How To Avoid Procrastination Today (Not Tomorrow)

May 6th, 2014

hand-226708_640Procrastination is a tricky habit to break but it is far from impossible. First you need to determine why you put things off. Next you want to develop a plan that will fit well within the matrix of your reasons for procrastination and the tasks you need to complete. Finally, you must trust yourself and follow the plan for at least a short time to see if your procrastination habit disappears.

Why Do You Procrastinate?

The Task Is Unpleasant

Perhaps it is boring, personally painful or just not your favorite kind of task — any of these reasons can result in your pushing a certain job to the edge of the desk.

The Task Is Overwhelming

If the concept is difficult or there are many steps involved you may avoid completing or even starting a task. A lack of information or skills, perceived or not, may result in this job never surfacing at the top of the to-do list.

What’s A To-Do List?

Lack of organizational skills or the failure to use any job-prioritization strategies you know or have been taught can be a major cause of your procrastination problems.

Decision Making Skills – Poor Or None

Some people can have everything lined up and ready to go for a task but still cannot complete it because they are unsure or unable to make critical decision about the job.

Striving For Perfection

On occasion, a person will not be able to move forward because every single piece of the puzzle they envision to complete the job is not in place. That person may be a prisoner of perfectionism, a paralyzing condition that ensures work will never get done and has its own set of plausible excuses.

An Answer For Every Type Of Procrastination, Motivation For Unpleasant Tasks

Reward Yourself

Who knows better what can get you moving? Pick one task you are avoiding and get it done then take yourself out to lunch or read the next chapter of the book you’ve been enjoying. Different people will be motivated by different things – figure out what makes you look forward to signing off on a grim job.

Enlist The Help Of A Colleague

Fess up and give someone permission to follow up with you to make sure task are getting done. Their peer pressure, even if lighthearted, may give you that extra push to complete a task. One of your senior managers, or your confidential secretary, is a good person to choose.

What Happens If You Don’t Get It Done?

You could be missing a valuable opportunity, or letting down a client. Think about what life would be like when it is discovered you haven’t done this one thing and channel that fear or shame to achieve closure on it.

Cut Overwhelming Tasks Down To Size

Probably the most effective way to overcome the feeling that the task is just too much is to divide it into smaller, more manageable sections. Compose a list or diagram to show yourself how the large task is broken down and use check offs or colors to show yourself what you have completed as it is done. If you tick off a number of the smaller parts of the larger task you will be motivated to do more. It’s like eating an elephant – you do it one bite at a time.

Buy A Planner – Or An App

If you are truly challenged by organizing a project in order to get it done, take a look at what your local stationery store might have to help structure your day. Browse through apps or other project planning software, or talk to an organized friend and see what tips that person may have to help you plan an attack on those tasks you are finding impossible to finish.

I Just Can’t Decide

If you are at your wits end because you do not feel competent to take the next step, pick up the phone and ask a trusted friend for advice. Or hire someone to do the job for you – you’re the boss, after all!

Paralyzed By Perfection

If you procrastinate because you must have every star aligned before moving forward it is best to focus on the end goal and devise a set of steps to get there. Then pick a step that you can do ”perfectly,” and do it – even if it is simply making the list of tasks you need to complete. Self awareness about this need for perfection is key, as is understanding that no action is certainly not a “perfect” way to handle the situation.

Allow yourself the freedom to make a mistake and stand back and realize the world did not just come to an end. It might just be the revelation you need, particularly if no one else even notices the flaw.

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