Do you have important tasks on you to-do list that you haven’t started? Have you put off important tasks over and over again? Well you’re not alone.
Hi and welcome back to Barrworld.com and today we are talking about a serious issue when it comes to getting things done. Procrastination can be a career killer, a dream killer, a relationship killer and a business killer.
Did you know that everyone procrastinates to some degree? Today we are talking about those who always seem to be affected by procrastination to the point that it stops them from reaching their potential?
Research shows that to control this destructive habit, you need to recognize when you start to procrastinate, understand why it happens (even to the best of us), and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better.
What is Procrastination?
In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favor of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing.
Follow these steps to deal with and control procrastination:
Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating
If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know when you’re procrastinating. But just in case you aren’t, let’s look at some useful indicators, so you’ll know when you’re procrastinating:
- You spend your day on low priority tasks or busy work
- You don’t have a To Do List and thinking you’re too busy to create one
- You are doing tasks that you should delegate to others because you find them enjoyable.
- You sit down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately find something else to do like going off to make a cup of coffee.
- Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand. If your waiting for the job to “speak to you” I can promise it will be a LONG WAIT.
For a point of clarification, it’s important to know that putting off an unimportant task isn’t necessarily procrastination: it may just be good prioritization!
If you have a genuine good reason for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. But if you’re honest with yourself and simply “making an excuse” because you really just don’t want to do it, then you’re procrastinating.
Step 2: Finding Out WHY You’re Procrastinating
One reason is that you find a particular job unpleasant, and try to avoid doing it. Almost every job has unpleasant or boring aspects to them, and often the best way of dealing with these is to get them over and done with quickly, so that you can focus on the more enjoyable aspects of the job.
Another cause is that people are disorganized. Organized people manage to fend off the procrastinating, because they will have things like To Do Lists and schedules which emphasize how important the piece work is, and identify precisely when it’s due. They’ll also have planned how long a task will take to do, and will have worked back from that point to identify when they need to get started in order to avoid it being late. Organized people are also better at breaking the work down into manageable “next steps”.
Even if you’re organized, you can still feel by the task. You may doubt that you have the skills or resources you think you need, so you seek comfort in doing tasks you know you’re capable of doing. But that big task isn’t going to go away.
Surprisingly, perfectionists are often procrastinators, as they can tend to think “I don’t have the right skills or resources to do this perfectly now, so I won’t do it at all.”
One final major cause is having underdeveloped decision-making skills. If you simply can’t decide what to do, you’re likely to put off taking action in case you do the wrong thing. You think that no decision is better than the wrong decision.
Step 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies
Sadly procrastination is a habit. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. The only way to beat any bad habit is to persistently stop practicing them by replacing them with new habits, in this case action.
Some things will work better for some people than for others, and for some tasks than others. And, sometimes, you may simply need to try a fresh approach to beat the “procrastination peril”!
Here are some helpful tips on how to beat the inaction blues
- Make up your own rewards. For example, promise yourself a piece of tasty flapjack at lunchtime if you’ve completed a certain task. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
- Ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure works! This is the principle self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
- Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task.
- Have a written list of Goals. You need to know what’s important to you.
- Keep a To Do List so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks. It needs to be reviewed daily and updated regularly.
- Prioritize your To-Do List so that you cannot try to kid yourself that it would be acceptable to put off doing something on the grounds that it is unimportant, or that you have many urgent things which ought to be done first when, in reality, you’re procrastinating.
- Become a master of scheduling and project planning so that you know when to start those all-important projects.
- Focus on one task at a time.
If you’re putting off starting a project because you find it overwhelming, you need to take a different approach. Here are some tips:
- Break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. You may find it helpful to create an action plan.
- Start with some quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren’t the logical first actions. You’ll feel that you’re achieving things, and so perhaps the whole project won’t be so overwhelming after all.
If you’re doing it because you find the task unpleasant:
- Many procrastinators overestimate the unpleasantness of a task. So give it a try! You may find that it’s not as bad as you thought!
- Hold the unpleasant consequences of not doing the work at the front of your mind.
- Reward yourself for doing the task.
Remember: the longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good!
Drop me a comment on times you have let Procrastination get the better of you and how you got out of it?
God Bless and Chat Soon