How to Beat Procrastination
The funny thing about procrastination is that its appearance is actually quite telling about what’s going on in our minds.
We come up with all sorts of excuses in times of procrastination, all of which feel very real to us, but we also need to push through those barriers if we want to experience progress.
Here are just some of the most common reasons people procrastinate:
- The task is mundane, boring and unenjoyable
- The task isn’t a good use of my time
- I don’t know how to do it
- Now isn’t the right time
- It feels too risky
- I don’t want to do it
- There isn’t enough money
- There isn’t enough time
- I don’t understand the task fully
- There’s plenty of time before the deadline
If any of those reasons spring to mind, it’s not a failure of any kind. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as it’s an opportunity to assess, realign and move on.
By putting things off, we may think we’re protecting ourselves from the discomfort of our excuses in the hope that the situation will change sometime soon and that it’ll then be the right time.
The thing is, there is never a good time and the time is always now.
And let’s start with whatever you’re procrastinating about right now:
Write It Down
Write down what it is you need to do from a big picture perspective and the smaller tasks associated with getting the task at hand done.
Take time to reflect on why you keep putting it off as that’ll help determine the next step. Quite often we find answers when we least expect them, so take a while to switch off from this task – take a walk, practise meditation, do whatever you’d normally do to unwind and allow your subconscious mind to mull the situation over for a little while.
Looking back on the most common reasons for procrastination, now let’s work out what next step could be for each one:
- The task is mundane, boring and unenjoyable → outsource
- The task isn’t a good use of my time → outsource
- I don’t know how to do it → learn or outsource
- Now isn’t the right time → review time available and diarise
- It feels to risky → assess risk and generate alternative options
- I don’t want to do it → outsource
- There isn’t enough money → assess financial investment and generate alternative options
- There isn’t enough time → review time available and diarise, plus draw on other resources through outsourcing if necessary
- I don’t understand the task fully → ask for further clarification
- There’s plenty of time before the deadline → create a self-imposed deadline and stay accountable
Some people procrastinate because they are simply driven by deadlines. If that’s the case, stay accountable by creating a self-imposed deadline and then tell someone about it so you stick to it. High achievers who are successful in business won’t miss a deadline, so whether they’re task-driven or deadline-driven irrelevant when the task is complete.
Although we are all likely to experience procrastination at some point, there’s a lot to be learned from tuning into the emotions surrounding the experience.
So start to take the above action now and your future self will thank you for it.