What is Procrastination?
In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favor of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing. Procrastination is simply a word that represents a feeling. It is a feeling stimulated by an ancient, outdated mental adaptation. You no longer have to hunt or gather, at least not the old-fashioned way!
You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything. We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.
The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. As the days roll steadily by, our fears grow larger, not smaller, until they eventually lead to a burial ground for unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential. All the time, our procrastination can exact a steep toll on our finances, career, business, relationships and health.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you know the pain and stress that comes with putting things off. Although you may have the desire to accomplish something, getting the motivation to do it is a different matter. Fortunately, overcoming your procrastination is easy to do when you put your mind to it. Procrastination is an easy way that all of us get stuck. And yet, we may not even realize we’re doing it.
Be more efficient!
Of course people come up with all sorts of creative reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time. Too busy. Too broke. Too stressed. Too risky. Too uncertain. Too inexperienced. Too old. Too young. Too disruptive.
Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do — you have the talent and skills to accomplish them — you just avoid starting them for one reason or another. Suddenly, the due date looms nearer and nearer, but you continually put off the work until it’s midnight the night before it’s due! We’re all guilty of procrastinating, whether it’s on a project, on cleaning our bathroom, on planning our event, or on basic tasks, like finally going grocery shopping.
What is often harder than actually completing the task is figuring out how to stop procrastination before it starts. Procrastination is almost always based on some kind of fear. Our minds make all our future tasks big and scary. So we procrastinate. We try to avoid the pain that we know is surely going to come.
The key to controlling this destructive habit is to recognize when you start procrastinating, understand why it happens (even to the best of us), and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better.
Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.
Don’t let procrastination take over your life.
How to Overcome Procrastination
- Recognize that you are procrastinating.
- Find the reasons why you are procrastinating. The words we use are powerful. There’s a subtle — but important — difference between asking “why do I always procrastinate?” and “why am I procrastinating on this task?”
- Make a smart to-do list by including only the items that you’re avoiding, not the ones you know you’ll do anyway.
- Break the task down to lessen the sense of being overwhelmed. Once you start to enjoy an accomplishment or two, you’re more likely to keep going and finish.
- Planning: visualizing the process helped focus attention on the steps needed to reach the goal.
- Productivity requires radical elimination. It may seem selfish, but you’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else!
- Focus on the success you will achieve and the joy you will feel.
- Finish what you start. Concentrate all your energy and intensity without distraction on successfully completing your current major project.
- Let go of waiting for inspiration to strike! Inspiration is for amateurs. I wake up every morning, rain or shine, feeling great or awful, and I get to work.
- Make a list of five necessary but unpleasant projects you’ve been putting off, with a completion date for each project.
- Accept problems as inevitable offshoots of change and progress.
- Only do work you are really passionate about.
- Block Out Distractions. Did you know that willpower is a limited resource that can be depleted like any other form of energy?
- Start scheduling your important tasks and showing up every time, no matter what. You wouldn’t bail on a meeting with a friend just because you feel a little tired, would you?
- Have a plan B. Emergencies or higher priority tasks can occur that will interrupt your planned task that you put on your appointment calendar. Think in advance about the specific situations that are acceptable interruptions for your appointment.
- Communicate with family members. Sometimes other people close to us can unconsciously or consciously sabotage our efforts at ending procrastination. They may have another agenda for you, or perhaps they are procrastinating and want you to join the fun.
- Don’t substitute talk for action!
- Discover The Power of Calm! Kind self-talk is an incredibly effective way to calm fear and motivate action.
- Focus on being more happy!! A decade of research proves that happiness raises every business and educational outcome.
- Routines help. If you turn the repetitive and boring tasks into routines, you will do them with little effort, since they are habits that we do almost unconsciously.
- Break the work into small and specific tasks. A large and complex project can be overwhelming. Dividing it into small tasks allows you to see clearly the path and the resistance to confront it decreases.
- Avoid distractions. The more temptations you have to do something else instead of what you have to do, the easier it will be to procrastinate. Keep your smartphone, notifications and access to internet off when facing hard tasks.
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