So…I am sure that while reading this, you have something that you are procrastinating to do. There is this one thing(s) that you have to do but you’re choosing not to do it; at least for now.
Come on.. you gotta get up and do it NOW!!!
Okay, wait…keep reading this post so you can figure out how to stop procrastinating.
Procrastination is a habit that kills our productivity, yet who doesn’t procrastinate today? We all have that one thing we want to do every day but choose not to do it now and postpone it to later.
Let us look at some examples of the kind of habits one can have as a procrastinator.
- You have stuff in your to-do list that has been there for a long time; even though they are important things to do.
- Your day is filled with either high or low priority tasks.
- You start off your day with a very high priority task and then distract yourself with other stuff throughout the day having not done any other important task.
- Waiting for the “perfect” time or mood to actually do the task.
If you are one of the above, then you are a procrastinator just like I was.
Why do people procrastinate?
The way I see it, there are three main reasons why people procrastinate and choose to put off tasks no matter how important they are.
- Fear of failure – people don’t want to be pointed at by not having accomplished the required result. They keep postponing it because they want to have all the answers before they can be faced with failure. Which brings me to the next point…
- Perfectionism – Unless their task is way too perfect, they refuse to complete it. And the thing about perfectionism is that no matter how perfect you want your result to be, it will never be perfect enough.
- Fear of Success – Some people are afraid that being successful can change their lifestyle making it busier with focused attention on them. They may not like that at all.
Of course, there can be other reasons why people choose to procrastinate. However, I found these to be the most common ones based on my personal experience and the people around me.
Is it possible to completely stop procrastinating?
Never! We are all human beings and we tend to procrastinate no matter how much we try to avoid it. There will always be times where you will put off some tasks you are not interested in doing or too tired to do.
I wanted to bring this point to clarity before you feel like you will never get anywhere with the habit of procrastination. This way you will let it take control of your life rather than you working on overcoming the habit.
The trick is working on yourself to avoid facing such encounters as much as you can. While it is okay to procrastinate on things that can be postponed, it is very dangerous to procrastinate on important tasks.
What can I do to overcome procrastination?
Before getting into the steps of how to overcome procrastination, I need to be honest with yourself. No matter how many blog posts you read, steps you analyze, or videos you watch, if you are not serious about trying to change, none of all the above is going to work for you.
You need to commit yourself to the process and build your strategies to overcome anything.
Now that you have set a committed mindset and is ready to truly change, then you can start following these steps.
Here is an IGTV I posted where I discussed the points of how to overcome procrastination.
If you are more interested in reading about them, then here are the 5 steps you need to take.
This may seem like a lame point to mention or even start with but you really do need to think about it. Most of us continue to procrastinate because we feel like it is too late for us to change now.
Forgiving yourself is what I consider the first step to moving forward. Stop feeling that because you procrastinated in the past, you will keep doing so and that there is no hope in trying to change. That is not true. Just let go of your past habit and work on moving forward.
Visualize the final result
Whatever tasks you are planning to work on has an end goal that you want to reach. The best way to push yourself or motivate yourself is to visualize the final result. Think of how getting that task completed can affect you and your goal.
This way, even if you don’t feel like doing the task, having the image to you reaching the goal you want will make you want to complete the task no matter what. It can be because you want to accomplish something for yourself or even for the work assigned to you by your boss.
Get rid of distractions
I know this can be a tough one; it was for me at least. Distractions are the worst things that can happen to someone when he/she is too immersed in something. The minute you shift your concentration to somewhere else (especially if it is more interesting than your current task), your mind will most probably shift to thinking about that for the rest of the time.
There are two main types of distractions one can face. They are distractions we can control and distractions we can’t control.
When you are faced with distractions that are out of your control, like a sudden visitor, a colleague coming into your office and asking for you to join for lunch, or any kind of urgent situation, what matters is not the situation itself, it is how you handle yourself. You should revert back to point #2 (visualize the final outcome) and motivate yourself to continue.
However, the kind of distractions that are in your hands like checking your email, urging to open the notification you got on your phone should be totally avoided by you. You can do that by simply removing your phone from your circle and block any kind of possible distraction when working on your task.
Prioritize your tasks
I am not sure if you have heard about the 80/20 principle in terms of time management. Here is how this principle goes:
Your daily to-do list should be divided into 80% low-priority tasks and 20% high priority tasks.
By creating a to-list that follows this principle, you are more likely to be able to complete the tasks more efficiently.
Always start with the 20% because they are set to be the most important ones. Even if you plan to procrastinate, you will be procrastinating on low-priority tasks.
Tell someone about your goal to hold you accountable
This is very important as well to help you boost your productivity. When you tell someone that you will achieve a certain goal by the end of a certain date, then they will hold you accountable by asking you about the completion or the progress taking place regarding your task.
I find this to be very effective on a personal level. If not for the fact that my followers are waiting for my blog posts every Monday and Wednesday (and occasionally on Friday), then I would have never posted a blog post on time.
Telling someone (not everyone) about your goal and when you are going to achieve it is something that will help you stay motivated to complete it so you can celebrate your success with someone.
Create incentives by the end of your task
This makes accomplishing a task even much more fun than just thinking about the final outcome. Positive reinforcement will act wonders when you feel demotivated to complete a task in your to-do list and start procrastinating.
Understand that procrastination is an inevitable trait. However, how you handle yourself is what can either boost your productivity or just kill it. By following the 5 effective ways to overcome your procrastination, you will get better at avoiding it as much as you can.
Thank you for reading till the end 🙂
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Do you procrastinate? How do you overcome your procrastination? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.