As writers we are well known for procrastinating on projects even those with tight deadlines. Follow these tips to help end procrastination.
The fact is, every single one of us procrastinates or has procrastinated at some time or another. Procrastination can add an element of excitement and motivation to a project or goal by making you rush against a deadline. Some people truly work better under this type of pressure. But if procrastination is just another way that you tend to self-sabotage, it’s a bad habit that serves no good purpose in your life! Best to just try to get rid of procrastination altogether.
There are lots of different methods and techniques that people use to end procrastination, but remember that since procrastination is a habit, changing that habit and replacing it with more positive habits takes time. Consistency is the key here, as consistently practicing the new habits will lead to them being the preferred choice when you have a decision to make – to procrastinate or not to procrastinate.
Chronic procrastination can cause all kinds of problems in both your personal and your professional lives. Imagine how your spouse feels when they’ve been hoping that you’ll do something that needs to be done, but you don’t do it. And how about the fights that happen because they go and do whatever it is themselves? At work, maybe there’s a project you’re working on that needs to be wrapped up, but because you fear you’re not knowledgeable enough, you continue to put it off until there is simply no way that you can complete it. Procrastination causes you to feel guilty, worried, fearful and stressed. And, it is a choice you make.
We’d like to give you some quality ammunition in your war against procrastination. To that end, we’ll discuss 18 different tips, techniques, and tactics to help end procrastination in your life – permanently! Add a few of these to your daily, weekly, or monthly routines, and watch your productivity skyrocket because you’ve chosen not to procrastinate. We think you’ll be amazed at the results you get.
1. Write down a list of the tasks you’ve been putting off. Keep this list in front of you, because “out of sight is out of mind.” Tackle each task, one by one, with intense focus, until you begin to see a reduction in the number of things on your list. Just crossing things off of a to-do list can be incredibly motivating. It’s a visual reminder that you really got to work and did what you were supposed to do.
2. Decide whether your procrastination is coming from fear, anger, or sadness. This might be uncomfortable for you, but will help you get to the heart of why you procrastinate. The reasons are different for everyone, and they may run very deep. Even things that happened to you during childhood can create a tendency toward procrastination. So examine these feelings closely.
3. When you’ve finally pinpointed the emotion behind your procrastination, do something physically dramatic to get rid of it. For instance, if you’re angry because you need to do something you don’t like doing, go punch a punching bag or a pillow, or grab a thick, dead tree branch and beat it on the ground. Doing this gets rid of the pent-up emotion and makes it easier for you to move forward, unencumbered by that emotion.
4. Learn to identify negative thoughts about a task, and when you have a negative thought, stop and turn it around into something positive. There is always a silver lining to every cloud – you just need to be able to perceptualize it.
5. Take the tasks you’re putting off, and break them down into more easily accomplished steps. It’s far easier to stay focused on small tasks than enormous goals, so breaking down your project will allow you to get much more done.
6. Allow yourself rewards for each step you accomplish – even the little ones. Figure out what motivates you, personally, and set up a timeline wherein if you accomplish a step on schedule, you obtain the reward. This is an excellent way to retrain your brain to see action as very motivating.
7. Expect the unexpected, and prepare for inevitable obstacles along the way. Look at the tasks you’ve broken down, and figure out where the holes are and what could go wrong. When you’re prepared, you’re much more able to deal with setbacks.
8. Expect to feel resistance to doing your tasks. You’ll feel tired, or in a bad mood, you’ll get a headache, or something will miraculously happen that puts you off the course of your intended goal. Don’t let any of those mind monkeys take hold. See them for what they are, and respond accordingly by staying on-task.
9. Let yourself feel good when you accomplish a task that’s on your list. Getting work done simply feels good. It’s satisfying. Allow yourself to bask in that satisfaction, and that feeling will spur you on in moments where you’re less-than-motivated. Celebrate your wins!
10. Make others aware of your goals. The more people who know what you’re goals are, the more motivated you’ll be to accomplish them. They’ll inevitably ask you about the goals you’ve told them about, and knowing that will happen will keep you on-track and moving forward because you’ll want to be able to give excellent progress reports!
11. Change the physical place where you work when you’re working on your goals. Create a workspace that inspires you, not one that makes you want to go and take a nap. And when you do change your environment, know that the “inspiration” will wear off after awhile, and you’ll need to do it again. Change it up, and create motivation where there wasn’t any!
12. Create a calendar specifically for your big goals. Write down deadlines. Then write down smaller goals and tasks, and the dates you’d like to have those done on. Create a complete timeline for the project at hand. This is going to tell you whether you’re on track at a glance and will help you plan for upcoming tasks so that you’re ready for them. It’ll also motivate you when you see days, and their subsequent tasks marked off.
13. Eliminate all distractions as often as possible while you’re working on your tasks. That means logging off of Facebook and other social media sites, locking yourself off the internet (unless, of course, being on the internet is necessary for you to complete the task at hand), and turning off your phone and email. Trust me, no one is going to absolutely have to get ahold of you right at this very minute. Eliminating distractions is one of the most powerful ways you can increase your productivity. Make it easy for yourself to get work done by allowing yourself the room to focus exclusively on the task.
14. Surround yourself with those who inspire you, and are at a higher level than you are. By doing this, you’ll strive to reach their level, and you’ll also get a first-hand look at how they work, what they do, and how they think. Hanging around inspiring people will influence your behavior and motivate you!
15. Get an accountability partner. Seek out someone who has similar goals as you do, and you’ll learn a lot from each other along the way. Having someone to be accountable to will help you stay on track, stay motivated, and work out problems when you come up against road blocks. It also helps if you have different skill sets, so you can learn techniques from each other for things you may not already know how to do.
16. Is there someone you know who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish? Connect with them, and let them know why you’re doing so. Seeing someone doing what you want to do and living the way you want to live is incredibly motivating, and you’ll learn from them, too.
17. If procrastination seems to be chronic, maybe your goals need to be reviewed. They may not be in line with where you want to be any longer, and you may need to change them to match the work you’re doing. Consider what you want to achieve, what it’s going to take to get there, and whether doing what you’re currently doing is going to get the job done. If the answer is no, realign your actions with your goals.
18. Become acutely aware of your perfectionism and where it thwarts your forward momentum. You may think perfectionism makes you do a better job, but it’s far more likely that you overcomplicate and overthink your tasks so that they’re never really complete. Work to end perfectionism in your life, and you’ll be simply amazed at how much you’re able to accomplish.
What it really boils down to is that you need to simply do it. Do whatever it takes to motivate, pressure, or cajole yourself into doing it, but get it done whatever it happens to be. The only cure for your inaction (procrastination) is you taking action, and we think you’ll find that once you start getting used to being in action, procrastination seems like a waste of time.