5 Tricks to Stop Sabotaging Yourself with Procrastination
At one point or another, we've all done it. We repeatedly put off finishing that project or establishing that business, just as we postpone our fitness program until tomorrow.
The mother of all monsters, procrastination, can halt your progress toward fulfilling all of your goals.
"A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance." — Hunter S. Thompson
Don't let this be you!
Let's talk about some strategies that will help you defeat this...
How do we define procrastination?
So if we're going to find solutions, we have to be up front about what procrastination really is. As one article in Very Well Mind brilliantly put it:
"form of self-regulation failure characterized by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences."
Why do we procrastinate?
Procrastination could take the form of avoiding boring, unfulfilling, mundane, etc. Maybe this looks like putting off your accounting or taxes until the very last possible minutes because you just know the whole task is going to suck and you don't want to do it. There is an internal resistance with a 'you can't make me!' attitude inside that keeps you from doing something you know you have to do anyway. We know that we have to and we don't want to.
One article in the Washington Post interviewed an expert, a professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield in England, Dr. Fuschia Sirois says there are 3 reasons why we procrastinate:
- What he calls "thrill seekers' who want the last minute adrenaline rush to motivate themselves. Maybe you're one of them or know someone who needs the stress and pressure of the situation and a race against the clock to get it done. But this type of person might also feel overwhelmed afterwards and even regret that they know they could have done better with more time and effort. This might be the person who wakes up at 4 am to write their paper before turning into class at 9 am.
- What he calls 'Avoiders' who don't want to do tasks because they worry about how they will perform the task and be judged for them. This can look like putting off creating a website for your business because you're really worried about what people will think of you. This can also include people who tend to be perfectionist and think that they have to wait until they're 100% ready and can do it 100% perfectly. Unfortunately, as we all know, putting it off until the last minute can lead to even more unhappiness regarding quality because we can't put as much effort in at the last minute as we would have if we had allowed ourselves ample time.
- What he calls 'Indecisives' who avoid making moving forward and making decisions because they have difficulty having more than one choice. The longer they wait, the fewer options they have and the situation will usually choose one option and you might end up losing the others.
"Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him." — Charles Dickens (David Copperfield)
5 Tricks to Stop Your Procrastination
1. Just do it now - yep, NOW
This is going to be the hardest route for many people. Especially when we know we can find a million other things we could do instead to keep our procrastination ball rolling on and on and on.. A poor habit we've probably had for years that's embedded in our subconscious mind is going to make this extremely challenging to overcome but the longer we wait, the harder it is to do - and so we have to stop waiting until the last minute to do things. We just carry on with our course because it seems like the right thing to do. Even the act of finishing a task right away could seem forced or unnatural. Take a deep breath, and just do it.
Make a list, set yourself a block of time or a timer. And DO IT.
You'll be shocked at how something you've been putting off for months can actually be completed in a very short amount of time.
NOW, reward yourself!
Time to start teaching yourself some positive habits to look forward to. Find something to treat yourself with (preferably not food as that creates a dependent habit of emotional eating :) . Give yourself a sticker on your calendar, take a relaxing bath, put a 1 euro coin in a coffee can every time you don't procrastinate.
Decide what you will do with the money in the jar once it fills up.
Will you go on a little holiday?
Do something nice for yourself like a self-care day at the spa?
Buy a new article of clothing?
By instilling a reward system instead of punishing yourself, you'll be able to gauge your progress in a positive way.
Keep yourself positive so you don't fall back into unhelpful habits :D
2. Take baby steps forward
Because the work may be scary to us, we sometimes put things off. It's likely that we don't have the slightest idea of where to begin. It is quite acceptable in these situations to go slowly. For example, let's say you're writing a business plan and you've turned on the computer for the fifth time this week only to see a blank screen.
Or perhaps you've just realized that before you start, you still need to conduct some more research—you're not ready. It's enough to divide the job into manageable chunks and work on each one independently. Create a separate project for each activity, and once you have finished them all, be sure to celebrate and recognize your success.
Make a list. Check it off. Do it task by task. When you break it up it's much easier to tackle.
"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." — Abraham Lincoln
3. Put it aside to understand the WHY
When you put off doing anything for a very long period, it can seem impossible. But maybe there's something deeper than that you need to address. What is your reason behind the task? What's your motivation? What are the benefits if any? What are the possible downsides if you finished the task
Is this really something you want to do? Are you trying to do something because someone else wants you to? Are you being told something by someone, someplace you should do something but there isn't really a point? Sure, there are some issues at work that you have to do. You can't change your duties and some responsibilities are not fun and you might just have to do it anyway. Yes, it sucks, but sometimes we can have a job we like with tasks we don't always enjoy.
On the other hand, if it's a personal goal you have, but your intuition, which is typically accurate, is pushing you in another direction, you should look at that. Consider anything that you've been putting off repeatedly. What are the initial motivations behind your urge to finish this task? Who is requesting this of you? What's THEIR plan of action? Why is there such a long delay, in YOUR opinion? This is not to say you should give up, only that you clarify your motivation. Nevertheless, giving up on a project after much deliberation is typically a last resort but sometimes we realize we actually aren't doing things for the right reasons.
4. Get support or an accountability buddy
Do you procrastinate because you believe you can't complete a task on your own because it's too huge and complicated? Or is it that you require help? Embrace self-honesty. A man is not an island. Get assistance! You can find whatever you need to do your job thanks to the abundance of available online materials.
You don't have to do everything yourself consider what you could outsource if possible. Hire a helper, find some college students looking for experience, or enlist the aid of a relative. Fear of the unknown may be the cause of delaying life-changing decisions.
Remember, you can join online support groups, form a mastermind group, or even seek out a mentor. You don't have to go at it alone these days.
There are several sites where you can actually get accountability buddies!
Make use of Website has a great article with some great suggestions for apps to hold yourself accountable:
"Apps like Stickk, Accountable2You, and Beeminder help you set daily/weekly tasks, track your goals, and have features that result in negative consequences (like monetary losses) for missing out on set goals. It's like getting into a binding contract with yourself where not following through is a costly option."
5. Try EFT Tapping to clear your resistance
Yes, I know, EFT Tapping is always the answer when it comes to my articles, because it IS!
When you tap on your internal resistance, you have a chance to clear whatever is stopping you to reframe it. Sometimes it's a matter of clearing your emotional blocks to shift your mindset into the right direction.
What is EFT Tapping? It's a form of energy psychology and one of the best ways to kick yourself into gear using reframing. Some issues are quick when they relate to emotions, and some issues are like onions, with many layers.
Some common emotional blocks that can lead to procrastination can include:
self-esteem and self worth
fear of being seen or putting yourself out there for fear of judgement or criticism
fear of failure (what if I do it and mess up everything?)
fear of success (what if I really could do it what if I couldn't handle it?)
Learn more about my coaching package here:
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I am a supportive motivator as a coach, and I've always loved being around people from all over the world. I'm a transformational life coach in Munich, Germany offering online coaching sessions and happy to help you reach your goals for a richer, more fulfilling life. Likewise, I help people understand gain self awareness so they can figure out what's keeping them stuck, which limiting beliefs hold them back, or what emotional meets are not getting met so they can understand how to create better boundaries and standards in their relationships. In particular, I can help you when you're at that point of saying 'Enough!' - I want something better! If you're not sure where to start, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life. Want to learn more about my coaching package click here?
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals). If you're interested in booking a free 15 minute discovery call for transformational life coaching, EFT Tapping or checking out my services page click here. If you're interested in booking a Subconscious Release Technique (SRT) coaching, book here.
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