The first and most important step is to understand what causes people to put things off in the first place that they know they should be doing, yet consistently seem to avoid until the last possible moment, if ever.
For most people procrastination, irrespective of what they say, is NOT about being lazy. In fact, when we procrastinate we often work intensely for long stretches just before our deadlines. Working long and hard is the opposite of lazy, so that can’t be the reason we do it. So, why do we procrastinate and, more importantly, what can we do about it?
Putting things off that you know you need to do can lead to an increase in stress and pressure which makes your life harder, not easy. For this reason, procrastination is definitely something that needs to be overcome for people who don’t work well under pressure.
Why do we procrastinate?
Here are the top 6 reasons, in no particular order, why people avoid doing those things they know they have to.
- To escape tasks that are overwhelming or unpleasant
- To excuse poor work
- To gain sympathies
- To get someone else to do a job
- To protect a weak self-image
- To avoid change
What can we do about it?
First, to overcome procrastination you need to have an understanding of the REASONS WHY you procrastinate and the function procrastination serves in your life. You can’t come up with an effective solution if you don’t really understand the root of the problem. As with most problems, awareness and self-knowledge are the keys to figuring out how to stop procrastinating.
For a lot of people acquiring this insight about how procrastination protects them from feeling like they are not able enough, and keeping it in mind when they are tempted to fall into familiar, unproductive, procrastinating habits goes a long way to solving the problem.
The fastest way I have come across to eliminate procrastination is to ask yourself two simple questions and then take immediate action on them. You can double, triple even quadruple the results that you get in both your personal and business life starting from today if you simply follow this formula.
3 Steps To Eliminate Procrastination
These three steps that I will now share hold the secret to lifelong success both at home and at work.
Step 1 – Ask yourself this question…
“What is the one thing that I don’t want to do today but if I did it, it would move my personal or professional life forward?”
Then write down your answer.
Step 2 – Now ask yourself…
“How will I benefit from doing it?”
Then write down as many benefits as you can think of. The more ’emotional’ your reasons, the more powerful they will be to help inspire you to take action. Once you have completed you list of benefits, then read through them a few times to remind yourself ‘why’ you want to take action.
Step 3 – Take immediate action.
Then monitor your progress and give yourself a pat on the back or a ‘fun’ reward once you have completed your objective. This will help to reinforce that you experience pleasure every time you do something that you would normally try to avoid.
Say Goodbye To Procrastination Forever!
The real secret to eliminating procrastination can be found in step 1 above. Focus on doing ONE task at a time. It gets rid of any feelings of overwhelm that can happen when we have a to-do list that is too busy for your mind to cope with.
By keeping your ‘to-do’ list simple and doable you are setting yourself up for success, rather than failure. It’s far more powerful to get one important task done each day, than it is to try and do several and fail at them all.
Lastly, If you feel really stuck, start simply by committing to complete a small task, any task, and write it down. Finish it and reward yourself. Write down on your schedule or “to do” list only what you can completely commit to, and if you write it down, follow through no matter what.
By doing so you will slowly rebuild trust in yourself that you will really do what you say you will, which so many procrastinators have lost.