“Action will destroy your procrastination.” – Og Mandino
Earlier, we wrote an article about the reasons and causes of procrastination. That it’s not about you being lazy or not having self-control. It’s more about your negative mood and emotion surrounding a specific task. In this article, we’ll continue the discussion on procrastination with action steps on how you can beat it and get it out of your system. Let’s get to it.
- Make Your To-Do List
It may sound cliche, but this age-old advice works wonders. Having a to-do list keeps you on track, and it serves as a written reminder of the things you need to accomplish. The reason why having a list is crucial is because you no longer have to keep every detail in your head, which can lead to further anxiety and stress. Once you put your thoughts onto paper, your mind can relax and you’ll be more focused.
Additionally, the choice of how to make your to-do list is up to you. For some, writing them on Post-Its work best. For others, writing notes on their phones or using Sticky Notes on their computers are the way to go. Pick a way that you are most comfortable with as long as you create your list.
- Look at the Bigger Picture
When you want to delay doing a task, it’s because you may only be focused on the short-term effect, like it would give you extra free time today. What you don’t see is the domino effect of your procrastinating habit.
Take, for example, a manager who instructed one of his project managers to create a proposal or plan within a month. The project manager doesn’t really connect with the concept so he keeps putting it off, waiting for a light bulb moment to happen. Unknowingly, the reason why the manager gave a month deadline is so that the project manager can plan every detail properly as he will be leading this project upon completion. And yet, the project manager thinks he can just wing it out a week before the deadline.
The project manager wasn’t looking at the bigger picture. He didn’t think how his procrastinating would affect the success of the upcoming project and his ability to lead it. When you’re too focused on satisfying your short-term needs, you fail to see the effect of your inaction on others.
- Accepting Complexity
How many times have you procrastinated due to the complexity of the task? You are confused about how to begin, and you may feel overwhelmed and disorganised so you just put it off for later.
To beat the negative emotions, begin with accepting the task’s complexity. Let go of the resistance and know, in your mind, that you are indeed taking on a complex task. This way of thinking will encourage you to be better prepared for the challenge ahead instead of avoiding it.
Furthermore, if you accept how challenging a task can be, you’re more likely to think of different ways to approach it. Will researching more help you? Will asking for help from other people give you a jumpstart? Knowledge gives you confidence. The more you understand what you need to do, the more you feel ready to do it.
- Let Go of “Perfect”
Are you procrastinating because you fear making mistakes? The task isn’t the issue, but it’s how you entangle your self-esteem and self-worth with the task. It’s great to have high standards, but it’s better to have the ability to gauge the right standards for your work and yourself.
The problem with setting high standards all the time is you will procrastinate if you think you can’t meet those standards. At that point, you will feel awful already. Add to that the thought that you don’t feel like your knowledge, talents, and skills are enough to complete the task “perfectly.”
To avoid bringing yourself to a grinding halt, let go of your fear of making mistakes or not doing enough. How you complete a task doesn’t signify your worth as a person. You’re more than that.
- Know Yourself
Bear in mind that procrastinating isn’t about the task, it’s about you. So instead of blaming the task for your decision to delay doing it, start asking yourself why you’re procrastinating in the first place.
Why do you avoid complex tasks? What makes you feel not confident enough to tackle the task? Once you know the answers to these questions, then you will see that it is your personal issues that are getting in the way.
Just as it is vital to know why you’re procrastinating, you should also ask yourself how will you feel if you complete the task. Will it make you relieved, happy, or proud? You shouldn’t beat yourself up all the time for procrastinating as that will only make you feel demotivated. Change your perspective and also consider the positive feelings you will get once you accomplish a task, that should encourage you more.
Most often than not, you will ignore the role you play when you procrastinate. You will only see yourself as the mere “doer” of the task and that’s it. Procrastinating is a habit, which means your involvement in making this a habit is significant. It pays to know yourself more to address the issue of procrastination and beat it for good.