Many of us procrastinate. And there are many different reasons for doing so. Before you can figure out a great strategy to stop procrastinating, first you need to understand, what is the main cause of your procrastination. Why are you delaying or putting off what needs to be done?
Sometimes people put things off because the change or goal is too overwhelming or too big. Or it could be that what you are putting off is not exciting or challenging enough. Is it aligned with your goals?
For some, it’s the fear of failure that prevents them from starting, whereas for others, it’s the fear of success. Sometimes it is just that the procrastinator is unable or unwilling to make a decision. Many procrastinators are in fact perfectionists. Perfectionists can find it hard to continue with a task or a piece of work if they foresee imperfection, rather than just getting started. Often procrastination has become a habit and it can be a hard habit to break.
Here are my six sharp tips to break the procrastination cycle:
- Break the task down into smaller steps. Don’t try to do it all at once.
- Tell others what you are planning to do to keep yourself accountable and to get support.
- Just jump right in. Instead of telling yourself that you’ll check your email first, or get a fresh cup of coffee, simply go ahead and start. Often the tasks we put off, are nowhere near as difficult or as tiresome once you get going.
- If lack of interest is what stops you from getting started, then give yourself small rewards at each milestone. Or maybe for you, it will work better if you set yourself penalties?
- If fear of failure is putting you off, develop a clear vision of how you will feel when you have finished. Perhaps draw a picture (see earlier blog) or write out in words how you will feel or what you will think when the task is done.
- If indecision is the key player in your procrastination, set a deadline by which to make the decision (and remember 2 above, tell others to hold yourself accountable).
If you are putting something off because you feel overwhelmed, try just one of these six tips. And let me know which one works best for you.
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