Most people procrastinate from time to time. Some people excel at procrastinating and could win an Olympic medal for their abilities. If you fall into the category of “an excellent procrastinator,” then it is time to reverse it. Unless you learn not to put off tasks, you may even read tons of material on 90-day goal setting and then keep saying to yourself, “absolutely, when I get up tomorrow, I am going to spend the whole day goal planning.” And then do it the next day and the day after that.
When you look at a healthcare professional’s idea of why we procrastinate, the first thing that they mention is, people put off unpleasant tasks because they are uncomfortable about something. While that is true, it is a simplification. People also put off things that are not difficult. It is part of the mindset that has developed over the last 50 years. The world is so hectic, that the little voice in the background whispers to the person, “hey, you’re tired, there are 150 television channels you could be surfing right now.” The beehive activity that we face on a daily basis, leads us to look for any reason to put off not only difficult tasks but items that may even bring us a bit of pleasure…just not enough pleasure to get us to move.
There are more extreme reasons for procrastinating. People who suffer from anxiety or a lack of self-confidence will procrastinate in order to avoid painful experiences like believing they will not understand how to complete a task or that they will fail, so why even bother trying. This avoidance needs to fix pronto, in order to move forward in life with a positive attitude and knowing that they deserve to succeed.
Overcoming procrastination will be a habit that needs to build. Hourly, daily and weekly, you will have to put an alert into your brain, to give you a signal when procrastination starts to occur. We will look at ways to overcome this issue and let’s start with the easiest one. It is so simple, it may even sound silly but give it a try. When you mentally tell yourself, “I need to start planning and writing my 90-day goals,” and you immediately think that going for ice cream might help get you in the mood…try a simple suggestion. Tell yourself that you are going to procrastinate right now…on procrastinating. That’s right, you are going to put off procrastinating and maybe you will procrastinate tomorrow. Give it a try and in the meantime, here is a list of other methods:
- The best thing you can do for yourself is to train your brain to do the complete opposite. You procrastinate, and you do it well. Try this instead. As soon as you wake up, think of the hardest, most unpleasant task you need to do and do it right away. You will get a tremendous blast of energy and train your brain to react in this way will set you on the path to success.
- If the method above is just too shocking for you to even try, then go for this method. Wake up, pick a task and do it for 3-5 minutes. Need to make calls? Then pick up the phone and blast them out. Reward yourself with a hot cup of coffee and do another round of 3-5 minutes. Have a long hot massaging shower and yes, do another 3-5 minutes. The next day goes for 5-10 minutes, doing your calls or whatever you picked. Perhaps it was writing, and you just keep putting it off. In some Kindle writing groups, they call this method, “sprinting.” They blast out words for 20 minutes straight, then have a reward and blast away again and they tell each other in the group that they are in the sprint…going as fast as they can.
- Your mind can take anything and make it seem bigger than it is. Have you heard a noise in your house and then you start thinking about it? You wonder if it’s the wind or something about to break down. Suddenly you jump to the idea that it might be a robber or worse, attempting to get into the house. You take a simple noise and blow it up it to a full-blown disaster. Procrastination can be similar in that you think about a task and suddenly it becomes a monster. It will eat you alive, so it is better to turn on Netflix and tomorrow, well tomorrow it will seem easier because you are going to relax all day and you will be so rested tomorrow. Tomorrow you will slay that dragon. Stop blowing tasks up into mythical proportions. One step at a time and get it done.