Many of us have that one thing on our to-do list that never seems to get done.
Maybe it’s finishing your CV, taking that action step to a healthier lifestyle or working out or even following your passions.
It’s easy to put things off by saying to yourself, “I’ll do it later,”or “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“I’m too busy, too broke, too stressed, too old/young, too inexperienced…”
There are so many ways we can use the word “too.”
Regardless of what we’re procrastinating on, one thing tends to be the same for everyone—it’s really frustrating and it’s the wall between what we want and what we get.
So, if you find it challenging to start a task or find yourself getting easily distracted while doing a task, here are seven ways to approach (and deal) with procrastination so you can conquer it once and for all.
1. Become Aware.
We come up with all sorts of reasons why now, or today, just isn’t the right time.
Procrastination is very easy to rationalise. Occasionally, those reasons are valid. But more often than not they are simply excuses for not doing the real work.
Start noticing when you are procrastinating and ask yourself why.
Learn to recognise your procrastinating behaviours, any avoidance or inner resistance and become conscious of your actions.
Keep track of how much you procrastinate and how much work you get done each day to help you be more aware.
A lot of people use self-criticism, self-beating and even self-sabotage as a way to stop procrastination.
We say things like,
“Oh, I procrastinate, I’m so lazy. I’m so stupid. If I’m not mean to myself or push myself, I’m never going to get this done.”
We have this belief that if there isn’t some sort of negative consequence, if there isn’t some pain involved, then we won’t take action.
We do this because our minds are often driven by fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being judged etc.
Every moment we beat ourselves up for procrastinating is just further procrastination.
When you notice fear in your present moment, take a deep breath and acknowledge it. Try not to give it any emotions or identify with it. Don’t make it part of you.
Just stay present and let it pass through. Ask yourself,
“What’s stopping me from starting or completing this task?’ What am I scared of right now?”
Once you know your fears, you can then start working on removing your negative and limiting beliefs.
Just give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself.
Focus on the task fully. Pay attention to it.
Remove all distraction around you. This includes any connection to social media such as Twitter and Facebook, TV or even people you work with.
Set yourself a certain amount of time, perhaps an hour or two depending on your project, to be completely focused on your task in an environment without any distractions.
4. Clarify your purpose.
What is it that you want to achieve? Is this a necessary step to get you to your desired outcome? Why does it matter?
If you don’t see a purpose or the end result of what you’re about to do, then it’s no wonder you don’t feel like doing it.
Be really clear on the purpose and what you want to achieve.
This will help you to stay on task for completing your desired outcome.
5. Set desired outcomes.
Make yourself an old fashioned to-do list.
List everything, big and small, that you have to do for your entire day. If you have an overwhelming, big task ahead, break it into smaller bits if necessary.
Writing down our goals make them real and not just ideas in our heads. Then, as we work through our day, we can check off each of the items on our lists.
6. Love your perfect “imperfections.”
I think we are all perfectionists in our own way.
Our desire to make everything “perfect” makes us over-complicate a project.
What’s actually a simple task may get blown out of proportion. This makes us procrastinate on it, waiting for that “perfect” moment.
But that “perfect” moment never comes.
Acknowledge that there’s no such thing as perfect time or perfect way of doing something or perfect people for that matter.
Know that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s all part of the experience, part of our learning process.
Begin with what you have or know right now and write it down.
7. Action and accountability.
It all comes down to taking action. We can do all the thinking, strategising and planning we like but unless we do something about it, nothing will get done.
At the end of the day, review your to-do list.
Did you meet all of the goals that you set for the day? If not, what stopped you? Be really honest with yourself.
And if you don’t feel you are strict enough with yourself and still find excuses to justify why something didn’t get completed, share your to do list with someone. Someone who will hold you accountable, either a friend, work colleague or coach.
Which one of the seven steps do you think will help you the most? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve just keep going and keep creating.
You can live and have the life you want and desire.
Until next time, be great.
Author: Marianna Dean
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: brett jordan/Flickr