Procrastination – that big word we are all guilty of!
What makes one procrastinate and what tips can help you to overcome this bad habit, NOW!?
Procrastination – that big word we are all guilty of sometimes (more often than we’d like to accept perhaps). There isn’t a single person in the world that hasn’t put off something that they needed to do at one time or another.
Procrastination is the thief of time! And it comes with a hefty price tag!!
If you find that you are a chronic procrastinator, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to change it. I believe wholeheartedly that anyone can change any behavior if they set their mind to it.
So where does change start? Change starts with an understanding and a commitment to making positive changes. Mind you, change takes time, so be patient and give yourself some grace along the way.
Reasons why people procrastinate?
When people think about procrastination, it’s easy to assume that procrastinators simply lack willpower. The reality is that the reasons that people procrastinate are much more in-depth than that and in understanding those reasons there is power!
When we have tasks that we need to do we typically rely on our self-control to get things done. Our motivation supports that self-control and is based on the reward we can expect when we reach that goal. When we have that motivation to drive our self-control it is more likely that we get what we need to do done in a timely manner.
Anxiety, fear of failure, and other negative emotions can throw our motivation off course thus negatively impacting our self-control. Self-control can also be negatively impacted by external and internal factors. Exhaustion, laziness, excuses, and an overwhelmingly lengthy to-do list can all negatively affect self-control.
On top of that, we live in a world of instant gratification which works against procrastinators. Delayed reward after completing a task is another reason that many people who procrastinate struggle to gain control over their bad habits. A negative against both motivation and self-control can be detrimental to your ability to get anything done.
When these negative emotions come into play it can be really easy to watch your to-do sit stagnant.
Negative thoughts and emotions aren’t the only factors that play into procrastination. Being a ‘Perfectionist’ is a huge issue that many procrastinators struggle with. When you feel constant pressure to complete things ‘perfectly’ it can give you the perfect excuse to put things off.
Besides Perfectionists, other types of procrastinators are – Dreamers, Worriers, Crisis Makers, Defiers, Pleasers.
If you’re ready to stop letting procrastination take over your life, then read on my friend!
But First, What are the consequences of procrastinating?
There are many ways that procrastination negatively affects your life and sometimes seeing those negatives laid out in front of you can help trigger your motivation to make a change.
Here are 7 reasons to kick procrastination —
1. Increased levels of stress and anxiety. When you have items that you need to get done but you continuously put them off, you will experience increased stress levels and anxiety. Stressing over what you need to do takes time and energy that could be better spent getting things done. Anxiety goes hand in hand with this stress because you know in a certain part of your brain what needs to happen and that part cannot rest until your to do’s are done.
2. You will experience low self-esteem. Many times we procrastinate because of low self-esteem, but procrastination also negatively impacts our self-esteem. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken in order to bring peace to your life.
3. You will miss out on your goals. Procrastination tends to show up in full force when you think about goals. We set goals because we have a deep desire to make our lives better and if you don’t push to achieve those goals you’ll miss out on the possibility to better your life.
4. You will lose out on opportunities. Think back to how many times you missed out because you didn’t take advantage of an opportunity when it was right in front of you? So many things that come into your life are going to have truly life-changing potential and you won’t want to miss out.
5. You could ruin your career. Persistent procrastination prevents you from meeting your deadlines and achieving your targets. Think about the consequences that that can have on your career.
6. You lose out on your valuable time. When you are a chronic procrastinator you WILL waste years of your life just putting things off and the moment you wake up to that realization it will be devastating. We don’t get our time back. You deserve to live your life without regrets.
7. Increased pressure on yourself. If you struggle with procrastination because you are a perfectionist, you may notice that the more you procrastinate the more concerned you become about your level of perfection in your work. Perfectionism can get away from you and become something that starts to overtake your life if you let it. By kicking procrastination, you can help control your perfectionism as well.
Tips on how to Overcome Procrastination
A big part of the battle is figuring out creative ways to beat procrastination. Here are my top tips and hacks to take back control —
1. First and foremost, identify the root cause. The very first step to fixing any problem is identifying the reason behind it. Recognize what the root cause is you so you can address it – Is it lack of time? Lack of skill? Lack of resources? Once you have determined what is holding you back, create a plan to work around that to eliminate it as the cause once and for all.
2. Put the 5 Second Rule to good use. When it comes to mastering procrastination, Mel Robbins is a genius! In the 5 second rule, the principle is “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.”. By taking advantage of the 5 seconds that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing that instinct, you can harness the power of the 5-second rule and truly take back your power over procrastination.
3. Try the power hour. A power hour consists of putting away all of the distractions in your life to dedicate a chunk of time only to your task list. Carve out an hour in your day and start by working in 20-minute increments within that hour with short breaks in between.
4. Create a realistic to-do list and prioritize that list. Most of us create lists that are unrealistic even in the most optimistic situations. Look at your list and ask yourself ‘what can I take off my list today?’. Give yourself permission to let go of things that aren’t important.
5. Make it fun. Increase your motivation by creating a fun reward for your efforts. Our brains respond to positive stimulation and a reward system will reinforce your good habits.
6. Get an accountability partner. The purpose of an accountability partner is to give you an external factor to keep your motivation pushing forward. When you are struggling to get things done, having someone that you need to check in with can give you an extra push. Accountability partners have been proven to help people increase their success in many different ways – from business goals, to weight loss goals, to personal goals, and much more.
7. Forgive yourself. If you want to get over your procrastination habit, it’s important that you forgive yourself for your past choices. By practicing self-compassion, you’ll have a better chance at kicking this habit once and for all.
Procrastination doesn’t have to have the upper hand in your life anymore. Change your mindset, change your life!
POSITIVE IMPACTS OF OVERCOMING THE BAD HABIT OF PROCRASTINATION
Clearly, beating procrastination can impact your life positively. Here are 3 ways your efforts will pay off that you may not have considered —
1. You’ll have more energy. Typically we put off tasks we don’t enjoy or aren’t good at. When you put tasks off, you may find yourself in a situation with a looming deadline and a rush of adrenaline to make it to the finish line. That fear paired with the adrenaline is sure to give you an immediate energy boost, improving your productivity. Utilize that you to create forward momentum.
2. You’ll get things done faster. When you realize that you’re behind schedule with something, there is no better motivator to get it done. With the pressure on, you’re sure to put in the maximum effort and clearly see what you’re capable of. By having a clear picture of how long tasks actually take, it can help you create realistic expectations for yourself.
3. You’ll have improved your work-life balance. Finding this balance is difficult for most and many people have a hard time flipping the switch. When you are a procrastinator, your brain is more willing to accept that it’s ok that you need to take a break and pursue other things.
Change is hard, regardless of the change you are trying to make. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you need to push through to change your procrastination habits, then it’s time for reflection —
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Now I want you to think about what procrastination has cost you so far in your life. Maybe you’ve missed deadlines, maybe you’ve sacrificed family celebrations, maybe it’s a vacation you missed, or maybe you’re short on funds because you’ve procrastinated improving your savings habits.
By creating a comprehensive list of all the ways procrastination has negatively impacted you, it can help you see clearly the ill effects of functioning in this way.
Ready to gain control of your life? Don’t let the fear of change hold you back from taking the first step toward the rest of your life!
You have two choices, which will you choose?
- Do It Now
- Regret Later
“The best way to get something done is to begin.”