Beat Procrastination With These 5 Actionable Steps
My mom is a procrastinator and growing up we were always rushing around and late AF. I was so embarrassed to be ‘those folks’ walking into church or a family member's’ graduation late. As a kid I declared that I would always be prompt and never put things off. Im an adult now, and guess what? I procrastinate and unless the event is vital to my life, you can pretty much count on me to be late AF!
Procrastination is usually regarded as a kind of avoidance behavior or coping mechanism gone wrong. To quickly sum it up, procrastination is avoiding a task that needs to be accomplished. Not doing the sh*t you need to be doing. Instead, you find yourself doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out ‘busy’ tasks instead of more urgent ones. This usually happens when we fear or dread, or have anxiety about, an important task awaiting. To get rid of this negative feeling, people procrastinate.
Some thrive on the last moment pressure, but most of stumble into the pitfalls of procrastination. The negative effects include, sub-par work, frustration, and disappointment. Use these actionable steps to beat procrastination:
IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Set aside some time to evaluate your triggers. Write down on paper some of the causes and results of your procrastination, as you explore your triggers. Recognize and avoid distractions. Interrupt and change your habit loop. Critique your routine. If you usually come home from work, hang out and get nothing done, change your routine! Leave work and go to a coffee shop and spend a focused hour getting things done. Intentionally create new habits that work toward your goals, not against them.
SET YOURSELF YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
After identifying your procrastination triggers, set up fail safes in your life. It is easy to slip back into your old ways, but preparation is key! Remove the anxiety from situations, so there’s no need to procrastinate. When your actions are intentional and you are prepared, you increase your probability of success. When you plan your meals out for the week, isn’t dinnertime much easier? When you plan your day the night before doesn't it seem to go smoother? Put yourself in the best position to avoid procrastination and to be successful.
CREATE A PLAN & STICK TO IT
Procrastinators are great visionaries. Defined plans that are specific and measurable help procrastinators stay focused and reduce anxiety. Breaking down big goals or tasks into a series of small clear manageable tasks, allows you to stay focused on the most important priorities. Scheduling time to execute can also decrease procrastination. Try setting aside 1 hour blocks of time to focus on completing one of the priorities set for your day. Get into the groove and allow your creativity to flow. The gratification of accomplishment will soon overpower procrastinators love for instant gratification.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
When you write down and declare your goals you are more likely to follow through and complete them. Having someone there there push and support you is another step toward success. Select a partner who is a peer and will be honest with you, give you feedback and most importantly, hold you accountable for action. Accountability partnerships should be mutually beneficial. Feed off of each other, in order to make each other better. With defined measurable goals and a buddy to keep you accountable, procrastination will be a distant memory.
CELEBRATE YOUR WINS
Once the goal is achieved, treat yourself! When you set a goal, set a reward for accomplishing the goal too. If your plan to reward yourself with a massage, after you crush your goal go get a massage! Don't allow yourself to procrastinate on the reward. Not only do you deserve it, but the gratification and celebration of executing will soon outweigh the instant gratification of procrastination. The more you achieve the less that you will feel the need to avoid task.
More than likely you’ve been a procrastinator for a very long time, so don't get down if you slip back into your old ways. You are proving to yourself that you can do it! Each time that you accomplish something, it makes the next time easier. Progress will be slow at first, but if you stay committed the benefits will be well worth it!