‘My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.’-Charles Dickens.
WE HAVE ALL DONE IT!
Procrastinated when we had to get something done or start something new.
We procrastinate because:
- We can’t make a decision.
- The activity, task or assignment is too large and complex.
- We are afraid to fail or disappoint someone.
- The timing isn’t perfect.
- The finished product needs to be perfect and so we delay.
- We just don’t feel like starting.
- We may not understand the task, exercise, or assignment.
- It’s not a pleasant or enjoyable experience.
Speaking as a chronic procrastinator in my past, I thought procrastinating or delaying an assignment, task, exercise, or goal would make me feel better, at least for the short term.
But, over time it damaged my ability to get things done.
As a result, procrastinating became a habit and part of who I was for years.
I realized over time that it was killing my productivity, sucking my energy levels and I felt powerless because procrastination was in control.
THE PROCRASTINATION SELF ASSESSMENT
But, after completing a self-reflection exercise that included identifying when and why I was procrastinating, I noticed a pattern.
I procrastinated when I was STRESSED and OVERWHELMED.
I recommend the following procrastination audit.
Take out your journal.
You’re going to be performing a procrastination self-assessment.
Assign each of the statements below with a numerical value based upon the following scale:
1 = Strongly Disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Neutral
4 = Agree
5 = Strongly Agree
- I have a habit of putting off important tasks that I do not enjoy doing.
- I am unable to meet deadlines because I am unsatisfied with my work.
- I spend more time planning my activities than doing them.
- The chaos in my study space makes it hard to do my work.
- The people I live with distract me from doing my work.
- I have more energy for my tasks if I wait until the last minute.
- I enjoy the excitement of “living on the edge.”
- I have trouble prioritizing my responsibilities.
- Having to meet a deadline makes me nervous.
- My biggest problem is that I do not know how to get started.
Assessing the Results
If you agree or strongly agree with… :
1-2 Questions: You do not have a major problem with procrastination.
3-5 Questions: You have moderate difficulties with procrastination.
6 or More Questions: You have a serious problem with procrastination.
*Source: University of Idaho
‘If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done’-Bruce Lee
Before I provide 3 big ideas on how to beat procrastination, consider doing this first:
Forgive yourself for procrastinating!
‘Forgiving yourself for procrastinating can help you overcome negative feelings about the work you put off in the past, so you can more easily approach future tasks’-Stashed-
If you are a chronic procrastinator and have been kicking yourself for wasting tons of time, forgive yourself and move forward.
There is never going to be a perfect moment to do it.
If you are waiting for the stars to align so you will be in a great position to start that task, goal, or dream, it will never happen.
NOW is the best time to start – even if the moment is imperfect and not exactly where you want it to be.
3 BIG IDEAS ON HOW TO OUTSMART PROCRASTINATION:
1. THINK BIG – START SMALL
When you are procrastinating because you can’t make a decision, my recommendation is to start off small.
Begin by doing less than you are capable of doing, so you can gather and celebrate small wins.
When a task or goal is too big, it can become intimidating and burdensome.
For some, just getting started on a task, goal or assignment can be paralyzing.
Goal to lose 50 pounds in one year.
Create a mini-goal every day that you know you can accomplish.
- Day One: Drink 1 sugary drink instead of 3.
- Day Two: Spend 20 mins exercising at the gym or walking outside.
- Day Three: Eat one healthy snack.
By making the threshold low in the beginning, you are setting yourself up to win.
Eventually, you will feel good with your micro wins which will motivate you to push harder.
For example: Increase exercise to 30 minutes because you are making progress.
This will help you get unstuck because you are rigging the goal in your favour by creating mini-tasks and tiny wins.
Take action every day in the smallest way!
You will see and feel daily improvement, which will give you the motivation and momentum to get better and better.
For more big ideas on the topic of MOTIVATION, refer to my blog called ‘Powershift your Motivation’ by selecting the link below:
‘Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases to success.’-Wayne Gretzky
2. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT PLANNING
Some of us procrastinate in the moment because we are unfocused and lack energy.
As a result, we do nothing because we feel overwhelmed or stressed.
We have not mapped out how or when we are going to get things done.
If you have a large activity, assignment or task that has a deadline, I recommend incorporating an intentional ‘planning’ exercise into your days and weeks.
- Evening Ritual: Take 5-10 mins at the end of each work day and write/record your tasks that need to be completed for the next day as it relates to an assigned activity, project, or assignment.
- Early Morning Ritual: Take 10 mins to review the tasks documented from the night before. Visualize and affirm the steps that need to take place.
- Sunday Evening Ritual: Take 20 minutes planning your week, specifically on what tasks, appointments, or meetings you can move, shift, or remove to ensure you spend time on your assignment, project, goal, or task.
In some cases, procrastination can be due to a lack of planning and focus.
Get out of the thinking loop (which is a time-waster) by installing the habit of thoughtful weekly planning.
My book recommendation this week is by Hayden Finch.
His book is called The Psychology of Procrastination: Understand Your Habits, Find Motivation & Get Things Done.
It provides knowledge about understanding why you procrastinate and what triggers the voluntary delay in getting things done.
You can find the book on Amazon, by clicking on the link below:
‘Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin’-Victor Kiam.
3. SOCIALIZE YOUR AGENDA/GOAL WITH OTHER PEOPLE
This can be a scary suggestion for some. But, in most cases, you will show up because it’s harder to procrastinate when you have verbalized your goal/agenda with someone else.
I believe that if you don’t affirm by sharing with other people, the idea/task/goal/project is just in your head.
In most cases, talking it through with someone will make you want to do it more.
Trusted people can become your social cheerleaders and provide encouragement, accountability, and momentum.
Don’t keep it to yourself because you are worried about how it will look or if others will pass judgement.
If you do, procrastination might rear its ugly head and you will embed this disempowering habit even further into your consciousness.
Procrastination can be managed or even defeated by taking control of the habit.
You can do this by:
- Thinking Big and Starting Small
- Being Intentional About Planning
- Socializing Your agenda with Other People
Forgive yourself for not meeting your deadline or accomplishing your tasks in the past.
The habit of not forgiving yourself can make you fearful and trigger stress and more procrastination habits.
In addition, make sure to reward yourself when you have completed an important activity or shared your agenda or goal with others.
All of these recommendations will help stop the procrastination habit so you can start living!
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder