Firstly, I should say that I've been meaning to write this article for a while...
You see, procrastination can sneak up on us at any moment. Whenever we think "that can wait until tomorrow", "I'll just have a quick look at what's happening on Facebook", "I can't even think about starting on that, until I have sorted all the files out" or (fill in your own excuse).
For the most part, procrastination isn't about being lazy or unmotivated it's really that we have some resistance to the task at hand. If you are someone who procrastinates and I asked you to walk across the room, pick up the £1000 sitting there and use it however you like - no strings attached. Would you procrastinate about starting to walk? Probably not. If that's the case then procrastination must be about what we are undertaking. So here some tips to help you stop procrastinating.
Ask yourself good questions
Make sure you don't ask yourself "why" you are procrastinating as this can cause your brain to go into a childlike state - e.g. "just because I can". Your questions should start something like:
- What's causing you to shy away from this task?
- What are the consequences of not doing what you should be doing at this point?
- How is not doing this helping to achieve my goal?
Have a goal and plan how to get there
I know this doesn't sound like anything to do with procrastination but it really is. As someone who spent years without a goal, I found many, many ways to procrastinate. I used to say that "planning feels restrictive" or "I'm really a free spirit, you know". It was only when my coach pointed out the language I was using that I realised that this was all an excuse.
- Write out your goal every day - I'm not talking about your five, ten or fifteen-year goal (although it wouldn't hurt) What is your goal for the week, month or quarter?
- List three tasks that need to be completed today that will take you towards your goal.
- Plan your day so that those three tasks get done first.
- Hold yourself accountable - what happens if you don't achieve them? What is your reward if you do?
- And do it every day (don't put it off until tomorrow)
This article has really only touched the surface of procrastination, but I hope that it has given you a couple of ideas to consider so that you become more productive.