We’re all guilty of it. No matter how negatively it impacts our lives, whether at home, school or work, we can’t seem to stop doing it. There are personality and individual differences for each person’s procrastinating habits. But, for most people, this seems to be a recurring factor in regular daily life. Fighting against this habit almost always ends in a losing battle. But rather than going toe-to-toe up against your habits, there are ways that you can instead deal with and overcome these impulses, and conquer procrastination.
Beating procrastination doesn’t necessarily mean you are never going to do it again. It’s almost become a part of our human behaviour that we regularly and actively put off doing what needs to get done. Instead, focus on learning skills to overcome any tendencies to delay completing tasks based on the individual differences that trigger these habits.
Here are some strategies for overcoming procrastination that you can implement in your daily routine:
1. Make things so easy you can’t fail
Succeeding at overcoming procrastination means setting yourself up for success from the start. Whether you’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm, or a hefty project waiting to get done, make the first thing you check off so easy that it’s almost impossible to fail.
Just getting started is usually the hardest part of overcoming these patterns, so try adding something simple to the top of your to-do list, such as:
✓ Turn the radio on
✓ Make a pot of coffee
✓ Get dressed
Once you’ve got this first task out of the way, you’re ready to move onto the rest!
2. Just start
You’re trying to tackle a project, but you’re trying to plan things out and can’t figure out where to start. Stop planning, stop thinking, just start – anywhere. Start the beginning, start at a part of the project you know you can accomplish right away, start with the most fun part of it. The key is to just get started, because it just takes that momentum to get things started. Don’t overthink things because when you overthink, you start to doubt and, when you doubt, you aren’t motivated to start. Even if you don’t end up using anything you start with, the most important part is that you STARTED.
3. Block out the time wasters
If you know certain things will distract you and waste your time, block them out while you’re working. Set aside some separate time to waste with those things, but while you’re on task you want to avoid these excuses to postpone getting things done. Especially when you are working on your computer or have your phone nearby, it can be hard to stay away from time wasters like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. A part of setting yourself up for success includes avoiding those things you know will cause you to actively procrastinate. If you just can’t control yourself, an app like Freedom can help by blocking all of these for the time block you specify.
4. Create a list
It’s sometimes hard to remember all of the things you’ve got to get done. And, if you have been procrastinating on a number of tasks, when you’re finally motivated to get started, the last thing you want to do is waste even more time trying to remember what needs to be done or figure out where to get started. Don’t rely on your memory to keep track of everything. Write it down and keep that list where you’ll see it often. And don’t put off writing your list – take a look at #1 on this list – make your list the first, impossible-to-fail-at thing you do, right now.
5. Add value to the objective
Generally, if we aren’t getting something done and aren’t motivated to even start, it’s because we can’t see the value in the end result. Take some time to think about the goal you’re working towards and consider what would result if that goal was never accomplished. If you are trying to write a business proposal, what would happen if you didn’t – would you get those investors to buy into your business? Would your business success be stalled or falter without the business proposal? Putting more value on what your end goal is can help motivate you to get started and complete the task.
6. Forgiving yourself
You aren’t always going to be able to overcome or stop procrastinating. And, sometimes it’s not even about conquering this habit – sometimes things just aren’t possible to get done or are actually really hard to do. Don’t have negative emotions or dwell on the fact that you didn’t get something done. Start by forgiving yourself, then get over it, go back to the top of this list, and start over again.
Conquering procrastination will take some time, as you are building new habits and learning skills to stop yourself from falling into the same patterns. Implementing these strategies for overcoming procrastination can go a long way in making progress towards getting your to-do list checked off.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
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