You have a to-do list, short-term and long-term goals. You want things to happen. You want to see yourself on the other side but somehow feel unable, decapacitated to take the first step, or any step, forward or backward! You know, you have got to move. You see people going farther and farther. But somehow, you end up staying there.
This ‘somehow’ is what is holding you back. Laying off things for later! It’s not that straightforward, and it’s not that complicated either! The more you lay off, the more difficult it gets to take them on.
We will be getting the control over life back today! Let’s see what tips and strategies you can use to deal with and prevent procrastination:
1. Spot your reason for procrastination out!
Let’s see why do you procrastinate in the first place?
- You don’t feel motivated enough.
- Fear of failure
- Fear of what people think and speak.
- Self-sabotage: you don’t think you deserve the outcome.
- You are a perfectionist, and you put things back until you are sure that every bit of the job will go perfect.
- You are obsessed with the outcome. And it is the only thing that matters to you. The effort it takes to achieve your goals seems secondary.
- Hedonistic Delay: Giving in to the desire for instant gratification or the present mood. We know that comes at the expense of our precious long-term goals!
Or you may have a wholly different reason why you procrastinate. It may not be holding many other people back, and it may seem ridiculous to you at times. But trust me, it’s fine. The following is what’s supposed to make sense for you.
I won’t be wrong if I say that, in effect, that you have taken two steps ahead! First, one being the identification of the core issue, which is procrastination. And then, if you have picked out the reason or a bunch of reasons why you procrastinate. Only now will your efforts be more streamlined and focused on the real issue!
2. Use the morning spell
Are you opting for the enjoyable tasks instead of the more important ones that will make an actual difference in you going closer to your goals? And your mind makes it look like you are too occupied to take up the urgent tasks! Yes, you are busy, but you are not getting any closer to achieving your goals!
This loop will repeat itself every day until you take a stand. Schedule your day beforehand. Wake up early. Put your urgent task on the top of the day. They say, ‘Eat that frog!’ Get it done with it first, and indulge in the easy-peasy ones all day!
By the way, they also say, ‘eat that elephant beetle!’ first thing, every day!
3. Get yourself a routine and let it happen itself
You should have a clear idea of your priority tasks so that you address them accordingly in your Daily Schedule. Tune your day with a routine of events such as bedtime, wake-up time, meals, work hours, and fun time! And you will see, you will no longer be the one struggling with the Schedule. The routine will take you with it! Your routine is a ramp to your productivity.
And in this routine, fill the ‘work hours’ spot up with your priority tasks. You should know what you are up to the next day. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The Schedule of the day need not be a strict one. No wonder you’ll end up sticking to the routine but getting little actual work done!
4. Give yourself incentives
Procrastination either comes from or comes with self-doubt, feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sometimes self-hatred. A significant step in getting rid of the blocks on your way to success is to be gentle and forgiving to yourself. Set small and achievable goals. And reward yourself for achieving them. But only when you achieve them! Celebrating before getting anything done takes you nowhere closer to your goals!
5. Cut and throw away whatever distracts you
Remember, procrastination is a pattern of behaviour, a loop created by your mind. And distractions are what this loop feeds on!
The task that you have been putting off for so long becomes a more significant and more unpleasant challenge each passing day. And your favourite distractions only flare the situation up! It could be gossiping, television, social media, web surfing, or mobile phone in general. Or you get up to address a small house chore and never come back! Kill all of them before you get to your work table. This becomes even more important when you are studying at home or working from home. Instead, use them as bait for your mind to get some real work done. Use your favourite distraction as an incentive for a chunk of the job done.
For instance, you check the phone for text messages and emails only after getting a certain piece of the job done.
6. Re-educate your mind
Procrastination is an illusion created by your mind, a pattern of conversation that happens whenever you think of taking up that put back important task. And we are struggling to break it. It’s gradual, but it is not far once you identify it and make your mind up to get rid of it.
Rephrase your internal dialogue:
Beware of the self-sabotage. An attitude such as ‘I need to’ or ‘I have to’ gives an impression that you are disempowered or caged. Instead, phrases like ‘I choose to’ and ‘I would rather help take you out of such self-sabotage loops.
Focus on the long game:
Whatever makes you leave the task or makes you believe that you can take it up later or soon but not now, think about the long-term goal you are struggling for. It works every time if your goal is worth giving up the rest for you!
Hold yourself accountable:
Ask a friend or a family member to keep asking you about the urgent task at hand. Ask them to hold you accountable. This way, you get two people to push you to get something done!
Go soft on yourself:
It may seem like repeating. But it is really important. Start with getting up early and developing a routine. Get small tasks done and reward yourself for them. Forgive yourself for the time you have lost. Timings may deviate from the Schedule you made. It’s okay! It won’t happen the next day.
Procrastination is a state of mind that may have roots in depression, perfectionist personality, lack of motivation, self-sabotage, or excessive distractions. You may need to pick strategies and ways up from the above list that suits your personal, unique procrastinating state of mind!