Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but there are some of us, myself included, that are world-class, all-star procrastinators when it comes to doing things we just don't want to be doing. Those of us who do this try to convince ourselves that we work great under pressure, which is why that paper didn't get started until the night before. We try to rationalize that I'm so busy that this one/or more thing just didn't get done.
Why do we do this, when rationally we all know how detrimental these actions can be to our lives, careers and relationships? Now some people confuse procrastination with just being lazy, but that's not entirely true. You see, procrastination is CHOOSING one action over another action - usually because they are avoiding completing a task that is unpleasant, or they think they can't do, or do well. Laziness is more like apathy and a lack of action in doing anything. Do you see the difference?
If you find yourself procrastinating all the time, it can drain you mentally and emotionally from the world around you. It can spiral into you being completely unmotivated to accomplish anything and lead you down the path of depression and apathy. We obviously don't want that! Here's 5 ways to combat procrastination in your daily life.
Five Tips to Eliminate Procrastination from your Life
1. Make a List
Every morning - yes EVERY morning - get up, and while you're waiting for your coffee to brew, or tea kettle to steam, make a list of EVERYTHING you need/want to accomplish for the day. Then take that list and triage it. Prioritize those that absolutely have to be done. Then second tier those that it would be great if you could get done, but your world won't fall apart if it's not done today. Lastly, put those things that are merely things that you have on your list because they are easy, or you really enjoy doing them, but honestly don't HAVE to happen today, or even this week.
Once you have your list, fold up the bottom of the paper so only the top tier of priorities are visible. Then tackle each one of them in order of importance. When you've completed those tasks, then unfold the paper to reveal the next tier and start working on those. It's best to keep this in a small notebook, as you'll likely have to put some of the tasks from one day and onto the next as they progress and their priority increases.
2. Schedule time in your day to do something you love doing and what you usually find yourself procrastinating with.
Sometimes we all have to do things we absolutely hate doing, but have to in order to keep our jobs, or our house not looking like an episode of Hoarders. If that happens to be you, set a timer or schedule a small block of time on your calendar to actually do the things you love. Whether that's taking your dog for a walk or watching funny cat videos, if you know you have a reward coming for doing this awful task, you won't feel so compelled to use it as a procrastination tool.
3. Figure out the root of your procrastination - what's your WHY?
Unless you're incredibly self aware, most people don't take a second thought to wonder why they are doing one thing, and avoiding another. Write down the various tasks you're procrastinating about. Leave space between each of them, as when you're done writing these down, I want you to sit quietly and really ponder what it is about each task that is making you not able to complete it. By becoming aware of your roadblocks to accomplishing things, you'll better understand how to combat it. Awareness is essential to overcoming the emotional and mental blocks we face every day.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Turn off your social media, silence your phone, and close down any web browsers you don't need to be using. By eliminating the distractions in your life, you can get a lot more done. Your friend's instagram post can wait and you can check your email when you've completed the task at hand. Set a timer for an hour or thirty minutes and don't check your usual distractions until the timer has gone off. I promise - you can exist without those distractions for an hour or two. Not only do these distractions suck time out of your day, but everytime you flip from being focused on a task to doing something else, it takes your brain time to get back into that focused mindset - adding to the time you're wasting every day.
5. Forgive Yourself
We often get so wrapped up in the 'woulda - coulda - shoulda' mindset that we feel like throwing our hands up and saying, well I suck, and I procrastinated the day away - might as well keep headed down this distracted path since I'm on that road already. STOP! When you notice yourself getting distracted or off task, put an end to it right then and get refocused. Forgive yourself for procrastinating - you're human and change takes time. Re-prioritize your task list if you need to, but don't give up, thinking you can start again the next day. It takes twenty-one days to create a habit, and if you can gently nudge yourself away from your distractions and onto your necessary tasks, it will become second nature to you. Forgive and love yourself, especially when you falter. It's the getting back up that matters most!
Do you have any tips you use when you find yourself procrastinating? I'd love to hear them. Drop me a comment below.
Remember, if you ever need assistance getting your life back on track, or have no idea where to even start - I can help. Contact me to receive a free exploratory session to see how I might be able to assist.
Until next time,