Procrastination is a dilemma we’re all familiar with. We often delay doing important tasks and waste our hours away on mundane activities that don’t generally add value to our lives. We know it’s a bad habit, but we can’t seem to shake it off.
Now what to do when you realize you have become a chronic procrastinator? Self-awareness is the first step to beating procrastination and finally making that change. Being in denial won’t get you anywhere. Once you accept the reality that procrastination brings you nothing but stress, disappointment, and regret, you will be much more motivated to overcome this dangerous habit.
There are different strategies you can implement in your life now to stop procrastination. Here are five actionable steps that you can take to beat procrastination.
1. Break down your task into smaller parts.
One major reason why people put off an important project or task is that it seems to be too overwhelming to do. However, that perception is not always true. At times it could be because you’re juggling a lot of things such as work, chores and family obligations that you find it hard to focus.
Breaking down your task into small, manageable chunks will help you tackle it with more confidence and efficiency. Even if you feel you don’t have enough time to finish the job, it’s okay as long as you do it one chunk at a time. This way you will gain momentum which will fuel your desire to do more. You won’t find the job overwhelming anymore and soon, you’ll finally be able to tick it off your to-do list.
2. Identify the causes of your procrastination.
Beating procrastination is difficult with distractions around us. Instead of immediately working on a significant task for the day, you end up spending hours mindlessly browsing the web and social media. To overcome this, it’s important to muster self-discipline and put away your phone or other distractions when working. Schedule a particular time to check your messages, and start your day by reviewing your goals or doing valuable activities instead of checking into the online world.
The environment also plays a crucial role in our productivity. Check your workstation or room if it’s conducive enough for work or if it encourages you to procrastinate. It may help to change your environment when you’re no longer inspired to accomplish things.
3. Forgive yourself.
It is easy to beat yourself up when you repeatedly fail to do something you’ve long been trying to achieve. This is not only unproductive but can also lead to negative feelings and beliefs about yourself. You need to forgive yourself for your past failures in order to gain the confidence to do the task at hand.
Being kind to yourself is vital in overcoming procrastination. It doesn’t mean you’ll be complacent and stay in the cycle of procrastination. It only means you acknowledge your weakness as part of your humanity. At the same time, you recognize that you have the personal power to take action and reclaim your life no matter your failures.
4. Get an accountability buddy.
You can only do so much when it comes to beating procrastination. You also need the help of other people around you, especially those with whom you share mutual love and respect. Seek an accountability buddy who understands and believes in your goals. You can avoid procrastination when you have someone who regularly checks on you and reminds you of your goals in one or several areas of your life. You can even make a bet with your accountability partner to make the process of overcoming procrastination and creating good habits fun and exciting.
5. Create a reward system.
Having a reward system is an effective way to beat procrastination. Studies show that our brain responds to reward stimulus. This means that you’ll be more motivated to start something when you have something to look forward to after partly or fully accomplishing the task.
For instance, you can treat yourself out to your favorite restaurant if you have finished a chapter of the book you’re working on. Or if you’re trying to lose weight and you’ve reached your target weight for that month, you can call up a friend and celebrate your success. Giving yourself a reward of some sort for a job well done makes you more energized and enthusiastic to try accomplishing more things.
With the guidance and support of a coach, you can get an action plan to overcome procrastination and become more productive.
Business Coach, Author, Artist & CEO
310.372.8538 | Ralph@Consulting2Win.com
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