How to Beat Procrastination?
Procrastination is often the single most evident barrier to people not achieving their goals. You can procrastinate over just about anything. For example, not doing your homework for school when you were a kid, hastily trying to complete it on the bus the morning it was due. Or how about vowing to yourself you’re going to have that perfectly toned summer body in time for the trip you’ve been planning for months? You can even apply it to your love life – waiting so long to tell someone how you feel about them that by the time you’ve plucked up the courage, they’ve met someone, got married and moved cities!
The worst thing for me about procrastination is the GUILT. There have been so many times in my life where I know I could have, or would have achieved a better result, had I just got on with the task at hand rather than waste time procrastinating. It could be anything from getting a better mark on a test, passing an interview because I’d done deep research into the company, or even just delivering on a work task that I know wasn’t up to my usual standards.
How To Beat Procrastination or Avoid Avoiding Your Tasks
Luckily, I’ve managed to curb my major procrastination using many of the tips below, but also I majorly reduced it by just focusing on the mindset that pretty much everything in life is better with a little planning, a little focus and some time spent.
Sometimes, the knowledge of a major deadline is enough to get your backside in gear, but equally, sometimes not. Here’s a few ways on how to beat procrastination.
#1. Face Your Fear
Are you just feeling a bit lazy, or are you actually worried about the task? In the past, it’s happened to me that I’ve left something until the last minute, and it’s not until I’ve started doing it that I realised I was actually worried about being able to complete the task itself rather than wanting to watch one more episode on Netflix. Of course, this is completely counterintuitive, as if I’d realised that from the beginning, I could have prepared and researched to a degree that I was no longer scared of the task! We can also use the gym example here – many people have gym anxiety which holds them back from heading to do a good workout as they’re worried about what other people think. So they don’t go. The guilt builds up, and they don’t achieve their goals. Nine times out of ten, once they step foot in the gym they realise no one cares and they begin to enjoy themselves. However, that first step needs to be taken.
Sitting in front of a screen knowing you have X amount of words to write, or a design project to complete, or many chapters to read can be daunting. Sometimes, it’s worth removing yourself (for a short while!) to clear your head. What works best for me is a short walk in a park or a quick workout – things that keep me active rather than something that will suck me in, like watching TV. Then, I can go back to the task with fresh eyes and a refreshed body – just don’t stay away from the task for too long!
#3. Hold Yourself Accountable
If you don’t complete the task or goal, what happens? You don’t lose weight, you don’t get fit, you don’t get the job, you don’t visit that country, you don’t meet that person and you don’t step forward. None of this sounds great and the reality is that procrastination means you just stay in the same spot – and who on earth wants to do that?
Of course, some tasks involve other people, but the only person who can really influence your life is you. If you don’t say yes to that trip you’ve been invited on and mess around not organising yourself, who is to blame? Exactly. Take the heat – and take responsibility.
#4. Set Reminders
Knowing an event you need to prepare for is coming up in a few weeks can feel like it’s so far away. Before we know it, the weeks roll around, and many people are guilty of rushing round trying to find a great outfit the morning of a night out because they’ve left it too late. Instead, when you put the event or task deadline in your diary, also add some reminders, for example – two weeks to go, five days to go. You’ll be able to prepare without the date sneaking up on you!
In the same vein of taking responsibility – Just F*cking Do It. This is a mantra I’ve carried with me from my PR agency days. There would be times I could think of nothing worse than doing a particular task, but JFDI got me through. I can’t explain how satisfying and relieving it is to get something done, to a great standard, before a deadline. Being able to enjoy myself without something niggling in the back of my mind is one of my favourite things. Just get on with it and thank me later!
Defeating procrastination is the same thing as gaining control over your own life – nothing is holding you back. Focus on slow and steady progress: if you’re a real procrastinator, it won’t be an overnight fix to have you doing tasks as soon as they pop up.
It really is a change in perspective, and once you see the results you can gain from NOT procrastinating – well – the idea is that you will become more productive and active, and in turn, more fulfilled. Comment below your tips on how to beat procrastination, or let us know if the tips work!