Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”~ William James
Everyone’s done it. At some point or another, you’ve put it off, pushed it back, waited, hoped, bargained, delayed, agonized, and in the eleventh hour, at the last moment, finally broke down and just got it done!
Why do we procrastinate?
We all recognize the pattern of procrastination and have experienced the agony and anguish that goes with it, so why don’t we simply stop procrastinating and just get things done? We usually procrastinate because the task at hand seems overwhelming, difficult or boring, or the deadline is just too far away.
Studies have shown that people who procrastinate experience higher levels of guilt, stress, anxiety, and frustration. It also takes up a huge amount of mental energy and bandwidth. Whatever you’re not doing, sits there in the back of your mind, nagging at you. You’ll probably spend more time worrying and obsessing about it than if you had just been able to focus and get it done.
Here are 7 steps to help you beat procrastination.
Give yourself a break
You’re never going to stop procrastinating all together, but set a limit on how much. Instead of sitting down to binge 5 episodes of your favorite show, limit it to 1 and then get back to work!
Remember the reward
Why are you doing this? Is it to pass a class? Get a degree? Make more money? Get a better job? Reminding yourself of what the pay off is can help to motivate you and escalate the task in your own mind.
Break it down
If this is a huge project or something that is going to take days or weeks to complete, decide where to begin; what is the first step or the next step? Do that. The sense of accomplishment will help to spur you forward.
Take micro breaks to stop procrastinating
If the thought of sitting down and grinding it out for 5 hours doesn’t light you up, give yourself permission to take micro breaks. Get up and walk away for 1-2 minutes at a time. It’ll help to clear your thoughts, decompress your mind, and allow your body some much needed movement.
Commit to no nagging
I have a very firm policy around my place not to nag myself. Whatever the task is, do it or don’t, but nagging is out of the question. If you can’t do whatever it is right now or simply don’t want to, decide when you will do it and stick to the schedule.
“Eat that Frog”
There is a very famous success book with this title by Brian Tracey. The premise is basically to do that yucky thing (eat that frog, if frog eating is on your calendar today!) first thing in the morning. You haven’t had time to be distracted by other pressing matters or life problems, and it starts your day off with a huge sense of accomplishment and relief.
Give yourself a great work environment
We’re all going to be more productive in a work environment that we enjoy just a little bit. For some people that’s a coffee shop and for others a formal desk, while another may prefer the sofa with a candle burning not too far away. Figure out what works best for you and do more of that.
About the Author
Certified Professional Life Coach
Hunter has an M.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. For more than 10 years, she coached clients to find and follow their passion and live their best lives. Hunter has also done youth mentoring work with Covenant House, realizing that this is such a challenging and important time in life.
Full Bio | All Articles | LinkedIn