Procrastination happens to all of us, sooner or later, and it just destroys our productivity.
You know when you just don’t want to tackle the tedious work you have to get done, you easily find ninety-nine other things to do instead of addressing that one thing you really need to do.
The deadlines set will not get respected and you must have a ton of work waiting to get done but you just can’t do it because you simply don’t feel in the mood of working at all!
Every day you are just reporting work for the next day. But you know what the old saying says:
“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week” – Spanish Proverb
The pile of work to do will keep getting bigger and bigger and you will just procrastinate more and more, finding more excuses to avoid doing the work, but all of that will not get the work go away or get magically done.
It’s a vicious circle that you must be aware of. Chronic procrastinators never achieve what they are seeking in life.
Truth be told, I am no exception. I got too in that vicious circle and I terribly regret all the lost time procrastinating and avoiding the work.
Hopefully, I made my way out, and I believe that you too can overcome procrastination by following these tricks:
1-Write down the tasks to do and plan them:
“Why would I write down the tasks? I already know what I have to do!” Yes, you know what you have to do but you need to write it down to keep it as a constant reminder for yourself and to set deadlines that you will have absolutely to respect in order to not jeopardize the realisation of your project.
Also, having just one deadline for your work will be like an invitation to procrastinate, as much as one big task to do will not be appealing for you to do it.
The trick will be to divide all your work into small tasks, and if necessary even the small tasks divide them into small direct actions to do, too small that have to be like “Gee I can do this right now!” and do it immediately.
Also, set deadlines for every part of the work. You should have a deadline for the whole project, deadlines for the tasks and even daily deadlines that would concern the small actions you have to do.
That way you will realise that you can’t miss any part of the work and will be ambitious to work.
For example, every time I want to publish a new post here in Economy Secrets, I need to go through a process: 1.research. 2.define the topic 3.set bullet points to write about. 4.craft a headline 5.make the first draft of the post. 6.proofread it…etc. I give myself a deadline for every part of it and if sometimes one part of the work might need a lot of work I just divide it into small tasks so I can do them all without losing my determination to work or refuse to work because it’s too much work to do.
2-Be realistic while planning
Sometimes we are too ambitious we overestimate our abilities.
There are some tasks that need a certain amount of time and you need to accept that.
If you consider all the tasks easy and short to do and you are unable to meet all the deadlines you fix to yourself, you will certainly start to have negative thoughts like you can’t do it or you are not made to be doing such things.
But the truth is far away from that…
You can do any task you set yourself to do, just give yourself a reasonable amount of time and be realistic while you’re planning so you would avoid the bad surprises.
3-Celebrate the small wins and reward yourself
Remember the small tiny tasks you have set yourself to do? The direct to-do actions you need to be doing every day in order to finish all your work on time? Well, for everyone you do on time you should celebrate!
It might be not a big deal but every time you make one step further and celebrate it, not only it’s positive for your mood in order to stay on track, but you also give yourself some rest to get ready to tackle the following steps.
For example, when I finish just one action from the research task -like to read some article(s)- I reward myself with some social media time, or I check 9gag to laugh a little bit and get back to work.
Just don’t forget, the reward time should not be longer than the time you have spent doing the work. If for example I work for 20 minutes I give myself 5 minutes of rest. I know when I will finish the whole work, I can then rest and have as much as fun as want. -at least, until the next work :D-
Can you work in the middle of a party? Unless your exact work is to manage the party or you have some super focus abilities, most of the people can’t.
That’s normal! The environment where we are directly affects our productivity. Does the environment where you work inspire and push you to work? Or does it make you lazy and do anything except working?
Always consider making your environment perfect and appealing to work.
Also, note that an environment that could have been inspiring by the past, might not always be. Always consider rearranging and changing your environment to always remain as productive as you can/want.
5-Spend time with people who inspire to act
Wouldn’t you feel excited and motivated to work if you could spend some time with some of the most successful people in the world like Bill Gates or Richard Branson?
You will certainly!
But to get to spend some time with these people might not be as easy and possible as you wish, so what to do?
Check all the people in your entourage and identify the ones who trigger you, inspire you, pushes you to take actions and to follow your goals. That’s the kind of people you should spend more time with.
Maybe they are so far not as successful as the top successful people in the world, but the same principle applies. Remember, you are principally looking for an attitude which will push you to work.
6-Get a companion
Have a companion and the whole process will become much more fun.
Your companion will have his/her own set of goals. Both of you will keep track of the path of each other.
If you and your companion have the same goals, that would be just better! You will both learn from each other. That will lead you to make great shortcuts to reach your goal.
Talking about your projects will just encourage you to keep taking action and it works perfectly when you are talking about it with someone who shares the same goal or who at least is seeking a goal in life.
7-Re-clarify your goals
Sometimes the main cause why you are procrastinating is because there is a misalignment between what you want and what you are doing. It’s due to the fact that by time passes we are evolving, and growing and there are times when we outgrow our goals but we don’t change them to reflect that.
Take a step back. Get away from your work (go for a vacation or just a weekend break would be enough) and get time to regroup yourself. Then ask yourself the right questions: What do you want to achieve? What should you do to achieve it? What are all the necessary steps? Does your actual work align with your goal? What do you need to change?
That will set you up and pushes you to overcome the procrastination you are facing.
8- Do not overcomplicate anything
Sometimes the reason of the procrastination it’s more the fear of the work than the work itself. You want so much to do it well -even perfect- and to not get any critics that you start waiting for the perfect time. Guess what? There is never a perfect time. Never!
Perfectionism is one of the main reasons for procrastination.
Accept to make mistakes. They are not as harmful that you might think. In fact, they are your best way to learn and to keep improving.
9-Get a grip and just do it!
It’s crazy how much people would spend time making researches about “how to not procrastinate”,”ways to not procrastinate”…etc*. Desperately loose hours looking for shortcuts to get anything magically done. Well, what’s the point of that?
(*: I know you might have found this post by one of these researches, but well you got my point right?)
Usually, you just need to do the work, as simple as it is.
Remember it’s only through work -hard work- that you can succeed. I never heard anyone procrastinating his/her way to success, and I am sure neither do you.
That’s the way things are and they will certainly remain like that also in the future. So take a grip, and do it!
That’s it. These are the ways I personally use to overcome procrastination. It works for me and it might as well works for you.
Don’t hesitate to adapt them to yourself and your own way of work.
Out of curiosity, what’s your best way to overcome procrastination?