When it comes to procrastinating, I think this is the most familiar problem. How many times have procrastinators chosen TV, movies, video games, Facebook, or Netflix instead of doing their essay for class? More insidious is when we do good things instead of the task we should be doing. At work I always have tasks I prefer over others, and sometimes the only thing motivating me to do the crummy jobs was the fact that I was being paid to do them. This doesn’t apply as well at home or in our personal lives. Even the idea that we’re paying for our courses isn’t motivation enough for us to do our work sometimes. This is all because of the lie we believe that this other more fun thing is more rewarding than doing the crummy task.
I was starting this lie in the face last week. Jack was down for a nap and I could watch TV or clean. The day before I felt AWESOME after doing some cleaning. As I was tempted to watch TV I remembered that this idea that I would feel better if I watched TV instead of cleaning was totally false. TV would be fun right now, but then I’d be left with the icky feeling that I avoided what I really needed to do AND left with the mess.
Until you’ve learned through experience that Doing The Thing is, in fact, more rewarding than Not Doing The Thing, it’s so much harder to believe that not doing It isn’t better. It’s also easy to quickly forget.
The way I deal with these lies is to remember the times I Did The Thing and felt GREAT. It’s an exercise that requires intentional thinking, but I find is fairly useful. The other thing that helps (I talk about this in my ebook) is building momentum.
How do you battle this lie?