How to Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination is an issue a lot of us deal with (or put off dealing with) for as long as possible. Procrastination usually happens when you're faced with doing something you don't like to do, don't know how to do, or fear.
When you procrastinate, it can upset a lot of things in your life. Delaying completing projects can affect your income, relationships, and self-esteem – not to mention your credibility!
In addition, it doesn't just affect you; it affects everyone else close to you:
- It can irritate your spouse and children and teach your kids to put things off, too.
- Your friends might decide they can no longer trust you to do what you say.
- It causes issues with your boss and co-workers who have to step in and do your work for you (until you get fired)!
- It frustrates anyone who has to wait on you to get something done before they can do their part.
As bad as it seems, however, there are ways you can overcome your procrastination! Even if you've been putting some projects off for months, or if it has become a daily habit, you can still get back on track.
Follow these tips to transform yourself into someone who gets things done:
- Divide and conquer. Most tasks are composed of several different pieces, which is why you'll want to divide the task into a series of attainable action steps. Breaking it down this way makes it seem a lot easier.
- Put some easy steps at the beginning that you can accomplish quickly.
- Jump right in and complete those first easy steps. This will give you the confidence to continue, build momentum, and motivate you to get it finished.
- Get some help. Don't let pride get in the way of letting you get something accomplished.
- If your time is short, ask someone to help with some of the tasks for you, especially the easy ones that can be dispatched quickly. This will give you more time to focus on the more difficult portions of the project.
- Form a team and divide up the project. As the saying goes, many hands make light work! Learning to delegate helps make you more successful. If your delayed projects are at home, let your children do the parts of the project they can handle. They'll learn some valuable life skills, too.
- If you're unsure of what to do, ask someone who's done something similar before. They can quickly bring you up to speed. Once it's no longer a mystery, you'll find it's not as much of a challenge as you thought!
- Make a list. Write down all the things that you've been putting off so you have a concrete listing of exactly what you need to complete.
- Put them in order of their priority. This way you'll be sure to get the most important ones done first.
- Divide each project into attainable tasks as explained above.
- Post it where you can see it throughout the day.
- Cross off each task as you finish it. Just the action of crossing something off that list makes you feel good and motivates you to get more done.
- Reward yourself after you complete the full project.
- Start some new habits. Now that you know some easier ways to get things done, use these same tips each day for every project that comes up.
- Instead of just putting it aside for later, divide your project immediately into attainable smaller tasks, delegate what you can, and do something on it right away.
- Make it a point to do this consciously for a few weeks and it will become a habit. Most experts agree that it takes three weeks to turn a conscious action into a habit.
Bernard Meltzer said: “Hard work is often easy work you didn't get done at the proper time.” How true! The longer you put off doing a task or project, the harder it'll be to get it done because more work has piled up, conditions have gotten worse, and others involved are now irritated with you.
Make your work easier and your life more enjoyable by following these tips to overcome your procrastination and avoid it in the future. You'll be glad you did!