Procrastination is a sneaky foe. If we don’t pay attention to its presence in our lives, procrastination will just end up taking more of our free time, attention, and energy.
Thankfully, there are many ways we can stop ourselves from relying on procrastination to get us out of a jam. Here is a list of some of my favorite go-to tips:
1. Understand that the work you do is not a direct reflection of your value as a human being. When we believe our work somehow will tell the world how much we are or are not worthwhile, we tend to find ourselves stuck and stressed out. Avoid making too big a deal of your work. How could any piece of work reflect who you are as a human being anyway?
2. Learn the importance of letting go. If we feel that everything is important or meaningful, then we end up saddled with thoughts to worry about and too much clutter to bear. Differentiate the important from the insignificant and put your focus where it needs to be. Discard the rest. You will feel okay once you start to let unimportant things go — it just takes some getting used to.
3. Ignore feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. Procrastination tends to be our answer when we feel the negative feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. We worry how we’ll do when we’re about to speak in public, and then, lo and behold, we start to delay preparing for that speech. It’s a vicious cycle which leaves us shaky and underprepared. Fight the urge to run in the opposite direction of your work. The next time you’ve got a speaking opportunity coming up, decide to focus on the quality of your speech and your delivery rather than how you’ll feel once you’re done.
4. Write things down. I’ve found that writing most things down gives me an edge over my tendency to procrastinate. When I have notes scribbled, I feel more connected to the ideas or to the moment I was scribbling. When I have a to-do list in front of me, I spend a lot less time needing to figure out what I am going to do next. When I dutifully record notes and dates in my calendar, I avert missed opportunities and appointments and feel in control of my day.
5. Track what you do. Writing things down is a start, but actually tracking your activities and progress is an even more powerful way to make sure procrastination stays away. I highly recommend using the Commit to 3 app to keep yourself moving towards your most important goals and for being honest with yourself about whether you’re really working or not. You can use the free version of the Commit to 3 app on your own, but I recommend putting some skin in the game by upgrading to the paid version ($2.99 for one year, non-renewing) and being able to track your and a friend’s progress too. A little friendly fun and accountability never hurt anyone!
6. Work every day. Procrastination doesn’t tend to hang around people who are working with a purpose every day. And people who work with a purpose every day don’t tend to need procrastination so much. Procrastination becomes a nuisance when you know what your priorities are, have a specific plan for achieving them, and work every day to make sure they get met.
Try any or all of the techniques above and you will likely find you’ve created some breathing room between you and your procrastination. Take a step at a time and be patient with yourself. Getting out from under the weight of procrastination is a gradual process of learning, healing, and self-discovery. I know it will be worth it, and I know you can do it.
Interested in learning more tips to defeat procrastination? Enroll in my Procrastination Coach Roadmap 5-day e-mail course to learn the exact tips, tools, and strategies that helped me kick the habit –>