At the end of the day, when we look back at the things we have achieved, we often feel a sense of satisfaction. This state indicates that our brain’s reward system is happy. In spite of, we often have a list of important tasks we are avoiding, despite the fact that they are not going to be any easier to do tomorrow. Abandoned crucial tasks often plague us with anxiety. Considering these, how to deal with task avoidance spotlights important.
To continue with, tasks that promise long-term benefits, like better relationships and career success, remain the ones we often avoid. This stems from a tendency of our brains. It holds easier for our brains to assess the known present than to consider the unknown future. Hence our automatic system tends to place more emphasis on what is happening now, instead of what might happen in the future. In consequence, our preference to have a tasty treat today, stands out strongly.1 We find it difficult to make a sacrifice now, to enjoy a future benefit. Oftentimes, we succumb to immediate rewards like chatting with colleagues, surfing the Internet, or checking off the easy tasks in our “to-do” lists.
Following from, how to deal with task avoidance, starts with making the net benefits of taking action, to feel bigger than the net costs.
Here Holds How To Deal With Task Avoidance Scientifically
1. Make Your Future Self More Real
We can do this by painting ourselves vivid mental pictures of the future benefits of getting a task done. This motivates us to get started. For instance, we can think about the virtuous sense of satisfaction accompanying the complete execution of a task, the relief on others’ faces as we give them what they want, and the way it will feel to have aced the presentation. Think about the fact that you will make a good impression on your audience if you do well. As a result, they will come to respect your advice more, and you will feel more credible.
In agreement with, psychologist Hal Ersner-Hershfield and his colleagues discovered that when people saw a picture of themselves digitally aged, they saved more than twice as much ($172 vs. $80) when asked how much they would choose to save out of $1000.2 Shedding more light upon, imagining our future selves helps us to conceive of that future person as real. Consequently, we stand motivated to engage tasks sympathetic to that future self.
2. Promise Yourself Short-term Rewards
For challenging tasks, where efforts bear fruits only after many days or weeks, where the future benefits seem distant to be alluring, promising ourselves short-term rewards for finishing each small aspect of the task, starts us forward. This short-term reward can feature as watching an episode of a trashy TV program or a bicycle ride. Planning these treats, to reward ourselves for our efforts, helps us to stack the cost-benefit analysis in favour of moving forward, and against procrastination.
3. Check The Downside Of The Choice To Do Nothing
Considering the downside of inaction for a moment or two, often galvanizes us into constructive action; lack of composure, harmed reputation, poor sense of fulfilment. Avoiding a task may lighten your load today, but it certainly will not reduce your anxiety. In point with, weighing the steep costs of task avoidance, sets us to ideas at core of how to deal with task avoidance.
4. Tell Others About Your Plans
According to Oxford University neuroscientist, Molly Crockett, pre-commitment works better than willpower alone when people are trying to resist temptation. In plain, it is easier to resist watching cat videos when you have thought ahead and blocked several of your favourite cat video sites.3
Along with, publicly committing to getting something done, by telling others about our plans, adds a social cost to not following through, since it matters to us whether we are respected by others. We don’t want to look foolish or lazy to other people. So, tell your friends you signed up for a marathon if you are tempted to skip it.
5. Make Shared Plans
When you involve other people directly by making shared plans, you risk annoying your colleagues and friends, and lowering yourself in their eyes, if you don’t show up.
6. Ask Yourself A Series Of “Why Questions”
The technique of the “five whys,” where we patiently ask ourselves a series of “Why” questions, helps us to unearth the roots of our reticence. Accordingly, you can start by asking yourself, “why do I feel reluctant to do this?” Next, ask, “why do I think or say that?” and “Why is that a problem for me?” and so on. You may discover that fear of failure keeps you inactive. Again, you may unearth a belief in inadequacy, behind this fear. Going forward, challenge your concerns. Put before you the plenty of evidence that shows you know your stuff; projects you won for your company, colleagues eager for you to join their projects, and your contributions to the growth of your company.
So, let us think about the items in our “to-do” list that we have been avoiding for a while. As we start picturing the benefits, what will be better as a result of getting them done, and planning short-term rewards, we start gaining on ideas behind how to deal with task avoidance.
1. Caroline Webb, “How To Have A Good Day: Harnessing The Power Of Behavioural Science To Transform Your Working Life,” (New York: Crown Business, 2016) 114.
2. Ersner-Hershfield, H., Garton, M.T., Ballard, K., Samanez-Larkin, G.R., & Knutson, B. (2009). Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow: Individual differences in future self-continuity account for saving. Judgment and Decision Making, 4(4), 280–286.
3. Crockett, M.J., Braams, B.R., Clark, L., Tobler, P.N., Robbins, T.W., & Kalenscher, T. (2013). Restricting temptations: Neural mechanisms of precommitment. Neuron, 79(2), 391–401. The “temptations” deployed by the researchers were actually erotic pictures, rather than the slightly more sedate thrill of procrastination, but the mechanism is the same.
I definitely fall victim to task avoidance! I like to think that I’m a super productive person, but there are certain tasks (like making some phone calls, etc.) that really don’t take that long that I just put off and put off! Thanks for these great tips!
Hmm. I didn’t know these were ways one could deal with task avoidance. Interesting.
I like the idea of making your future self more real and telling other people about it. When others are holding you accountable, it makes it more likely for you to complete the task!
I have always found the concept of breaking down my tasks and associating the smaller steps with some sort of short term reward has been productive for me. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Some days, that reward is nothing more than 10-15 min playing with the dogs in the backyard as a break. However, it gives me something to work towards.
Accountability is a big one for me. I have a friend and we text each other daily our plans. I also love me to-do list and visual planner.
Short-term awards definitely work. It can be hard to stay focused but having a strategy helps!
Wow! I would surely try these tips out! Thank you so much for sharing!
very useful post! I often see such issues with my collegues
This is true and I am guilty that there are certain tasks that I am avoiding. Thank you for sharing these tips. I love the idea of having short-term rewards. I will also try to re-evaluate my goals and as you mentioned, make my future self more real.