So… it’s taken me 3 weeks to finish up this post. Any guesses why so long? 😉 Ah… my old friend procrastination! It is important to recognize that if you partake in such a favored pastime, you are not alone, procrastination is pretty normal. For some more than others. Thankfully there are a bunches of definitive strategies you can embrace to overcome it. We all need a little help with procrastination from time to time, so here are ten awesome strategies to help with procrastination and beat it once and for all!
1 Give it five (or maybe ten) minutes. With this strategy, the purpose is to spend just five or ten minutes doing the task that you’ve been avoiding. The logic is that you can endure five minutes of anything. And c’mon, 5 minutes from your day does not impact much else.
Set yourself up for success by making a list of difficult things you’ve done or situations you’ve gotten through in five or ten minutes. I’m sure you’ve done things you haven’t really wanted to do before now, right? Start every sentence with, “If I could do laundry for 5 minutes, I can vacuum for 5 minutes”. Duplicate these to your own circumstances as often as required.
If you’ve been avoiding cleaning off your desk, spend five minutes on the task. That’s it. When the five minutes is up, you’re free and clear to stop working on the endeavor. Of course, more than often, as soon as you get into doing something you will continue. You’re likely going to finish cleaning off that desk. Ha-ha, tricked ya 🙂
2 Reward yourself. This strategy does not work for everybody or every undertaking. But it’s largely successful for many and it is certainly does help with procrastination for many instances. The concept is simple, examine the job or project you are avoiding and make a motivating reward.
For instance, if you are procrastinating on writing a business plan you may reward yourself with a new business cards, or maybe a half day off. Are you delaying starting that exercise program you’ve been telling your friends about? Reward yourself with a brand new Nike fitness shirt after two weeks of exercising frequently.
Keep the rewards in line with the task, and don’t make them too rewarding. For example – I worked one day so I’m taking the rest of the month off. Use sound judgement!
3 Figure out why you need help with procrastination. Why do you need help with procrastination? There’s often an underlying reason. Sure, maybe you just don’t like doing the task. But maybe there’s another, deeper, rationale for your procrastination. For example, a writer may procrastinate about the previous chapter of the book because they’re frightened of feedback, rejection from editors, or the revision process.
Dig deep and attempt to figure out why you need help with procrastination. Then, you’re going to be able to face the project head on.
4 Work on Discipline. The truth is you can benefit from a bit more self-discipline. You most likely don’t push yourself as far as you may. You don’t stick to the task, and you give up too easily – perhaps not all of the time, but likely more than you would admit to. Thus, start working on your self-discipline.
By way of instance, you might run for one minute longer or eat one more serving of vegetables. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to make one more phone call every day. It’s going overlap into every area of your life and you’re going to have the ability to accomplish that job you have been dreading and avoiding.
5 Establish Realistic Goals. Setting yourself realistic goals can really help with procrastination. Among the biggest reasons that people avoid projects, targets, or tasks is because they expect too much from themselves. They’re unrealistic. A common instance is that the weight loss goal. “I’m going to lose 15 pounds this past month,” sounds good on paper. It’s specific and it is time bound. But is it realistic? Not really. Sure, it is possible to lose that in a month but it would require tremendous discipline, a great plan, and no mistakes.
Something that might be more realistic is “I’m going to drop a pound a week by cutting 300 calories from my diet per day and walking for 20 minutes per day .” This makes the strategy feel more viable and you’re less likely to procrastinate. Then when you accomplish that goal, it gives you the motivation to keep going. When setting goals for yourself, be sure to feel ~80-90% confident you can attain the goals you set.
6 Imagine the task complete. Imagine how you are going to feel when the task is complete. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big project or a little one, this strategy works. When you can imagine the outcome, it is simpler to get started on the work. And once you start something, it’s typically easier to continue with it.
For example, if you’re gunning for that promotion in work, but need to pass a certification to give you a real chance – just thing how awesome it would be to get that promotion – and more money to enjoy life with.
7 Make it interesting. Consider what you could do to make the task fun. Could it be enjoyable to perform it at a coffee shop? Or maybe you’re able to enlist a friend to keep you company or help you out. Even the most boring tasks can be more enjoyable with the ideal strategy.
I have a personal example on this one, although I’m not sure if I should be mentioning it. I have 2 Huskies. They shed. A lot. Vacuuming, not surprisingly, is not one of my favorite past-times. But you know what makes vacuuming bearable? Wine 😛
8 Positive mindset development. Wipe away all negative thoughts and language around the task you are procrastinating on. For example, if you get yourself thinking, “I hate cleaning my desk .” Change the thoughts to something more positive, such as “I feel way more creative and productive when I have a tidy desk.” Then, you can concentrate on what is possible concerning the job or project and dispose of the more negative associations.
9 Break up projects. Like slicing up a tangerine – split big projects you have been procrastinating on into smaller bite sized jobs. Frequently we avoid doing some things because we understand they’re going to take forever. You control this. As an example, instead of painting the entire house, you might paint 1 room each month until the job is finished. You get to determine how the project is managed and completed.
If you’re procrastinating on a work project, you may not have the ability to decide how it’s managed, but you can still split it up into smaller parts that feel more manageable.
10 Group related projects. Occasionally a job you’re putting off doing is related to other tasks – probably other tasks you’re also putting off doing! For instance, cleaning your desk and filing your documents that are scattered all over your desk are two tasks that can be taken care of at the same time. The alternative being, to pile all the papers up in no logical order and thrown them in a draw. And 2 weeks later you cannot find your W2. When you group similar jobs and projects, it helps you to be more productive.
In addition, it helps you capitalize on a productive mindset and allow for a sense of greater accomplishment when you’re finished. One project runs into the next and you are done with that dreaded project(s) before you know it!
Look at the tasks and projects you have been procrastinating on in both your personal and professional life. One of these ten tactics is guaranteed to help with procrastination and help you push through plateaus to get the job finished. Procrastination does not have to slow you down.