Our world is full of distractions. Instagram notifications. Alerts on your phone. Emails to respond to. Everywhere you turn these days, there’s a rabbit hole waiting for you to go down to spend (or more accurately, waste) chunks of your day.
We’ve all done it. Let a “few minutes” on social media turn into an afternoon.
What makes it so hard to focus?
For starters, your conscious mind isn’t a good multi-tasker. In fact, it’s only capable of focusing on a single task at a time. That’s why a “few minutes” of intentional distraction here and there can turn into lots of wasted time, missed deadlines, reduced productivity, or failing to reach important goals.
Most of the time, distraction is intentional. We seek out the unnecessary distraction because it’s more enjoyable than work. It’s a matter of the mind not being conditioned to dial in and focus. We've trained the mind to choose the easier route. We put off work because we fear failure, or we let the dread of completing a task stand in our way.
The mind has learned to say, “Fine, let’s not do it in the first place.”
In other words, procrastination is caused by flawed thinking. We haven’t trained the mind to be supportive, to focus, to feel a sense of confidence that drives us to get started and reach the finish line. Our minds are clouded with negative thinking that convinces us to avoid a task and distract ourselves.
That’s why hypnotherapy is such a powerful tool for overcoming procrastination.
Hypnosis empowers us to access the deeper subconscious part of the mind and speak to it directly. When we undergo hypnosis, we shut off the critical part of the mind – through relaxation and intensive focusing. In other words, hypnosis allows us to feed the subconscious new information, remove those negative thinking patterns that are holding us back, and teach the subconscious skills to improve our focus by providing the subconscious with positive information.
How Fear Prevents Us from Reaching Goals
Procrastination is something that we learn. It develops over a lifetime, and it’s often reinforced and upheld by our automatic unconscious thoughts.
For example, let’s say, exercise triggers your procrastination. Throughout the day, you wait, and wait, and wait to go to the gym, and next thing you know, you miss your workout altogether.
Sometimes, the reason is you're too busy. But why does it happen when you have all the time in the world? Why can you sometimes just not find the motivation?
The short answer: Procrastination tends to be dictated by negative, automatic thoughts – which often, we don’t even realize are even crossing our minds. We automatically tell ourselves we won’t succeed or that we won't like something. We’re overly self-critical. And then the conscious mind makes the decision to avoid the problem.
This fear and negative thinking can materialize in a few different ways. Here are some of the most common:
- Fear of Failure
When we fear we won’t succeed, we convince ourselves not to take action. We avoid failure by never trying. This fear of failure is deep rooted, but it holds massive control over our actions. When we fear failure, the subconscious goes into protection mode, and steers us away from feeling hurt or disappointment – so avoid it altogether.
Getting Past Fear of Failure: You must train the mind to accept that failure is OK. That it’s a natural part of being a human. Often, beliefs become so deeply ingrained that we might not even recognize them. Reversing and updating those beliefs can transform how you approach to-dos.
We all want to do a good job in our work and lives. But sometimes, we set the bar for success so irrationally high that it becomes unattainable. And that’s a huge disincentive for getting started or finishing a task. Again, the subconscious starts to hedge our actions, convincing us to slow down and stop. And much like that fear of failure, we choose not to do something unless it’s 100 percent perfect – so we quit.
Getting Past Perfectionism: Our thoughts can build us up (or push us down). If you struggle with perfectionism, you must retrain the mind to be your best supporter, to sing your praises and help you get things done. That begins by releasing the negative thinking patterns that say you must be perfect.
When we’re overly critical, or when we lack compassion for ourselves, we become stressed and frustrated. Our mind tells us we’re not making progress, or that it’s too hard, and next thing you know, you’re putting off tasks. This occurs in the subconscious; our minds get stuck in negative thinking loops and we tell ourselves over and over again that we’re good enough.
Getting Past Self-Criticalness: We must reframe negative thinking patterns in the mind to be more positive, to remove the critical that’s invaded our thoughts. The bad habits of thought – hearing that you’re not good enough, or other people’s efforts are better, etc. – they can derail our progress. We have to relearn self-compassion.
- A Lack of Confidence
Lacking confidence is a fear – an irrational fear – that prevents us from getting started. You don’t trust yourself. You don’t think you have the abilities. A lack of confidence can greatly affect motivation. When we’re inclined to feel that we’re not competent or capable enough, we’d rather not get started.
Getting Past a Lack of Confidence: Developing a sense of quiet confidence can be a powerful tool for overcoming procrastination. That starts with retraining our thinking, driving those negative thoughts out of the mind.
- A Distracted Mind
A lack of focus can prevent even the most accomplished from crossing to-dos off their list. The mind operates in a constant state of distraction; we’ve trained ourselves to “listen” to every conscious thought, to get side-tracked. Usually, distraction evolves from worry; we’re constantly thinking about what worries us, and thusly, we can’t focus on the project that’s at hand.
Getting Past Distraction: We must train our minds to get in the zone, to focus on the task at hand, and to quiet the “noise” in our minds. Often, this requires eliminating the root cause of the distraction – for instance, worry – and learning to empower the mind to focus intently.
- Low Energy
This cause, unlike the others mentioned, isn’t based on fear. But it’s a very real cause of procrastination. Exhaustion prevents us from focusing, and it’s often related to lifestyle factors like a lack of sleep, unhealthy eating, and/or stress.
