4 Tips for Addressing Your Procrastination

It’s pretty common for people to procrastinate, whether it’s a small task or a large one, there always seems to be some reason that it’s just not “the right time.” Creative excuses arise when the task at hand is important or difficult. Even if the excuse isn’t a valid one, we can quickly start to believe its importance ourselves.

What’s at the root of all of this avoidance? Why are we holding ourselves back from being effective and productive individuals? What could possibly keep us back from accomplishing the goals before us?

At the heart of it all, we find fear. We fear taking risks and it leading to failure — no one wants to look the fool and wound their pride. Instead, it’s easier to find a distraction that requires very little commitment or real engagement.

All that fear may seem harmless at the time, but as it’s allowed to exist and grow, it becomes an increasingly difficult problem to deal with. Rather than dealing with these fears, we can sometimes just give up on our goal.

Want to stop procrastinating and start being productive? Try these four tactics.

1. Deadlines and Reminders

Physically note or record what you’re trying to accomplish and put a deadline on it. Choose a date and make sure the task is done, no matter what. If it’s written on a piece of paper then pin it up somewhere that you’re going to see it often, like next to your computer monitor or on the fridge. If you think that virtual reminders are going to work better for you, use programs like Asana or Wunderlist that will remind you online. If you use Google Calendar, you can have reminders whether or not you’re even at home.

2. Breaking it Down

A large task can appear daunting at first, and this will automatically trigger feelings of panic. The easiest way to make a task less overwhelming is to break it down into smaller tasks. When you start to work on a task, don’t think of the overall goal before you, think only in terms of the small task you’re doing. Your progress will be easier to track and it will keep you steadily working on the overall goal.

3. Sole Focus

Tasks like checking emails are easy to do and offer us the opportunity to accomplish something, with very minimal effort. It feels good, but normally isn’t very productive. If you focus on breaking things down, you can get a very similar result by accomplishing the “micro tasks” that make up your overall goal.

4. Positive Reinforcement

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself when you complete a step towards your overall goal. You can still feel good and get your work done. If you don’t get your work done on time or continue to procrastinate, then make sure that you’re not allowing yourself that reward. There has to be balance, and you need to be able to genuinely look forward to your reward or there is no real incentive for getting things done.

Using these four tactics will hopefully get you in the right frame of mind, so that you look forward to getting everything done on time, rather than avoiding it. The more you practice, the easier it will become.

Start today — take a few minutes to think about some of the things you’ve been putting off this week. How are you going to get them done? Start by writing down your deadlines and breaking tasks down.

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Image credit: time flies by Robert Couse-Baker | CC By 2.0