The first step is always the hardest.
Like the dread of Mondays. It’s the first day of the week and your schedule is already booked – you have an appointment in the next hour, an important meeting before that and cleaning jobs to do in between.
Yet, the first thing you do on the first day of an overwhelming week is to check out your Facebook, chat with your co-workers and dream about all the money you haven’t made yet.
When the day is done, you’ve at least managed to tick a thing or two off your to-do list. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day, there’s even an entire week ahead.
You’re not alone here, we all use these delaying habits. We are all procrastinators at some point in our daily lives, especially when it comes to the task that we don’t like or require too much effort.
The reality is there are so many things wewant to do versus the things we need to do and we end up doing less, even nothing when we procrastinate or intentionally delay doing what really matters.
How to stop procrastinating?
Well, let’s start with the word “procrastinate”! It’s not until you understand something that we can then identify behavioral traits of our own and learn how to change them to create new habits.
In short, the word procrastinate means “to delay or postpone action; put off doing something”.
Now I’m sure we are all guilty of this, but what tasks and how often are we doing it is the real question.
In all seriousness, procrastination is a bad habit that can make you unproductive, and make your life more stressful than it needs to be. You may even have many reasons to procrastinate (of which could be valid ones), but only you can overcome this bad habit. Here are some helpful ways to overcome procrastination.
Know Your Procrastinator Self
What kind of procrastinator are you? According to one emerging research study, you just might be like everyone else, the emotional one.
Procrastination “really has nothing to do with time-management,” says Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University.
“To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.” he told Psychological Science.
If you are the emotional procrastinator you know how to stop procrastinating but you delay doing your tasks for two reasons: you are not in the mood and you trust yourself to handle the pressure.
Now if this is you and find yourself thinking; deadlines super charge me and I’ll finish any task on time, regardless of what mood I’m in, then more often than not this is what happens. You relax, take a nap, watch a movie, get a donut, spend time tweeting and distract yourself from doing the things you need to do.
This works if you don’t compromise your work or the quality of your output. However, you end up doing less than what you can actually do. You end up selling yourself short.
There is also, however, another kind of procrastinator, the detached one. You put off doing important things because you find the job unpleasant. You find yourself detached to the job.
Not all jobs are enjoyable but there are some tasks that really don’t appeal to you.
Either because: you are disorganized and this will take time or you feel overwhelmed. This is too much for you, your fear failing and embarrassing yourself.
How to stop procrastinating? Being honest with yourself is where the change starts. First, accept that you have embraced a bad habit and that something must be done.
With that willingness and understanding why you need to change, you start considering the next steps.
Change and Challenge your Perspective
Have you been putting off some important tasks because you’re either afraid or lazy? Spring cleaning, dentist appointment, etc.
Try focusing on the future. If you do this now, you will certainly have MORE time and MORE means to relax in the future.
Don’t you want a better life for you and your loved ones someday? Don’t you want to get the pressure off your back the soonest possible time? Don’t you want to improve the quality of your life and be fulfilled with what you have, even brag about it to your friends?
Of course, you do, so start encouraging yourself to know how to stop procrastinating. You can even ask a friend to remind you why you need to do this. Always establish the purpose of your actions and you will find the drive to achieve them.
Commit to every assignment in your to-do list. No matter how difficult or mundane the task at hand may be. But it helps to be realistic about your skills also.
Estimate the “reasonable” time for you to accomplish a task. Don’t pressure yourself by setting impossible deadlines or unreasonable goals.
Work out your confidence by working really hard. Choose your working environment wisely, choose your friends wisely. Don’t work in a setting where you know you can be distracted. Work on removing your own obstacles.
By honoring commitments, you learn how to stop procrastinating by honoring yourself and self-respect always matters.
Master your Productive Hours
Time management is about responsibility. But your schedule should adjust to your most productive hours. For some perfectly motivated people, it’s the entire work day, with nonstop sips of coffee, 4 hours sleep and zero playtime, even social time.
What about you? Is there a specific time of the day that you are most productive? Lucky you if there is, make the most of these hours.
Otherwise, you have to plan and develop a productivity schedule. Allot specific time frames in completing tasks and play to give yourself a break.
If you have so much on your plate, try breaking tasks into little ones, one step at a time.
Relax and Forgive Yourself
Actually, the best way to forgive yourself is to relax! We all mess up but what matters is how you deal with it. After you seek out ways on how to stop procrastinating, accept the consequences.
Move on and work harder next time. If you are able to bounce up, regardless of how small your efforts are, treat yourself.
Remember that changing any habit is a journey. It takes time. You don’t need to take leaps and great strides all at once.
Regardless of what kind of procrastinator you are, indulge your inner child from time to time.
A good way to stimulate blood flow and release productivity endorphins through your body could be to start by booking a massage for yourself! You know you deserve it.
- Author: Sheree Evans
- Published: September 18, 2017