Solve Procrastination with Temptation Bundling
I was reading through Brian Tracy’s new book Master Your Time Master Your Life, and I came across a statement that really sums up procrastination – “procrastination is the thief of life”. Approximately 20% of people will chronically avoid doing important tasks in favour of meaningless distractions.
If you look at successful people, a trait that they all share is an ability to not procrastinate. They know that doing the important tasks are essential to achieving success. They have mastered eliminating the non-value added tasks from their life and prioritizing the tasks that are directly correlated achieving their goals.
Eliminating procrastination in your life is essential to your ability achieve your goals. It comes down to your self-control and your daily habits.
One method you can try to reduce procrastination is to focus on making the rewards of taking action on your important tasks more immediate. This is a strategy known as temptation bundling, created by behavioural economics research done at the University of Pennsylvania. The strategy states that you bundle a behaviour that is good for you in the long run with a behaviour that feels good in the short run.
The best way to explain temptation bundling is with a story from the professor who named the method, Katy Milkman. Like many of us, Katy had a goal to exercise more. Also, like many of us, when she got home from work she found herself too drained from her day to exercise. One day, all she wanted to do when she got home was to relax and read The Hunger Games. She consciously made a rule that would ensure she stayed focused on her goal of exercising. She decided that she was only allowed to read if she went to the gym first.
Temptation bundling is essentially to bundle behaviours you are tempted to do with the behaviours that you should do to achieve your goals, but which you often procrastinate. Create your temptation bundle by writing down all the things you want and enjoy doing in one list – creating your “good for you” list. In a second list, write down the things you should be doing to achieve your goals, but which you often procrastinate – creating your “feels good” list. Then match something from your good for you list with something from your feels good list. Commit to completing the good for you task before you can indulge in the feels good reward.
Don’t allow procrastination to be the thief of your life.