We all deal with procrastination from time to time. It may be just one task or maybe everything on your task list for the entire day, either way procrastination is part of human nature. The big question is why do we do it?
Often times when we’re procrastinating a task, we feel like we’re just being lazy, yet in reality, we usually put off a task that we have some sort of aversion to. We believe it will be difficult to accomplish so we don’t want to try or we think it might be boring and we’d rather do something else so we allow ourselves to become distracted.
Ultimately, avoiding the task is causing stress because it’s always in the back of your mind, nagging at you to get it done. As we all know, stress can lead to health issues, poor sleep habits, and even low performance habits on our other tasks. Procrastination can even lead to lowering your self-esteem because you feel guilt or shame for constantly putting something off.
All in all, overcoming procrastination is good for your health, your self-esteem, and your work performance in other areas. Here are a few great tips for getting over it and getting the job done:
Shift Your Focus
Instead of focusing on the task itself, focus on why you need to get it done. Will it help you earn more money? Feel better about yourself? Feel more organized? For instance, if you’ve been putting off cleaning out your attic, think about how great you’ll feel when it’s finally done. Plus, selling any unused items will put a little extra cash in your bank account. When you focus on the why of what you’re putting off, you’ll be able to see it in a whole new light that may motivate you to finally get to work.
Instead of writing it on a generic task list for “someday” as “someday” is not on the calendar, put the task on your calendar. Block time for it. Then stick to your schedule and work on the project when it pops up. Keep the appointment with yourself to get it done.
Break It Down
If the task is a big one, you may be procrastinating because you think you have to do it all at once and it will take too much time. Instead, break it down into smaller tasks. Back to the example of cleaning out your attic, don’t schedule an entire day to work on it, schedule one hour on a Saturday morning and work on just one section. Then the following weekend, schedule another hour and work on another section. Little by little you’ll see progress and continue to be motivated to move forward. You can eat an elephant one bite at a time!
Turn Off Distractions
While working on the task that you’ve been putting off, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by phone calls, emails, or social media. Turn them all off and stay focused for the short period of time that you’re working. Don’t worry; the world won’t end while you’re away from your phone for an hour.
We all love rewards and treats! If you’ve been putting something off for a long time, think about how you can reward yourself for getting it done. Something you’ll look forward to. Maybe you’ll go out to your favorite restaurant for dinner once the attic is finally clean. Or maybe you’ll take the rest of the day off when you finish that one thing you’ve been putting off all day. Give yourself a reason to get it done.
Procrastination is normal, yet don’t allow it to control you. Get a handle on it instead and work through it so you can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when the job is done.
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