Do you put things off until the last minute? Do you avoid difficult tasks? Are you easily distracted when you should be focusing on a project? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this post is just for you. I’m going to give you some tips and strategies to help you stop procrastinating!
Before we begin, I have a huge confession to make: I used to be the Queen of Procrastination! Seriously, and I have the crown to prove it.
I used to wait until the last minute to do everything. It was so bad that I used to convince myself that I did my best work under pressure; that I would not have been able to come up with such good material or ideas if I wasn’t working under pressure. I would complete a project and pat myself on the back because it was so good, and I had pulled it off in the nick of time. I prided myself for never missing a deadline.
Then one day I asked myself if this project is this good, and it only took me two days to pull together, what could I have done if I had three days or five days, or an entire month to pull it together?
By not giving myself enough time, I had to admit that I wasn’t doing my best work or putting my best foot forward.
Waiting until the last minute is only one form of procrastination. Productive Procrastination is when you avoid difficult tasks or work on one project when you know you should be focused on another. While you seem productive, you are busy doing the wrong thing and avoiding something more important.
I can go on and on and on about how we procrastinate, but I want to focus on how to STOP procrastinating and give you five tips and strategies to help you overcome procrastination, even when you don’t realize you’re doing it.
#1 Break the task down
Sometimes a project or job seems so overwhelming that you try to avoid it until you must face it head-on. For me, this used to be a day or two before the deadline. When you break down a task or project into smaller bite-size chunks, you give yourself some wiggle room.
Once you complete one chunk, it’s a bit easier to move on to the next one. The process can become easier, more manageable and less overwhelming. And once you get started, you might just find yourself on a roll and more eager to complete the project.
#2 Eliminate temptation
Get rid of things that have the potential to distract you. This could be social media, games, and yes, sometimes even people. I’m not telling you to get rid of people, just to minimize your interaction with them while you are working or focusing on a project.
You can later use these same temptations as your reward system. When you complete a project, reward yourself by going out with friends, shopping, or going to a movie.
#3 Think of the consequences and successes
What will you lose and gain by completing your task or project? What are the consequences of not completing your project or making a deadline? What’s at stake? This can often be a motivator or a driving force to help you get things done. In other words, what do have to lose? On the flip side, what will you gain? Recognize the success you will achieve or the joy you will feel when you complete the project.
#4 Make your to-do list public
Let others know your intentions and what you’re working on. This may add a little pressure, but for some, avoiding disappointing others or feeling embarrassed can be a great motivator to get things done and to do what you said you were going to do.
#5 Ask for help!
If you are overwhelmed or need help, ASK. Sometimes you overwhelm yourself by taking on too much and then trying to do it alone. Bringing other skilled and capable people into the project may be just what you need to get it done and save yourself some time, blood, sweat, and tears.
So, remember, procrastination is a pattern that can come in many different forms and can be unintentional, unrecognized and unnoticed. We have all put something off until the last minute or until tomorrow when we may feel more up to it. It happens from time to time, forgive yourself and move on.
But when avoiding projects and tasks becomes a pattern in your life and begins to affect your productivity, taking precedence over accomplishing your goals, it’s time to make some changes in your life right away.
I hope that you got something from this episode that you can really use to make some positive changes in your life.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to like it and leave your comments below and share it with others who have a pattern of procrastination and avoiding tasks or putting things off.
If you have a question or need advice, send your question to AskTamara@TamaraHartley.com. You can also send me a message on Twitter using the hashtag AskTamara.
I would love to hear from you. Comment below to let me know how you put these strategies to use in your life. Also, let me know if there’s a topic you would like for me to cover. I love getting your comments, your feedback, and your suggestions.
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