How to End Procrastination
How to End Procrastination
What are you waiting for?
Is there something else you’re supposed to be doing right now? Are you reading this because an hour ago you told yourself you were only going online for 5 minutes and here you are after checking your FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked In accounts?
Don’t get us wrong we’re super glad you’re here, but be honest with yourself…does procrastination stop you from reaching your full potential in life? Some studies suggest that 20% of the total working-adult population admit to procrastination on a regular basis. We think the number is higher.
Why do people procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get things done?
We all do it sometimes. Sometimes it’s just a dreaded task, others we underestimate how long it will take. We’re not talking about the occasional procrastinator here, were talking to those who habitually: wait ‘till mid-April to think about taxes; are always late paying their bills; renew a driver’s license after it expires; prepare for a job interview the morning of; or start projects on the eve of the deadline….you know who they are.
Procrastination typically has little to do with rational time-management skills but rather is more emotional. Here are the biggest reasons and at the root of most of them are perfectionism, fear, or poorly defined goals (Lieberman, 2019).
- Not knowing what needs to be done so nothing is done
- Not knowing how to do something, unable or unwilling to ask for help.
- Not wanting to do something but feeling guilted or shamed into it.
- Believing inspiration, motivation, or any particular feeling is a requirement to begin.
- Playing the role of a victim; believing others are responsible for our wholeness/happiness.
- Analysis paralysis (overthinking something so much one cannot decide on a strategy).
Knowing that putting things off to the last minute isn’t a good thing will never be enough to change the behavior of most procrastinators. The sad part is, many do not realize that so much of their unhappiness can be linked directly to procrastination. Resisting the discomfort of something we don’t want to do only brings temporary relief and almost always increases feelings of stress, frustration, and discontent later.
Here are 11 practical suggestions to end procrastination NOW!
If you are a procrastinator, chances are you’ve tried to overcome or at least improve it on your own. You’ve made resolutions to change, lists of things to do, or bullied yourself into completing tasks you loathe. Maybe you had some success, but if you’re looking to up your game and take productivity and time management to the next level, we have a fresh approach combined with time-tested strategies to give a try.
Not all will work for you, so just pick the ones that do and DO THEM.
- Be honest with yourself: Procrastinators are expert negotiators when it comes to making excuses and rationales not to do something. (If only those same skills could be used for being productive-😊!) Instead of making excuses or blaming people, places, or things to not get it done, stop and ask yourself if you are being honest or feeding yourself some self-defeating lie, which is what 99% of your excuses are.
- Stay in the NOW: Sometimes we look at the big picture and get so overwhelmed that we can’t move. Instead of focusing on the whole project, look at what you can get done NOW, in the next 5 minutes. Later today, tomorrow, next week and next year do not exist yet and giving them your focus and energy costs you the one thing that does exist and that is the present moment.
- Don’t wait for things to get better because chances are, they won’t: If the now sucks and you don’t do anything about it, tomorrow will suck too. Nothing changes until something changes. Anytime we think “things will be ok when…. (fill in the blank) or “I’ll be ok when…” we are giving our security, contentment, and value away. Sure, they might be rosier, but they and you are ok right now! Act now and tomorrow has a chance of being what you wish today was.
- Lose the “all or nothing” attitude/stop being a perfectionist: Most perfectionists have unrealistic standards they are trying to meet. The bar is so high It’s either impossible to reach or if it can be reached, it cannot be sustained. Seriously, it’s often better to just start and make a few mistakes than to get paralyzed with waiting for everything to be perfect from go. There are exceptions to everything but most of the time things aren’t going to turn out exactly as you planned anyway so why wait? Fear is usually the culprit with “all or nothing” minded people. Ironically, as many people fear success (and the responsibilities it entails) as much as failure.
- Be selfish: If you’re putting off something you want to do because you keep getting distracted by other people, evaluate the consequences of telling others no. Many procrastinators are too concerned with what others think or want them to do and end up putting others’ happiness before their own. They want to write a book but give up writing time to go out for drinks with the girls so that they don’t disappoint, or they don’t take an enrichment class because it will annoy their spouse. Instead of giving your time and dreams away, learn healthy ways to say no and hold on to your boundaries.
- Set SMART goals: We can’t stress enough the importance of setting goals. However, not just any old goal will nip procrastination, they must be realistic and achievable. Setting clearly defined, specific and measurable goals will give you a rational framework to utilize when you’ve successfully overcome the limiting beliefs and blockages that impede productivity.
- Stop telling yourself you are lazy: Procrastination is often confused with laziness, but they are very different. Procrastination an active choice to not act, to ignore a task that is important in favor of something more enjoyable. Laziness is an unwillingness to act. What we continuously tell ourselves is what we believe about ourselves. Both are negative messages that will leave you feeling ashamed but telling yourself you are lazy is part of the lie that perpetuates procrastination. Not the other way around.
- Make problems fun and you’ll boost motivation: Unpleasant Tasks are mostly that way because of the meaning we attach to them. Instead of telling yourself you “have to” get something done, turn it around by telling yourself you “get to” do it. You don’t “have to” got to the gym (because something bad will happen if you don’t) but you “get to” go (because something good, like being capable, is going on). You don’t “have to” go to work and be miserable, you get to go to work so that you can support yourself and your family. Using this model to gain a sense of gratitude works for almost anything.
- You must do it by yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone: Nothing changes permanently overnight. If you’re serious about improving your productivity and ending procrastination, it’s going to take honesty, time and effort. Get an accountability partner that you trust and can help you. Someone who will support you respectfully yet is honest enough with you to call you out on flimsy excuses. Breaking the isolation of having to be your own motivator, cheerleader, and progress manager will boost your energy and set you up for success.
- Lastly, just STOP: The more time you spend analyzing your behavior, your childhood, your personality, or any other reason why you are a procrastinator, you are simply perpetuating the vicious cycle of procrastination and putting off doing something useful.