Procrastination -- “the action of delaying or postponing something”
It’s something we’ve all been guilty of in our lifetimes.
We know we have something that needs doing, yet we can’t seem to ma ster up the motivation to get it done (or even get started working on it).
We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tips to overcome procrastination and help you cross more off of your list this year than ever before.
Here we go!
Top 5 Tips to Overcome Procrastination
Setting goals or having aspirations to do something is great, but the more generic the goal or idea is, the less likely it is to be completed in a timely manner, if it’s completed at all.
Saying “I want to lose weight” is an admirable goal, as is telling yourself that “I’ll keep in touch with relatives.”
But, unless you actually put some specifics to it, the chances of you actually doing either of those things is slim to none.
By being specific and making (scheduling) time for when you will actively work on these tasks or towards your goals will significantly increase your chance for success.
If you want to lose weight, create a plan that details how you plan to lose weight. Furthermore, set a specific goal of not only how much weight you would like to lose, but when you would like to have the goal accomplished.
So, instead of saying “I want to lose weight,” say “I want to lose 12 pounds in the next 2 months.”
If your goal is to stay in closer contact with loved ones, write it down in your “To-Do” list for the day and block out a specific time that you will call them. If you are inclined to forget, set an alarm or reminder on your phone.
The takeaway here is if something truly is a priority for you, then you MUST make time in your day for it. Otherwise, you’ll never get it done.
Just Get Started
Many individuals put off starting a task until they feel motivated, inspired, or excited about it.
The reality is that feeling may never come.
You have to be willing to give yourself a strong kick in the pants and get working even when you’re low on energy or motivation and even when you’re feeling anxious about starting.
The mind is a powerful entity, and it’s human nature to avoid those things which make us feel uneasy, uncomfortable, or anxious
Rather than take the easy road, adopt the mindset of “being comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
If you’re apprehensive about starting a new venture or tackling a new activity, don’t resist. Throw yourself full into it.
Once you get started, you’re likely to find that the more you engage in that activity, the more you enjoy it and the more rewards you receive from it.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling unsure about whether or not you should start something, take a hint from Nike and “Just Do It!”
Don’t Make Excuses
There’s a saying that goes “excuses are a lullaby to soothe a guilty conscience.”
We constantly delude ourselves with excuses when it comes to doing things that make us feel uncomfortable.
The reality is that we are making these excuses to prevent us from dealing with the truth or working on something that seems difficult or time-consuming.
The next time you find yourself making up reasons why you’re putting something off, stop yourself and ask why are you making this excuse.
Do you have a legitimate reason for sloughing off the task that needs to be done, or are you just kicking the can down the road, only to have to face it later?
Instead of delaying the inevitable, get to work right away and see if you actually work better starting immediately rather than waiting till the last minute.
Give It 15 Minutes
Tasks that are all-encompassing or require a great deal of time and/or effort are the ones most likely that are pushed aside.
In other words, the tasks that are the hardest (require the most work) are the ones you’re most likely to procrastinate on.
If you find yourself constantly undertaking very labor-intensive tasks, start by breaking the big task up into several mini-tasks.
Even as little as 15 minutes can help you chisel away at some of the work required to complete the task.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed (and inclined to delay working on something), just spend 15 minutes “hacking away” at it.
All of these “mini-work sessions” will make the larger goal seem more manageable than trying to tackle the whole thing in one fell swoop.
Moreover, this task works with just about any goal, from weight loss to cleaning an overcrowded garage to finishing a major presentation for work.
Be OK Saying “No”
Nobody likes to make another person feel disappointed.
As such, we all have a tendency to take on more than we can realistically accomplish without feeling stressed.
It could be helping a friend move, attending a neighborhood party, or taking on some extra work for a colleague at work.
Whatever it is, we all take on more than we can “chew.”
Realize that it is “OK” to say “no.”
It might feel awkward or uncomfortable at first saying no to someone, especially if it is something to whom you are close.
But, we all have a limit.
To help you decide if something is worth taking on, it helps to assess your priorities.
Procrastination can sometimes stem from not knowing which goals are important, or which ones deserve immediate attention (or any of your attention at all, for that matter).
Those things that don’t really warrant (“need”) your attention, or those that exceed the limits of your capabilities, are best left alone.
Now, not everything you do in life (or every person you help) has to provide some direct, tangible benefit to you.
But, at the same time, saying “no” to some things that don’t have with your work ethic or values can free up some much needed energy and motivation to tackle the things that do matter to you and provide direct benefits to you.
If you don’t prioritize yourself at times, no one will.
Procrastination is a part of life.
It’s something we all struggle with from time to time.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to stop procrastination and be more productive each and every day.
As an added bonus, these procrastination tips cost no money whatsoever. Just time and dedication on your part.
Use the tips outlined above to be more productive this year and crush your goals faster and easier than ever!