Many of the leaders I coach, profess to being a procrastinator. I have learned, that everyone has periods of time where they procrastinate. It becomes a problem when the time they take away from the item they are holding off on and spend that time doing virtually nothing. Like a zombie we allow procrastination to hurt our effectiveness.
When you put off one task to work on another is better, but the effectiveness of doing this depends of the importance level. However, putting off one task but moving to another one first, is better than being a zombie.
Serious procrastination on most things in life, is like trying to run in quicksand. You will get nowhere fast, and in all likelihood, get sucked into oblivion. It doesn’t have to be like that. There are many ways to beat procrastination. We will go over nine of them but don’t stop there. Investigate as many as you can and be a slayer of procrastination.
- Procrastination has that pleasure vs pain principle. When you procrastinate on doing something, it is usually because you feel it will be boring, difficult, embarrassing or leave you feeling unhappy. You need to look at the task and find a way to reframe how you feel about it. Procrastinating on making a sales call? Then get a stack of one dollar bills. Put them on the desk in front of you and tell yourself, that for every call you make, you will pay yourself a dollar and all the dollars you make will go to the Children’s Hospital for new picture books. Make it a pleasure, not a pain. Reframe it in a way that creates additional motivation for you.
- Make what you need to do, a priority. Make it important and assign a value to it. Many times, procrastination is the result of thinking too much, for too long and then just telling yourself that it is impossible to start now. You tell yourself that you will get right at it in the morning and then you repeat the behaviour. It’s just not important enough. Make it important and give yourself a reward when you do it. When something is important, it gets done.
- Procrastination may be just plain boredom. When you realize that you are not doing something you should be, because it is yawn inspiring, then think up a way to make it fun. For example, if you need to photocopy or scan a lot of your documents and that bores you to death, be creative. Get a small bongo drum and play a few beats while the copier works. Or put on some headphones and do a bit of on the spot dancing while that document gets scanned. While these ideas may send an embarrassing shudder down your spine, think of something that you enjoy doing and plan to do it during those routine tasks.
- Why go it alone? We talked about putting stuff off because it is boring or deemed painful. Well getting a partner is one way of eliminating the boredom or the perceived pain. Tag team those cold calls. Make it a game, full of fun. Chatting with a partner during tasks that don’t require your full concentration, can make the time fly and your joyful energy soar.
Ever said, “that guy needs an attitude adjustment.” What you are really saying is the person needs a kick in the pants. Well sometimes, you just need to learn how to kick your own butt. When you are in serious procrastination mode, it may be time to ask yourself, “what exactly do I want in life?” The answer should be, “a life full of action, play and joy.” Or something similar to that. There are folks who find that when they procrastinate on important stuff, the only way they can turn it around, is to go honey badger on themselves. A honey badger doesn’t care. When they want to eat, they will eat and if that means grabbing a deadly snake and beating the daylights out of it, before consuming, well that is what they do. There is no procrastination in old honey badger. Get in front of the mirror when you feel like putting it off and growl at yourself like a honey badger. Go get it!
- Meditate to stop procrastination. Sometimes putting stuff off, is due to feeling overwhelmed or maybe even a little sad. You just feel like there is a weight on your chest and you will feel better if you do that budget report tomorrow. Instead of putting it off, take 30 minutes and calm your mind with meditation. Then in your mind’s eye, see yourself doing the report and doing an excellent job. Feel proud, right then and there…then go do it.
- Become proficient in decision making. When you decide, there is no turning back. Often procrastination is about weak decision making. You cannot decide exactly how the task will be done, how long it will take and how many parts there are to the task. With great decision-making muscles, you can power through that issue. There are many classic books that contain chapters on positive thinking, positive talk and decision making. Decide on 10 books on this subject. Write them down, then buy or borrow them and read them…this month. Crush that procrastination.
- Gather up some TED talks, YouTube videos on people who had crippling bouts of procrastination and learn how they overcame procrastination. Learning how to model other successful people will put you on the same path as them. Get a mentor if possible, someone who has overcome the issue and can coach you to success. Unaware of TED talks? Here is a sample you can start with: https://youtu.be/WD440CY2Vs0
- Put tech to work for you. You can listen to Mp3’s on stopping procrastination or do self hypnosis. If you are a computer lover, then of course, there is an app for that. Try a few different ones out to see what works best for you. Here is a highly rated app for beating procrastination: http://procrasterapp.com/
I am sure that these nine ways to beat procrastination are just the beginning of ways that you can beat procrastination. It takes intention and desire to help you beat the negative impacts of procrastination. Our Coach Curl Academy offers programs on improving your Time Management and delivering Productivity Hacks