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5 Ways to Beat Procrastination!

5 Ways to Beat Procrastination!

I’m so bad at procrastination I’m almost good at it. I’ve procrastinated my way out of a lot of really important things I came to regret later. I know I’m not alone. Every day ordinary people, just like you and me, put themselves into terrible situations because they lack the ability to overcome procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate?

The reasons for procrastination are fairly simple. We do it to avoid pain. Anticipation of fear and anxiety are powerful motivators. They cripple our decision making process and lead us to to try and find relief in whatever form we can, ice cream, video games, napping, organizing our lint ball collections. The problem is these solutions are not only temporary but they’re often make things worse than if we were just to face the pain head on. So what can be done about it? Is there anyway to get out from under the crushing weight of procrastination?

1- The do nothing approach

At the heart of procrastination is making difficult decisions. Procrastinate long enough and eventually those decisions will be made for you. Problem solved!… or is it?

Best advice: While this approach may alleviate the need for decision making it’s a terrible way to go through life. Living a life without being able to make your own decisions will rob you of all the joy life has to offer. Avoid this solution at all costs.

2- Understanding what motivates you

It’s important to understand what motivates your decision making process. The sooner you can recognize the real reason you avoid making difficult decisions the sooner you can find a better process.

I once stood in a grocery store for 15 minutes trying to decide between salad dressings. Yes, you read that correctly, salad dressing. As I stood there transfixed, like a deer in the headlights, looking at the all different brands, I realized it wasn’t about the salad dressing at all. My mind was exhausted and I was tired of making decisions. I was preoccupied with all that was going on in my life at that particular moment. I had more work then I could handle with a needy client who was demanding every second of my time. I had a houseful of guests arriving in two days and my house was trashed. Any free time I had was dedicated to driving the family shuttle bus. As a result I was so stressed out my decision making process simply decided to shut down, right there in the grocery store, in aisle 5 in front of the salad dressing.

Best advice: Often times when we have difficult decisions our heads are already so full of clutter that our mind needs a break, causing us to procrastinate. Lighten your load. Learn to recognize when you are stressed. Attempt to untangle situations one at a time. Start with the simplest and work your way up the ladder. Decluttering your life will go a long way toward dealing with avoidance behavior.

3- One bite at a time

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Tasks that seem overwhelming are often a huge source of procrastination. Nobody wants to face an insurmountable task. Breaking a project down into small easy to manage tasks makes procrastination much less likely.

Getting started is the most difficult part. Making it easier to get started goes a long way toward completing your goal. Let’s take a quick look at the math. I have one week to complete my deadline. I have 7 tasks. If I do one task per day I will finish in 7 days.

Best advice: The trick to making this method successful is discipline and consistency. Setting up a measured reward system is a great way to make sure everything stays on track. Once You complete a task take some time to relax, and do what your mind wants to do when it procrastinates. Play a game, binge watch an episode of your favorite show or just zone out before you start on the next task.

*Disclaimer- no actual animals were hurt in the completion of this article. I’ve never eaten an elephant nor do I intend to, it’s just an expression. Please do not try this at home.

4- Burnout

My worst procrastination shows up when I’m overworked. The last thing I want to do at that moment is sit down and do more work. I’ll do anything to avoid it and tasks that should only take 20 minutes end up taking hours.

Best advice: The best way to deal with burnout-procrastination is avoid it in the first place. Learn to manage your time. Know when to say no. The only person in control of your time is you. If you’re feeling tired, overworked and burnt out it’s time to take control and advocate for yourself. Guard your time carefully and do not give it away freely. Learn to say, no. If it’s too late and you’re absolutely committed make sure to schedule breaks and remember the pain you are feeling right now the next time you are about to say, yes.

5- Accountability

We are much more likely to reach our goals when we are accountable. If you’re having trouble completing a task make yourself accountable or find a friend who will help. If you know someone is counting on you it’s much harder to make excuses.

Best advice: Make sure your goals mean something and make sure you are accountable. If you’re having trouble sticking to it use the buddy system. Answering for your actions makes follow through much more likely

Procrastination is not a hopeless cause. There are many ways to deal with it. If you’ve found something that works well for you please feel free to share it with us.