How To Overcoming Procrastination and Take Action Now
People often tell me “I don’t know where you find the time to do all this!” I don’t think I have more time than anybody else but I typically act quickly on my ideas. Though I generally love taking action, I’ve been guilty.
We all are guilty of it… You know putting off things that could be done today until sometimes it never gets done. Excuses like: “I’ll do it tomorrow”, “I work better under pressure”, “I’m more creative when I do things last minute” never seem to be far.
Procrastination is a form of self-sabotage.
But what if I told you that other than these excuses listed earlier, there is a real reason why most people procrastinate “it’s to avoid pain”. Yes pain! It’s fear based.
That blog post that you have been meaning to write, the course that you have been planning to take or the website that you know should be up and running, is because you are avoiding facing your fears and going through what you perceive as a pain.
You may find this task too time-consuming, boring, effort-draining or even stressful. You may even be afraid of failing, “what if it doesn’t work out?”
But no one was born a procrastinator, you need to start getting more things done so you can start truly living the life that you desire. Here are five ways to say bye bye to procrastination (NOW) and start achieving more:
#1 Identify Your Procrastination Style
Yes, we all procrastinate in different ways. Are you doing any of the following:
- You wait for when you are “in the right mood” or say things like “when the time right” you will do it.
- Get distracted by the low priority task instead of doing the important things first.
- You get ready to start your important task, but get up to go to the refrigerator, for some coffee or call someone.
- You open up your browser to start doing some research and next thing you know you are on Facebook.
Once you have identified your procrastination style, write down all the ways this approach is negatively affecting your life and how your life would be better if you avoided these excuses, habits and delays.
#2 Create a To-Do List
I LOVE to-do list! In fact, I keep mine very old school “paper and pen style”. My to do list strategy is to write everything I need to do (preferably the day before) and then number them in order of priority.
In the past, I did the unimportant things first, but I realized that my day felt more empowered when I got the big important task (sometimes those I would rather not do!) out of the way first. Your day feels lighter knowing that you can breeze through everything else because the elephant is now out of the room.
#3 Focus on Starting Not Finishing
If you think about the whole task, it can seem so much bigger than it really is. Depending on how big the task is you can get stressed out wondering how on earth will you ever finish! One of the skills l learnt as a project manager over the last 10 years, is to break every task down into smaller deliverables and just start.
When you break your task down into smaller parts, it makes it easier and more approachable to know that you can start and finish one part of the project or task in a short space of time. Plus there is always a finish line and that in itself is rewarding.
I have found very often once you start, you build momentum along the way and what might have seemed like a big job could be completed in a few hours (depending on the task).
#4 Go For Progress Not Perfection
Often people procrastinate because they are waiting for everything to be right to start. In my own experience, it is better to have something that can be fixed than nothing at all.
Every software developer knows this. That’s why every few months you have to update apps and software. There will always be something to improve, but you’ll have nothing to enhance if you never get started.
You may not have every resource you need to get the things you want done, but often opportunities come while you are working not waiting.
#5 Time Blocking
There was a time when I didn’t guard my time as well as I should. I realized “wait a minute, others were getting their stuff done, at the expense of mine!” That’s when I realized, it was time to prioritize my goals.
Often when I have a task that I want to go all in and complete, I shut out every distraction and dive in. For example: for the next three hours all social media alerts are turned off and unless it’s an emergency, no phone calls.
In these moments I keep some nice study music (Mozart or Beethoven) and go all in. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s a change of location and total silence. Do whatever it takes to get focused and go all in.
Procrastination has kept many people from achieving their goals and stuck right where they don’t want to be. I believe in life if you wait to feel passion to do everything you want to do, almost nothing would get done.
Don’t wait to be in the mood, you are the one running the show here not your mood, never lose sight of that and just think about how satisfying it will be once you have completed that task and can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Cheers to your epic life!