Five ways to beat procrastination – RIGHT NOW!!

I can’t believe I’m about to write this but it’s true and actually happened.

I wanted to find out how to overcome procrastination… but I kept putting it off :O

Yup, I know, I groaned myself.

Have you ever found yourself faced with a task that needs doing, and rather than get on with it, suddenly it became far more important and necessary to do another task. Usually something totally non productive like… putting some air in a cupboard?

Not just me then :)

We procrastinate for many reasons. It could be we consider the task to be boring, or we’re overwhelmed at the apparent enormity of it, or we’re uncomfortable with it (like having to break some bad news to someone or make a sales call).

Would you like to know how to beat procrastination?

OK, I’ll tell you later.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it :)

Firstly, don’t assume you can’t do the task because you’re in the wrong mood or, put off the task because you think your mood will spontaneously improve in the near future, because it won’t. Have you noticed how when you put something off (you not only feel guilty and possibly stressed about not having started, also) your mood for doing the task diminishes.

Here are some ideas that work for me, be my guest to try them out and see what happens.

1) Get someone else to set a deadline for you, or set the deadline yourself and tell someone about it. Give them permission to call you periodically to check on progress. When you’re accountable to someone else you’re more likely to carry out the task.

2) Agree with yourself to do the task for just 15 minutes, often once you get started you’ll carry on. If you don’t carry on you’ve at least made a start and the more 15 minute chunks you do the sooner the task will be accomplished.

3) Break down the task in to small manageable parts. Make a list if you have to, then do one part at a time. My uncle always used to say, ‘How do you eat a bike? One piece at a time’. I know he meant elephant, I just loved him so much I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He always made me smile because I’d never heard of anyone eating a bike… or an elephant for that matter.

4) Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Switch off your email and social media notifications. If you know you always end up tidying your desk instead of getting on with tasks you’re putting off then go somewhere else, maybe the library. A friend of mine often does her work in a coffee shop.

5) Make an appointment with yourself. Put a time slot for doing the task in your diary and then turn up to do the work.

For me it’s important to remember when you procrastinate not to feel shame or guilt, it’ll only add to your stress levels and the more stressed you are the less likely you are to make a start.

Forgive yourself and focus on making a start. Do your best to see the task as a challenge that will make you feel good once it’s done.

I hope that helps and if you have a favourite way to overcome procrastination I’d love to hear about it.

I must go now, I have to put some air in a cupboard… oh, have I done that already? ;)

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