting you and why, you can start designing your environment to be literally in-distractable.