Procrastination – the act of putting off until later what you could do now. You fully intend to do that unpleasant or undesirable task, just not right now. I think just about everybody is guilty of that now and then. The problem arises when you tend to procrastinate on everything and you end up never getting anything done.
Not only does it make you unproductive, over time, it can help destroy your overall confidence and move you toward a state of depression. You end up telling yourself that you can’t do it and then you don’t do it.
So what are the reasons we procrastinate? There are many. It can be that the task ahead is an unpleasant one or it’s just mundane and boring. It’s just something that we don’t want to do for whatever reason. So how do we stop procrastinating and start getting things done? Well, here are some tips to help you move forward.
Commit – First of all, procrastination is like any other bad habit. If you want to break it, you have to make a conscious effort to change. You have to make a commitment to yourself that you are going to take steps to stop procrastinating. Think of it as a form of self improvement.
Think Positively – Keep the negative thoughts away and keep a positive attitude. Tell yourself that you can do it but even if you fail you are going to try. Don’t discourage yourself from the very beginning. Don’t be afraid of failing. After all, failure is simply finding out how not to do something. It’s a learning experience and the first step toward success.
Don’t Over-Plan – There’s nothing wrong with having a plan, but if you spend all of your time planning the job, you’ll never DO the job. Plan, but also take action. Don’t wait.
Eliminate Indecision – Don’t be a deer in the headlights. Make up your mind and move in that direction. If you don’t know which direction is right, try one. Even if it’s wrong, by moving, you’ll find that out right away. If you don’t move, you won’t know which direction is right or wrong.
Break It Up – If the reason you’re procrastinating is that the task is too large or complex, break it up into smaller, easier to achieve tasks. Doing many smaller jobs is easier to take on than one monumental one. With each smaller task you complete, you’ll gain more confidence and see yourself closer to achieving the ultimate goal.
Do the Worst First – We tend to put off the worst things because we just don’t want to face them. It’s easier to do the easy things first. That bad thing about that is, that bad thing will be praying on your mind. You’ll dread it and it will drag you down. Pick the thing you least want to do and do it first. You may find that it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be, but at the very least, it will take the load off your shoulders. Get it out of the way and then it’s smooth sailing. Everything else is easy.
Reward Yourself – Make a deal with yourself, or even your significant other, that you will reward yourself with something that you want when you complete that unpleasant task. It doesn’t have to be anything big, something you want to buy or even a special night out, just a simple indulgence that you would enjoy. It’s an incentive to get the job done.
Plunge In – Don’t hesitate for even a moment. Sometimes the easiest way to prevent procrastination is to never let it become a factor in the first place. I remember a time long ago when I was doing a lot of off-road dirt bike riding and hill climbing. We were in a new area and we came upon a huge hill that we had never seen before. When it first came into view, it looked like a mountain. I mean, it was truly intimidating and I knew if I stopped and looked it over, I might talk myself out of even trying it, so I made a split second decision to just twist the throttle and go for it. I didn’t give my mind a chance to think about it. I didn’t give fear a chance to affect me.
If you really want to change and you start using some of these techniques, you will find your overall attitude will change. Over time you will tend not to procrastinate anymore at all. You will have changed your habits and you’ll have a new outlook. I bet you’ll be getting a lot of things done too.