If there were a pill we could pop to stop procrastinating and get down to business on all of those unpleasant tasks we should be tackling, we’d all buy in.
Sadly, there is no magic formula for overcoming our human temptation to leave the drudgery until the last possible moment. But a few practical tips will reframe your approach to the tasks you keep putting off and help you get them done.
Does it really matter if we procrastinate and then have to hurry, cram, or pull it all together to meet the deadlines and due dates? You are reading this so you probably think it does matter. Intuitively we know that approaching our tasks, work, or chores in a productive and consistent manner is a better approach.
We want to avoid the stress of the last minute crunch or the penalties associated with our lateness. While some claim they function best under tight deadlines (another excuse for putting off the task), this eleventh hour work is often hasty, tainted by exhaustion, and lacking the benefit of the thoughtful consideration and revision that we might have given it if we’d started a week earlier.
1. Stop Punishing Yourself and Your Work—Stop Procrastinating.
Are you thinking of a few choice tasks in your professional or personal life that you keep putting off?
Perhaps it’s the monthly report, or keeping up with your budget and paying your bills. Whatever it is, you can stop procrastinating with a few simple steps.
2. Get to the Bottom of it.
Ask yourself what is so repellent about the task you have to do. Is it boring and tedious? Is fear involved? Do you feel inadequate for the work?
Try to discern the cause of your aversion. It won’t suddenly make the job appealing, but knowing why you avoid it may help you to approach it more openly and realistically.
3. Change Your Perspective.
Can you embrace it as a challenge to surmount rather than an enemy to run from? Look at for the positive benefits.
Will the job or task that you keep avoiding help you to develop character? Become more organized? Learn something?
4. Take a Gradual Approach.
Rather than claiming you are going to sit at the computer until you have that report finished or every email answered, try breaking up the task into smaller chunks.
List each part that comprises the whole, and then attack the job, piece by piece. Don’t mandate marathon work sessions. Start small. Can you work on it for ten uninterrupted minutes?
5. Get a Buddy.
If you are serious about your desire to stop procrastinating in some area of your life, find an accountability partner. Commit to a time or day by which you will have the work finished, or commit to making a certain amount of progress each day.
If you don’t meet your projected goal for the day, you have to email or text the reason.
Though it may seem that rest of the world is keeping up with all of their chores, boring work assignments, and dirty jobs, realize that even the most productive individual battles procrastination in some area of their lives.
Stop procrastinating by employing the tactics that work best for you and then give yourself the space and time to adopt new, more productive habits. Step by step you’ll be getting it done.
Got more tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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You might also like: How to Beat Procrastination Permanently + Get the Results You Want.