I was going to procrastinate today, but I’ll just do it tomorrow.”
I will let you all in on a little secret, I am the queen of procrastination. I am not proud of this title, but somehow I created a monster. I have tried to convince myself that I procrastinate because I thrive when I work under pressure. The whole “pressure makes diamonds” mantra, but truth be told this avoidance has busted some pipes too. If I am going to be completely transparent, I procrastinated with creating this post. Many of us have a tendency to put off today, what we believe will be waiting for us tomorrow. This habit easily turns into a behavioral pattern that can wreak havoc in our personal and professional lives.
There are a few root causes to why we procrastinate. My biggest issue is feeling that the big picture is overwhelming. The perfect union of fear and doubt. I begin to overthink and over analyze which causes the virtual computer tabs in my brain to pop up and multiply at an alarming rate. Too many open tabs on a computer will eventually slow it down or cause a complete functionality meltdown. Another reason is some individuals are perfectionist and use the excuse of “wanting to get it JUST RIGHT” by ultimately delaying. Laziness is the third honest factor. For example, I could fold this Mount Everest load of laundry that is staring me down, but it’s more favorable to sit on the couch and effortlessly scroll through social media for a while. That “while” turns into hours and those clothes are not going to magically appear in neat piles.
There is a light at the end of this disorganized tunnel. I have been working on a few ways to have more discipline and prioritize. Having a slightly indecisive nature coupled with a compulsive list-making behavior makes this challenging. This can’t be labeled as organized chaos any longer.
- Avoid Distractions: These can be the thief of success. In our generation, social media is a huge distraction. I love it, but focus takes work and has no room for distractions. Change your environment, turn off the TV, put the phone down, and clear your head space before tackling the task at hand. Set a specific amount of time for yourself, even if 20 minutes.
- First Breakdown Then Breakthrough: A large task can seem daunting. Break down the task into smaller, achievable goals. This helps me tremendously with projects for work. By creating a timeline (WITH deadlines), I can create actionable steps to drive myself towards the end result. My close friend told me yesterday that a goal is a marathon and you have to take it step by step, day by day. A great app for breaking down lists and tasks is the Wunderlist App.
- Birds of a Feather, Flock Together: Evaluate your circle. Are they supporting you? Pushing you towards success? It really helps when your family and friends are engaged in your goals and believe in you. Just a little encouragement can push you past that procrastination speed bump. I am a huge proponent of mentors and speaking to people with like-minded goals. If you are having trouble, reach out to someone who has experience and gives you access to their road map of success. People inspire.
- Incentives are Life: We all love incentives for doing a good job. Give yourself an incentive or reward for completing a task. It doesn’t have to be large, but something meaningful to keep you pushing towards completion.
- Just Do It: Stop thinking about it, and start NOW. I came across a great post on Instagram that said “Quotes don’t work unless you do”. It’s all about action, and I have to repeat this to myself daily. We can think about something all day long, but if we don’t take any steps then we are not actually doing anything. There is nothing wrong with small steps, as long as you are making great strides forward.
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” – Abraham Lincoln
It is very important to forgive yourself for past procrastination. Speak life into yourself. We are always motivated to maximize other people’s potential, and sometimes we lack working on our own. Understand your triggers for procrastination by asking yourself why you’re avoiding a task to begin with. By doing so, you will be able to clarify goals and not keep them on hold. This is a process and you are accountable for YOU. Focus is a major key and demands discipline. Essentially, I had to grasp the concept of intention versus action and light a fire under my own ass.