Overcoming Procrastination

I’ve got a procrastination problem; I just caught myself procrastinating on doing this blog, filling my time with small, unimportant jobs or a bit of chit chat. I know I have to do it, I know it has a time frame for when it must be done, then I think “Well I’ll just start a bit later”. It’s not a difficult task, it won’t take too long, so why do I avoid even starting? So I did a bit of research, looking for some ways to overcome procrastination and “Just Do It”.

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm

You can follow the link if you want to read the full article however below are the 3 steps to overcoming procrastination. I hope you find them useful!

Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating

If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know when you’re procrastinating.

Here are some useful indicators that will help you know when you’re procrastinating :

  • Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List.
  • Reading e-mails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them.
  • Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee.
  • Leaving an item on your To Do list for a long time, even though you know it’s important.
  • Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
  • Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand.

Step 2: Work Out WHY You’re Procrastinating

This can depend on both you and the task. But it’s important to understand which of the two is relevant in a given situation, so that you can select the best approach for overcoming your reluctance to get going.

One reason is that people find a particular job unpleasant, and try to avoid it because of that. Most jobs have 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 temptation to procrastinate, because they will have things like prioritized 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 placed to avoid procrastination, because they know how to break the work down into manageable “next steps”.

Even if you’re organized, you can feel overwhelmed 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 completing. Unfortunately, the big task isn’t going to go away – truly important tasks rarely do. You may also fear success as much as failure. For example, you may think that success will lead to you being swamped with more requests to do this type of task, or that you’ll be pushed to take on things that you feel are beyond you.

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.”

Step 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you have persistently stopped practising them, so use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of beating procrastination. Some tips 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”!

These general tips will help motivate you to get moving:

  • 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 behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task.
  • Work out the cost of your time to your employer. As your employers are paying you to do the things that they think are important, you’re not delivering value for money if you’re not doing those things. Shame yourself into getting going!

If you’re procrastinating because you’re disorganized, here’s how to get organized!

  • Keep a To-Do list so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.
  • Become a master of scheduling and project planning, so that you know when to start those all-important projects.
  • Set yourself time-bound goals: that way, you’ll have no time for procrastination!
  • 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!

 

Of course, as always, the tips are only good if you follow them! So today I’ll get started on a task I’ve been putting off, doing just a small part of the task is at least a step in the right direction.