Overcoming Procrastination is one of life’s abilities everyone wants to acquire. The ability to never put off doing anything, and do everything you set out to accomplish, without missing deadlines. However, although procrastination may be unavoidable sometimes, it could also become tough to break once the habit has been formed.
How does procrastination become a habit?
Habits are formed when you consistently do something over and over again – it becomes part of you as may be what you are known for. To procrastinate is to put things off intentionally, to habitually shelve responsibilities or tasks, to purposefully leave things undone that should be done. When done continuously, procrastination becomes a bad habit that may be difficult to break.
Steps to Overcoming Procrastination.
There are two essential steps to effectively overcome procrastination. The first is to know and identify the problem and the second is to make deliberate efforts to deal with it.
Step 1: Awareness
- Actions are caused by a reaction or response to something – stress, fear, love, etc. Identify the reason(s) why you procrastinate. Knowing the cause will help in dealing with the problem.
- Tarnished reputation, loss of job/contract/opportunities, and regrets are some of the negative effects of procrastination. Think back on the negative effects you experienced when you had to put things off. If only you could wish them away right?
- Recall how those consequences made you feel. Procrastination takes away your self-confidence and slowly weakens your self-esteem. Confront the shortcomings limiting you from focusing on what is important and be intentional about leaving it behind.
- Time lost can never be recovered. Resolve to take action to overcome procrastination today.
Step 2: Take Action
- Adopt the reverse engineering method. Start. Continue. Finish. Yes, the first step is always the hardest and starting doesn’t always mean finishing. Every time you lean towards putting things off, re-engineer your mind by choosing to continue until you finish. If it helps, develop a mantra to get you going.
- Break down your goals into small chunks and commit to fulfilling them one step at a time. Start by setting goals that have deadlines and avoid creating any that have no end date. Ask for clarification on deliverables at work and break down your task into small achievable milestones. The same applies to your personal goals; set expectations that can be met within a reasonable timeframe.
- Label your Distractions. It is difficult to get things done when there are tons of other things or people competing for your attention at the same time. Set a time to complete your tasks and turn off all distractions at that time so you can focus on what’s most important.
- Say No. Saying no means you know your limits. Commit to finishing a task before taking on another.
Tools for overcoming Procrastination
- Get a Journal. You are probably thinking, Journaling? Who owns a physical journal and has time to write these days? Maybe it is old school, may it isn’t. Writing down your goals and tasks shows responsibility and commitment. You can use a pen and notepad, Laptop, Phone or whatever means available to you. Just make sure you are writing it out for reference. Trust me, your future self will thank you.
- Use a Calendar or Board to track your progress. This shows accountability. Set reminders on your phone for due dates and milestone achievement targets. A good tool to use for reminders is Momentum. You can use it to create to-do lists that will pop up as reminders on your desktop. For effectiveness, use something you can readily see to serve as a reminder. Visualizing this will prompt you to keep moving.
To sum it all up, the step you need to take to overcome procrastination starts each waking moment of every day. I set out to be intentional about my actions by saying these words out loud every day “today is not the day to procrastinate” and then I try my best to make it a reality.
What are the steps you are taking in dealing with your tendency to deliberately put off things? I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with me in the comment section.