So, here you are – the start of another day, week, month and you have a million things to do – It’s true – we all have too many things to get done every day, but we only have so many minutes in an hour and so many hours in a day and so many days…you get my drift. I’m probably #1 at procrastination unless it’s something I really love to do and yet, even then, I find ways to sabotage myself.
Procrastination is defined as avoiding doing a task that needs to be done…putting the activity off until tomorrow. So, here are four steps to help you break the procrastination trap. Do not judge yourself as you work through this. This is an assessment and judgments will only block your ability to change your focus and actions.
Step 1: Assess the task
For the most part, we procrastinate in areas where we are apprehensive about our ability to handle the task effectively. We tend to put off the “doing” and usually end up waiting until the last moment when the “pressure is on”.
Answer: Assess the areas of your life that bring out your procrastination habit. Create a list of those areas that you resist taking action in. For example, you resist making sales calls for work (your issue) and you wait until the last-minute (how you procrastinate). Review your list and see what themes arise from your list. Most people will find themselves procrastinating because:
- Fear of their ability to do the task,
- Misjudging the amount of time a task will take
- Too many “To-Do‘s” on their list
- Overwhelmed by the project
- Don’t know how to break down the project in to manageable pieces
Step 2: Choice or Selection
It’s best to start slow when overcoming procrastination. Choose an area you can focus on. Keep it simple to ensure achievement – success builds success and this will help you decrease that “need” to procrastinate.
Answer: Say you have an issue with paying your bills. Make the following changes now:
- Choose where to place your bills when they come in
- Choose how often you will pay your bills, ensuring they are paid on time
- Select a day/time when you will sit down to pay your bills
- Put the day/time on your calendar every week/month so it is part of your scheduled activities
Trying to tackle too many to do’s? Select 3 “must do’s” each day and tackle them first thing! Have more time? Add 2 more tasks and complete them. Over time you will see a list of activities that are consistently being pushed to the next day. This is the time to do your assessment of their value and see if they’re something you must do, or if you need to let them go. If they are important to you, you might consider delegating them to someone who would be willing to help you.
Step 3: Share It
We all love to hide what we don’t want others to know about us. We think that people will somehow think less of us if we share.
Answer: Let others know what you are doing and don’t be afraid to ask them for their support. Think about how they can best help you achieve your goals. You might be surprised to find you have a friend who is a procrastinator on something you revel in and they in turn love doing something you don’t “love”. You may have just found the perfect “procrastinator buddy”!
Step 4: Celebrate Your Success!
Too many times small victories in our day go unrewarded. As a procrastinator you may feel you don’t deserve a “reward”.
Answer: Make sure to reward yourself for accomplishing what you need to get done. Tip: Know what you will reward yourself with before you begin. As soon as you accomplish a small goal, celebrate that victory! Make sure the compensation is something you want to do for yourself. Time is an issue with most people, so your rewards must be realistic – something you can do in an hour. Some rewards to consider:
- Take a bubble bath
- Buy a new book
- Take time to read a favorite magazine
- Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea out on the patio or deck
Thoughts: We only have today; we’re not promised tomorrow. Choose what is of value to you today. Remember, this is your personal journey through life and you are the one who will create more joy in your own life.
- Get Organized: How to Stop Procrastinating, Part 2 (getorganizedtips.blogspot.com)
- Could It Be Productive Procrastination? (ahmedsaj.wordpress.com)