With most of us living such busy lives, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, which can often lead to procrastination.
If we don’t address the early signs of procrastination, it can easily become a habit and have some long-term implications such as:
- Low motivation.
- Delay in completing tasks or projects on time.
- Failure to achieve our goals.
- Reduced levels of confidence.
- Low self-esteem.
The root cause of procrastination is often an emotional issue such as reluctance to deal with a situation, or avoiding something because it brings up certain insecurities or fears.
The better we can deal with procrastination, the more productive we will become.
In my early days in business, I tended to procrastinate periodically without really knowing why I was doing so. For quite a while, maybe a couple of years, I kept repeating my behaviour of procrastinating especially when I was facing a new challenge.
Once I was able to understand why I was procrastinating, and most times, it was because I did not know how to do something, I was able to implement new things to overcome that behaviour. Interestingly, when I now procrastinate, the reasons are different to what they were before.
Today, if I start procrastinating, it’s not because I don’t know what to do, it’s because I’m uncertain of the result I’ll get if I take the action I know I need to take. Taking action in spite of not knowing what result I’ll get is now what’s exciting. That’s the mindset shift I needed to make in order to ensure I continue to do things to beat procrastination.
Here are seven things we can do to move past procrastination so that we can get things done quicker and easier while becoming a lot more productive.
- Break major projects or goals into smaller tasks. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when something appears to be very big so we delay dealing with how to tackle it. That leads to habits of procrastination. Instead, if we identify small tasks that we can do, that will cause us to get into action. Consistent action, no matter how small it is, will lead to momentum, which then will make us unstoppable.
- Set a deadline for tasks or projects. Deadlines drive motivation. If we keep the tasks, projects or goals front-of-mind, it will help us stay focused on what needs to be done in order to achieve our end result. If we don’t set deadlines, we’ll usually take a lot longer to get something completed because there is no urgency or accountability.
- Eliminate distractions around you. Distractions can be in the form of people, materials, technology, or our work environment. The better we become at eliminating distractions, the better we will be able to focus on what’s important.
- Choose a reward to give yourself. Giving ourselves rewards for reaching certain milestones on the way to achieving our goals can be extremely motivating, which will eliminate any possible excuses to procrastinate. The thing to be cautious of here is that we want to become self-motivated and not always have to rely on external rewards to keep us in action.
- Get past being a perfectionist. Procrastination can also be a strategy to avoid revealing our work to others. Rather than receiving feedback or even criticism, by saying that we have not completed what we’re working on, we avoid being judged by others. Once we can accept that the best way to make something better is to ask for feedback, we can easily overcome the fear of being ridiculed or judged.
- Seek guidance from others. If we know we are struggling with something, it’s so much easier to ask for help from those we trust. Gaining new perspective from others can often give us the necessary help we need to stay committed to our ultimate goal. When we ask for help, we can also ask others to hold us accountable so that we are not tempted to fall back into procrastination.
- Maintain a positive attitude. As attitude is everything in the pursuit of a goal, the more positive we are, the greater our chances of actually achieving that goal. Our mindset dictates so much of how we do things and what we do, so if we have a positive state of mind, the chances of us procrastinating will be lower.
The less we procrastinate, the more we’ll get done, which means we’ll feel better about ourselves and enjoy life a lot more. If we start developing new productive habits, we won’t be tempted to procrastinate and we’ll also reduce our chances of becoming overwhelmed. If we don’t develop new positive habits, we’ll continue to struggle to get things done and not achieve our goals.
Question: What is another thing we can do to move from procrastination to greater productivity?
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