“You’ve decided it’s time to stop procrastinating and make things happen. .. You’ve set your goals and worked out what you need to do to get there. Admittedly it’s going to take some dedication and hard work but you’re pumped to achieve what you want and get stuck in. The day arrives that you’ve set aside to get things done. You wake up and decide you really deserve to have a lie in first. Then your best friend rings and instead of getting stuck in, you decide you must answer the call (even though you only talked last night). You then decide you’re going to catch up on your emails before you start, you click on some links and next thing you know it’s 11.30am. Your partner suggests going out for lunch and of course you need food before you can do some work so off you go. You come back at 2.00pm and decide you really must do the washing and while you’re at it you can do some housework too. All the while you have a nasty niggly feeling that you really aren’t doing what you’re supposed to. Then it’s 4.00pm and surely it’s too late now to really achieve anything. Time to relax and have a drink followed by dinner and a movie. You go to bed disappointed in yourself and slightly stressed because you haven’t achieved what you wanted.” Sound familiar? Follow these 5 top tips to help you overcome procrastination.
1. Focus on your why. Think about all the reasons you wanted to get it done in the first place. Then use this to get you motivated. I find this works really well when I’m trying to talk myself out of going to the gym. I focus on the outcome and visualise having a toned and fit body and feeling really good when I do some exercise or my friends compliment me on looking toned. And I stop thinking of reasons to not go to the gym, I just get changed and in the car. It’s quite effective.
2. Don’t blow things out of proportion. You may have heard of the term catastrophising. It’s a psychological term for blowing things out of proportion. This is where you over estimate the amount of effort it will take to complete a task and the hassle it will cause you, thereby putting yourself off doing it altogether. Realise what you ‘re doing and put things into perspective. Ask yourself: On a scale of 1-100, how likely is it that I’m worried about will happen? Psychologists say that 95% of what we worry about never comes to pass.
3. Take action. The best way to overcome procrastination is to take action. In his book ‘The Compound Effect’, success author Darren Hardy says that once you decide on your goals, take action “Do not delay; decide what you can do now. Within the next 24 to 48 hours, what will you do to put at least one of your goals into action? “. Taking action will start the ball rolling and will make it much easier to keep going and continue the momentum. Don’t think about it, just do one task in your action plan to get going. When you have finished that do another one, then another. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself for what you’ve completed.
4. Avoid distractions so you keep focused on your task. Turn off your mobile phone (or turn it to silent if that freaks you out too much) for two hours at a time. Minimise looking at your emails to 3 times a day, rather than every 15 minutes. Every time you get interrupted, your focus shifts off the task at hand and then it takes extra energy and focus to switch back to it. You also lose valuable ideas when you’re distracted.
5. Be realistic about what you can achieve. Do you get carried away when you start making a to-do list and just keep adding to it? It’s fantastic you’re so motivated but let’s be realistic about what you can achieve with the time you have. If you keep having more tasks or goals on your list that you then don’t get done you will start feeling like you’ve failed. Not good for your self esteem which will put you off trying again. Don’t set yourself up for failure. I suggest to clients who struggle with procrastination that they write down their top 3 priority actions for the day. There’s nothing stopping you from adding more to it if you have time. Now that you’re starting to tick things off the list don’t forget to congratulate yourself on completing them. Celebrating your successes feeds your confidence and self esteem which in turn will help you more motivated to achieve more goals. If you’d like any help with getting life direction, achieving your goals and resolving blockages that have held you back from achieving your goals so far then contact me. I’ve helped many people achieve their goals and become happier over all. Please feel free to check out my testimonials.