The Simple Trick That Will Stop You From Procrastinating

Katie Sweeney

We’ve all been there: It’s the end of a long day at work and you were planning on going to the gym, but instead you go home and catch up on Orange Is the New Black. Although you know that going to the gym is good for you, you procrastinate and choose to do something that is instantly gratifying instead, like resting on the couch with a favourite television show. Ever wonder how we can convince ourselves not to participate in this sort of procrastination? That’s exactly what Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, set out to solve with a recent study.

In it she proves that the simple way to stop this sort procrastination is to combine the dreaded task with something that is instantly gratifying. Why not watch True Detective while you are working out? And only let yourself watch it when you are at the gym? This technique, what Milkman refers to as "temptation bundling," allows you “to get the short-term benefits of indulging and the long-term benefits that result from practicing good habits consistently.” Thus, the best way to stop procrastinating doing a mundane task is to do it while doing something else that is pleasurable. Listen to that podcast while organising your kitchen, get a pedicure while answering overdue work emails, or fold laundry while watching your favourite show.

Want to learn other ways to prevent procrastination? Refer to Lee Laughton’s book, Stop Procrastination! How to Set Goals, Implement Daily Routines, and Increase Productivity!

Have you ever tried temptation bundling? Would it work for you?

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