Procrastination is the act of putting off or postponing something we have to do. How often in life do we keep putting things off when we know they are good for us and we ought to do them. One of my favourite examples at the moment is how I put off exercising in the morning until the afternoon because it’s too cold to get out of bed.
If, like me, you have developed the habit of procrastinating, here are some tips for tackling unwanted tasks.
o Acknowledge that you have been procrastinating and need to take drastic action to get the task done
o From the outset, it is important to develop a positive mindset. Often we procrastinate because we find something difficult to do. By developing an optimistic can-do attitude, we put ourselves in the best position to get the job done. You might find it helpful to read my previous blog post on overcoming obstacles to help develop a more positive mindset. Let go of any negative thoughts such as “I should have done this sooner” or “why did I put this off for so long?”. Today is a brand new day. The future is much brighter now that you are taking action and doing a task or turning your mind to something that you have been avoiding for some time.
o Remember that the hardest thing can sometimes be to start to do something. Once you are in the middle of it, you become focussed on finishing the task
o The next step is to write yourself a task list of all the things you need to get done
o Prioritise your task list in order of urgency/importance
o Set yourself a realistic time frame for completing your tasks
o Work out what challenges your tasks present and come up with a plan for overcoming any obstacles you may encounter. If you need help from someone, don’t hesitate to ask. Most people will only be too happy to give you a hand if you need it
o Try to focus on the task and eliminate any distractions, such as technology, social media etc, so you can concentrate on getting through it
o Find ways of making difficult tasks enjoyable, or at least more bearable. For example, if you dread ironing, listen to music in the background while you do it
o One little tip that a friend gave me the last time we spoke was to do the thing you dread the most or find hardest to do first. If you get the worst task out of the way first, it will all be downhill from there!
o To encourage yourself to complete tasks you are avoiding, think of the consequences of not getting them done
o Make yourself accountable to someone else by telling them about the task that you need to do.
o Recognise your accomplishment. Make sure you reward yourself for having completed a difficult exercise.
o Try to establish good habits for the future. Having avoided doing something for so long, make sure that task becomes a regular habit so you remain on top of it