I call it the pile of dishes syndrome. There is something most people do, as a habit which will reinforce your procrastinating. By changing that small brain habit, you can make a big difference in your life. I will share a secret that helped me finish a Master’s degree in History while, also having a semi-full time job and a weekly radio show as a book critique.

I will explain this profound useful way of changing a habit forever with this comparison.

For a lot of people, I presume, doing dishes or laundry, is something they do not like doing. I believe that is why we invented machines to do it instead of us.

One dish: many dishes

When you see a couple of plates to be washed and you do not feel like washing them, you will repeat to yourself many times : “I need to wash the dishes” or “I need to do the laundry”. Have you ever noticed that, every time, you repeat it, the chore seems to become more of a chore?

The computer brain

Interestingly, the brain is like an adding machine. A computer you can learn to use and use more efficiently. By changing the information you decide to input in your brain, it will change how it will react, and therefore, will be more inclined in helping give a positive output or not.

What happens?

When you tell your brain you have one dish to wash, the brain “computes” on dish. When you repeat that sentence, the brain does not understand “one dish” anymore. It adds up and understands two dishes. If you repeat the sentence over and over, the brain will add and pile nonexistent dishes in the back of your mind.

Have you noticed how, sometimes, a simple chore seems so hard to complete? Well, even if you see it only to be done ones, the brain has accumulated the chore and added it to itself as many times as you have repeated the sentence.

How to change?

The best way to change this is, if you have a small task at hand, do it fast and immediately. If you can’t, write it on your to do list and get to it when it is its time. Do you repeat what you need to do over and over or it will pile up in your brain and seem like a ton of work.

As a book critique, I needed to read at least 10 books a week, notwithstanding what I needed to read to complete my Master’s degree. I used this trick by telling my brain once that I had only 10 pages to read. And then, I would happily start. As soon as I was done, I would simply say, “just another 10 more” and so on…

When I do 150 to 200 laps in the pool and swim for 2 hours, the way I achieve it one lap at a time. As soon as I have done ten, I spend most time congratulating myself on the effort and saying “just this one”.

Diving tasks into smaller ones helps accomplish great things. Also, not repeating what you need to do over and over will help you finish faster and get rid of a big part of what is creating your procrastination.

Hope this help. Let me know.