Procrastination doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It’s merely a coping mechanism for you to deal with negative emotions related to the task. These feelings could stem from self-doubt, negative self-talk, anxiety, or even low self-confidence. Or you might just think the job is going to be tedious, stressful, or difficult. Therefore, you’ll do anything else to avoid it.
Find out why you’re avoiding the task:
“Often, just by taking action, by doing something about the situation can relieve the stress and help correct the situation.”
– Catherine Pulsifer
- What negative emotions do you have involving the task?
- Is it too daunting? Too risky? Too difficult?
- What are you telling yourself when you think of doing the task?
You know that not doing what you need to will affect your life in a negative way, yet you keep dodging it. Therefore, this is self-sabotage! So, how do you stop this detrimental habit?
Here are some tips to help you defeat procrastination.
1. Overpower procrastination by setting yourself up to win
“Following-through is the only thing that separates dreamers from people that accomplish great things.”
– Gene Hayden
If you’re a chronic procrastinator putting things off has become second nature to you. Your subconscious expects you to burn the daylight till the pressure is really on to finish. You’ve entrenched this habit into your brain, so it’ll be difficult to break.
Make procrastination impossible or at least much more challenging.
First, get rid of all temptations to procrastinate. Physically remove the remote, your phone, and any of your favorite electronics from the room. Because if you hear a buzz or notification, you’ll pick it up and slip down the rabbit hole of wasted time.
So, be strict and make sure that doesn’t happen! Your goals are on the line!
2. Demolish procrastination by knowing what you need to do
“If you procrastinate when faced with a big difficult problem… break the problem into parts, and handle one part at a time.”
– Robert Collier
Write out the most important things you need to do today. Break down daunting tasks into bite-sized chunks. Then write the steps you need to take to finish each project. This way, you’ll always know what you need to do and when.
Don’t try to multitask because your results will suffer for it. So, make a conscious effort to do one thing at a time until it’s finished. Only then can you move on to the next project.
3. Be willing to create crappy work
“A primary reason people don’t do new things is because they want to do them perfectly – first time. It’s completely irrational, impractical, not workable – and yet, it’s how most people run their lives. It’s called The Perfection Syndrome.”
– Peter McWilliams and John Roger
If you have a fear of creating imperfect work, then chances are you won’t finish much. Moreover, this guarantees that your worries come true because it’s impossible to succeed if you can’t produce.
Start working, despite the quality of your output.
If you avoid starting on your task, as time ticks by, your stress levels will rise. So, you’re not doing yourself any favors by dragging your feet, especially if there’s a deadline involved.
Even if you work for hours and the result is horrible, at least you have something you can fine-tune and finish! So, at least get something done, then you can filter out the garbage and polish it to completion.
4. Use a time tracker and a timer app
Using a time tracker and timer has been life-changing for me. The time tracker shows me what I’ve been doing with my time. The timer creates a sense of urgency, so I don’t slack off. Also, this is infinitely valuable if you work for yourself.
It makes you kind of feel like your “boss” is watching you and making sure you’re working. It really helps to conquer procrastination. Furthermore, it shows me how productive I’ve been (or haven’t been). Seeing these results are motivating, and they inspire me to do better next time.
According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So, give yourself a deadline; otherwise, it’ll take forever to finish.
5. Avoid procrastination with a “To Do LATER” list
While you’re working, your subconscious will remind you of other random tasks to throw you off course. But, don’t fall for this trick! Keep a notebook nearby and write down those tasks but don’t do them. Tell yourself you’ll work on those later and to let them be for now.
6. Make the task easier
Another way you can set yourself up to succeed is to strategically place the items you’ll need to do the activity. For example, if you want to teach yourself how to paint, then put all the supplies you need in an easy-to-reach area. Then it’ll be much easier to get started.
Also, clear out all the clutter from your workspace. Research shows that clutter will restrain your productivity.
7. Give yourself some free procrastination time
Don’t work yourself to the bone. Take breaks and allow your mind to relax and wander. Dabble on unimportant things for a while. Or you could work on your “To Do Later” list, but set your timer to let you know when to get back to work. When you take breaks, you’ll find that you’re more productive when you return to your project.
8. Help out the “future you”
“A year from now, you may wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb
Realize that the “future you” is still “you.” So, don’t screw yourself over with procrastination. Instead, do something that will help the “future you” out.
So, what can you do today that’ll make your future life easier?
Reward yourself when you complete the project because you deserve it!
In the end, you don’t have to fall for procrastination because you can defeat it! The hardest part is starting the task. If you can get over that hurdle, you can easily keep it until you complete it! Even if it’s terrible at first, it’ll be much easier and less intimidating to keep going until you’re finished.
“He who is begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin.” – Horace
How have you overcome the urge to put things off? I wish you a massively productive day. Now, get to work! 🙂
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