Getting Past Low Energy: We need to pinpoint the cause of energy struggles, and improve our lifestyle to ensure we’re rested, free from stress, and feeding ourselves the right foods to stay focused.
How Hypnosis for Procrastination Works
Our automatic voices – the subconscious – controls just about everything we do. And the beliefs, ideas and motivations it holds tend to remain unchanged, regardless of the type of therapy we pursue.
But these beliefs can be unlearned. The problem is: It’s very difficult to get down to that level.
Hypnosis offers a solution. When we are hypnotized, the critical conscious part of the mind shuts off. We quiet it through relaxation, and in this state of relaxation, the subconscious mind is activated. It becomes more receptive to information, and the information we feed it sticks.
Therefore, through hypnosis, we can begin to reprogram and transform the subconscious mind. We add new information that counters the negative thoughts that cloud the unconscious. In other words, we can update this giant repository of life experiences and beliefs that controls the actions that we take.
Overcoming procrastination, though, tends to require that many areas of the subconscious are reprogrammed; we must teach the subconscious to be compassionate, supportive, confident, and kind.
That’s the goal of hypnotherapy: Working directly with the subconscious to empower the mind to make better, more helpful decisions. And when it comes to procrastination, this power of hypnosis can help us in some very concrete ways. Hypnosis empowers us to:
- Motivate Ourselves: With hypnosis, we can train ourselves to go after the biggest, most important tasks to start the day. We can do this by quieting fears of perfectionism or failure.
- Recognize Negative Thinking: Hypnosis trains the mind to be hyper-aware of our bad habits. This awareness empowers us to turn negative automatic thoughts into thoughts we can only use manually.
- Build Confidence: Overcoming fear starts with the subconscious. Thusly, using hypnotherapy, we can begin to reestablish our sense of confidence and self-worth, and empower ourselves to be our No. 1 cheerleader.
- Update How We Reward Ourselves: Distraction is often a reward, and one that we’ve come to enjoy more than work. Through hypnotherapy, we can empower the mind to prefer and thrive on getting things accomplishment, and reduce the enjoyment we get out of distractions.
- Reducing Negative Lifestyle Factors: Numerous studies have found hypnotherapy to be effective for a range of unhealthy lifestyle factors. Hypnosis can help you sleep better, overcome overeating or sugar/carb addictions, to alleviate stress effectively, and to calm anxiety.
- Relearning How We Work: Procrastination starts in seconds. We have that initial thought to not take action. Utilizing hypnosis, we can train the mind to take action in the moment – to empower our sense of initiative.
The problem with traditional behavioral therapy and psycho-analysis: These methods don’t focus on removing and releasing these unconscious and automatic root causes. In other words, we might be able to push and teach ourselves to reduce procrastination, but those inherent fears, beliefs and feelings are still held in place.
That’s why it’s so difficult for people to kick the procrastination habit to the curb. There will always be that “little voice in their heads” saying wait, or you’re not good enough to try, or you won’t succeed. Hypnotherapy can effectively retrain the brain to completely tune out that voice, and further, turn that voice into a powerful ally in getting things done.
Hypnosis for Procrastination: Does It Actually Work?
The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been researched for decades, and today, it’s quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of behavioral research. In fact, The Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and even Stanford offer hypnosis and hypnotherapy as complementary services.
What does this mean? For one, there’s a growing body of evidence of hypnotherapy’s efficacy. Research has shown that hypnosis is effective for pain management, reducing the pain of childbirth, reducing anxiety and depression, and helping curb bad habits like overeating, smoking and substance abuse.
Research does also suggest that hypnosis can be a tool for helping us overcome procrastination.
For example, a recent 2012 study, examined how hypnosis could help 60 patients with generalized anxiety disorder overcome procrastination and reduce overall stress and anxiety levels. After the trial, researchers noticed patients scored lower on the Lay Procrastination Scale, suggesting hypnosis may offer help.
Additionally, a study in 1975 found that hypnosis helped college students – a group that’s overwhelming affected by procrastination, i.e. up to 50 percent – curb procrastination. And another study, conducted in the late-1960s, found that hypnosis empowered students to be more focused readers, improving reading times by one-fourth.
In short, there's a wide body of research that has shown the surprising science behind hypnosis.
Get Things Done: Stop Being A Procrastinator Today
The good news: You can get started working on procrastination hypnosis today – in your home. You don’t need to work with a hypnotherapist (although that is certainly an option).
How can you get started? With self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis for procrastination follows a similar technique to traditional hypnosis. Essentially, you follow a script designed to evoke the deep relaxation of hypnosis, and once you reach this deep, trance-like state, you provide yourself with positive affirmations to begin reprogramming your subconscious.
All self-hypnosis requires is a quiet place, a few minutes, and a procrastination hypnosis script.
Another option: You can listen to a procrastination hypnosis recording. This is similar to having a one-on-one session with a hypnotherapist. You follow a guided relaxation technique to enter into hypnosis. Once you’ve successfully reached hypnosis, the positive affirmations are delivered by the script.
Start your journey today. GraceSpace offers a range of tools for teaching yourself hypnosis – from guided recordings, to guided scripts. Become a member today and start your hypnosis journey.