How To Overcome Procrastination...With A Tomato?

Why We Procrastinate

Ready to make your breakthrough? Check out Breakthrough Mastery, a course with our Lead Transformation coach, Jeremy Bellotti, to learn how to get exactly what you want out of life. You can find it here.

Let’s face it…we all procrastinate.

It can be super easy to get off task and start working on something besides what we should be getting done. Some people even do productive things to procrastinate—like cleaning their house!

Still, whatever you're procrastinating on needs to get done—especially when it comes to growing your own business and becoming successful.

But why is it that we procrastinate? And what can be done about it?

We're going to go over that, starting with…

Why We Procrastinate

Why We Procrastinate

We all know what it’s like to procrastinate and put off what we should be doing, but why exactly do we do this…especially when we understand just how important it is to get done what needs to get done?

This can actually be explained with science.

When you’re faced with a task you know isn’t directly pleasurable (i.e. doing a homework assignment, starting a work project, etc.), your brain has a physical response. You don’t want to start because the same areas that activate when you experience pain activate when you’re faced with one of these tasks.

Your brain doesn’t want to do the work!

Because the brain’s initial instinct is to remove pain immediately, it wants you to switch to something that will give it relief. Typically, we’ll give it something that provides instant gratification like checking social media or watching a video. Of course, that stimulus doesn’t just disappear. That work is still there waiting for you, and you’ll have to come back around and repeat that process all over again whenever you finish whatever activity you’re using to procrastinate.

However, research has shown that once we get into the task, that perceived pain disappears. You’ve probably experienced it yourself; once you get into your homework assignment or whatever it is that you’re working on, you think to yourself, “Hey, this isn’t so bad now that I’m started!”

So, what it comes down to is finding a way to deny your brain the immediate gratification of switching away from the perceived painful task and getting into the work.

That’s where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.

(Note: Ready to make your breakthrough? Check out Breakthrough Mastery, a course with our Lead Transformation coach, Jeremy Bellotti, to learn how to get exactly what you want out of life. You can find it here.)

The Pomodoro Technique

Why We Procrastinate

Back in the 1990s, a man named Francesco Cirillo came up with a technique that would change the game and help people to defeat procrastination forever. That technique came to be known as the Pomodoro Technique. If you’re wondering what “pomodoro” is, it means “tomato.”

But why “tomato?”

Well, Francesco used a timer that was in the shape of a tomato when he first started using his revolutionary technique—hence the name.

So, what is the technique? And how can you use it?

Essentially, the Pomodoro Technique is a way of working that involves intervals of time spent working and time spent resting or doing something else.

Instead of sitting down and trying to work for a few hours straight (burning away your concentration and energy), the Pomodoro Technique involves working in short sprints that allow you to focus deeply on your work while you’re doing it—allowing you to give your brain a break while you aren’t working.

By using this technique, you’re able to concentrate better than you would have if you were to work straight through.

 A big part of the fear of work that people have that leads to procrastination is the idea of sitting down and working hard for hours on end. Big, bulky chunks of work are no fun for just about anyone.

Because of this, many people never actually get started.

So, instead of burning yourself out—or being afraid of burning yourself out—use the Pomodoro Technique to boost your concentration, lower fatigue and overcome procrastination.

How to Do It

Why We Procrastinate

Now that you know the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique, let’s talk about how to use the Pomodoro Technique to get the results that you are looking for.

The first thing that you are going to need to do is set a timer (we’ll get into where to find those timers in just a little bit).

You’re going to want to set the timer for a period of 20-25 minutes. Once the 20-25 minutes are up, you can take a 5-minute break. Some people like to do this for two or three sprints and then take a 20-minute break and resume. This is up to you.

Once you get started, you need to focus.

The whole point of the Pomodoro Technique is that you work hard and focus while the clock is ticking. The 20-25 minutes of work time should be uninterrupted and should involve you putting in the effort.

Once the 20-25 minutes are up, make sure to reward yourself.

Not only do you want to reward yourself with a short break, but you also may want to consider rewarding yourself in other ways. You may want to give yourself a (healthy) snack, watch a funny video or check your social media.

Just keep in mind that—as soon as that rest period is up—you’ll need to stop your rest period entirely and go back into work mode.

Don’t worry, though! After your work period, you’ll have another scheduled rest period!

By giving yourself permission to work and permission to rest, you’ll find that it’s easier to get going. You won’t be dreading the giant block of work that you’re used to subjecting yourself to. Instead, you just have to focus on getting 20-25 minutes done, and from there, you can take a rest period!

As far as the actual timer goes, there are a few different apps that you can choose from:

The cool thing about these apps and websites is that you don’t have to think about setting the timer over and over for work periods and rest periods. Instead, you just hit the button, and a buzzer goes off when your work or rest period is up.

Eventually, you’ll train your brain to work or rest as soon as you hear that buzzer!

Removing Interruptions During Pomodoro Sessions

Why We Procrastinate

Here’s the thing: for the Pomodoro Technique to work, you actually have to FOCUS the entire work period! You can’t go half-in or you won’t get the benefits.

So, to ensure that you get your work done, you’ll want to remove interruptions.

Here are some tips for removing the interruptions that may stand between your focused work periods and you.

1. Close All of the Unnecessary Tabs on Your Web Browser

If you’re like a lot of people, you have a ton of tabs open at any given time.

While it’s okay to use your web browser while working (after all, you may need to research), you shouldn’t have any web browsers open that aren’t directly connected to the work you’re supposed to be getting done.

Yes, this includes things like your email and other projects that aren’t relevant to what you’re working on.

2. Remove Your Phone/Put Your Phone on Silent

One of the biggest distractions to pretty much everyone alive at this point is their phone.

Even when you aren’t expecting a call or a text, you may notice the notification light on your phone blinking. This can break your concentration and get you off task.

Because of this, you need to REMOVE your phone entirely and put it on SILENT. In fact, go ahead and turn it off completely. There’s rarely anything that needs your immediate attention, and you can always check your messages in between Pomodoro sessions.

By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid the blinking lights, buzzes and temptations that get in the way of you focusing.

3. Let People Know You’re Focusing

Let it be known to everyone that you’re unavailable during your periods of focus. If you work in an office, set your boundaries. You don’t need someone coming up to you talking about the weekend when you’re in the middle of a session.

If you work from home and live with someone, let them know that you aren’t to be bothered when you’re focused. If possible, close yourself off in a separate area so that there’s a physical boundary people can see.

I've personally segmented my week so that everyone knows when the most appropriate time to contact me is.

Let people know that you’ll be taking breaks throughout the day and that they’ll need to wait until one of those breaks to get a response. Whomever it is and whatever they want, it can wait 20 minutes.

Overcome Procrastination Now...Not Later

Why We Procrastinate

Procrastination is such a powerful phenomenon that people will read this post, think it's a good idea and then they'll put off trying it until later! They'll procrastinate on working on their procrastination. 

While this technique may not be perfect for everyone, it helps tremendously with focus for a lot of people. even if you don't like this specific method, it will put you on track to researching other methods that may work better for you. 

The point is to start taking action on solving your problems now, in this moment, instead of putting off the solutions for later. 

(Note: Ready to make your breakthrough? Check out Breakthrough Mastery, a course with our Lead Transformation coach, Jeremy Bellotti, to learn how to get exactly what you want out of life. You can find it here.)