Do you keep putting off things you should be getting accomplished? Eliminating procrastination isn’t as easy as just telling yourself that you might as well just do it and get it over with. If it was that easy none of would ever procrastinate about anything. You need to take a close look at the tasks that you’re avoiding and putting off, and one way to do this is by looking at the pros and cons of each job that you’re procrastinating. One of the best ways to do this is by writing it down on paper. List the pros and cons of those jobs that you’re avoiding.
You’ll most likely find that there are more pros than cons on your list, at least if you’re being honest with yourself. If you do find that there are more cons, take another look at the task you’re avoiding. Are the cons that you’ve listed for that task real and legitimate or are you avoiding this one job so much that you’re not being completely honest with yourself? Are there fears associated with this task on your list that you need to take a closer look at?
You could probably say that you’re afraid of many of the tasks on your list. Ask yourself why certain things arouse fear for you and then determine exactly what it is that you’re afraid of. Many times you’ll find that you’re afraid of failure. Once you recognize your fear you’ll find that it can’t have any power over you other than affecting how you are feeling. Work through your list again and you should find more pros than cons.
How To Stop Procrastinating
You need to redefine the way you look at procrastination. Many people constantly procrastinate throughout their entire lives. They end up feeling the pain of the procrastination to such an extent that they just accept procrastination as who they are and consequently remove all power to make changes in their lives. You put a label on yourself when you say that you’re a procrastinator and that you just have to learn to live with it. This sets you up so that you don’t take action when you need to, leading to some bad decisions just because you’ve labeled yourself in a negative way. If you want to make positive changes in your life you have to see procrastination as a choice you’ve been making and not who you are.
Procrastination can be a very negative word and for many people it brings up intense feelings of failure and pain. It can even bring on a great deal of anxiety and worry for people who feel that they just aren’t meeting their full potential. Anxiety can lead to stress and stress plays a big role in your physical and mental health. In fact, it’s now known that stress can break down your immune system and lead to short and long term health problems. This alone is reason enough to address your procrastination and do something about it.
Skills to Eliminate Procrastination
There are skills that you can learn that will help you eliminate the procrastination with which you approach the tasks in your life that need to be completed. With a bit of practice and awareness you can better manage the short term and long term things that you have to do in both your personal and your professional life. One of the first things that you need to do is realize there is no magic wand that you can wave to get things done. You and you alone are going to have to do the job.
The words that you use to talk to yourself about the job you have to do play a huge role in how you tackle those tasks that need to get done. Instead of saying that you “can’t” do something or that you “don’t want to”, try using positive words such as “I can” or “I choose to”. Even though this might not always be true it will get you on the track to think in a positive manner rather than in a negative one. There are many things that you have to do but don’t want to and learning to accept that things need to be done is a good step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with your procrastination.
Take a close and honest look at the type of person you are. Take some time to look at your own personal expectations and values. Then look at how these expectations and values fit into the way that you are taking on a certain task. Perhaps you need to find a new approach to how you’re doing things. Many times we fall into a pattern of dealing with certain tasks that we need to accomplish, only to find that the way we’re doing things isn’t always the most positive and beneficial for us. Be prepared to make changes to how you do things both in your personal life and at work so that the desired outcome is positive and productive.
Learn to recognize behavior that is self-defeating and negative. Ask yourself what you really gain from this self-defeating behavior. If you need help sorting out these feelings don’t be hesitant to talk to someone such as your manager or a counselor. The only way that you can make changes in your life and how you manage the things that you need to do is by taking an honest look at how you are currently dealing with things that you find unpleasant or that you just don’t want to do.
Take some time to identify both your short term and long term goals. If you know what your goals are it will make it much easier to recognize and accept that there are some things that you just need to accomplish if you’re going to reach your goals. If you continue to procrastinate doing something that has an effect on your goals then you might find that you’re more willing to just do it. You’ll find that you start making different decisions about how you look at the tasks that need to be done. Learn how to prioritize certain tasks so that you get those more important ones accomplished in a timely manner. Start making realistic decisions about the things you need to do that is going to allow you to achieve those goals that you’ve set out for yourself.
Always make sure that you have the tools and information that you need to complete a task. In some cases the things that you need to accomplish might require some planning and preparation. If you don’t take the time to prepare for certain tasks, you’re only going to be sabotaging yourself and setting yourself up for failure. Do what you need to do to prepare to get some tasks accomplished but make sure that you put a time limit on this prep work or you might just spend too much time preparing and not “doing”. Set aside a definite time for the planning stage and when that time is up force yourself to just jump in and get to work.
If the task at hand is a big one, don’t be afraid to break it up into manageable stages. Make smaller goals that you can manage and complete. The satisfaction that you feel when you accomplish even the smallest task will be empowering and positive, leading to feelings of success that will only encourage you to eagerly take on the next item on your list. For instance, if you have a report to write, set yourself one hour to write one section, and one section only. When you’ve completed that one section of the report you can then move on to the next section. These positive steps will motivate you and keep you going even if writing that report is something that you really don’t want to do.
Try to build your motivation by thinking about your strengths and not your weaknesses. Remind yourself of those tasks that you’ve already accomplished and that you feel good about. Keep reminding yourself that you are successful and that you’ll be even more successful when you finish those jobs that you need to get done. You might even consider giving yourself a reward for finishing a particular task that has been difficult to complete!
There will be times when you get stuck or weighed down by a certain task. Instead of feeling defeated and negative take a few minutes to come up with a different strategy for dealing with the job. If you can’t come up with a different strategy for the task you’re currently working on then switch tasks for the time being, making sure though that you come back to the other job. This will allow you to take a new look at the job and start fresh rather than sticking to it and only becoming frustrated when things aren’t working. The key here is to make sure that you force yourself to come back to that task that isn’t working out the way you want to!
Many times procrastination is related to anxieties about the excellence of the work you anticipate (or fear) you will generate. When this happens it’s important to remember that it’s better to produce at least something rather than producing nothing at all. The habits that we develop quickly become part of the way we lead our lives. You most likely haven’t always been a procrastinator and so don’t expect to see changes in an instant.