Is procrastination driving you crazy? We all have something that we are especially good at. Usually, we want that to be an awesome skill, talent or even a special gift. My special skill is the ability to bring procrastination to new and even greater heights.
Procrastination does not improve my life, it just makes me feel guilty and inefficient.
I have had to develop tricky ways to beat procrastination – hacks, if you will, which enable me to function more efficiently and get stuff done.
Firstly, why do we procrastinate? Why don’t we just get stuck in and get things out of the way?
The Reasons We Procrastinate:
- Fear. When a task is outside our comfort zone, fear is the biggest obstacle we face.
- Urgency. A task may not need to be done immediately, it may just have to be done by some future date.
- Mundane. Boring tasks are easy to put aside. They are just simply too boring to face.
- Perfection. The mindset that unless you can complete a task perfectly you should not start it.
- Resentment. The feeling that someone else should be doing the task anyway.
- Time. I don’t have enough time to fully complete the task
- Lazy. Pretty self explanatory really, just plain too slack
- Health. Not feeling well enough, lacking energy.
- Not my problem. Trying to offload the responsibility of a task onto someone else.
- Importance. My time is valuable, therefore it is not worth my time to do the task.
As I am a procrastination Ninja, I have come up with some unique and imaginative excuses to justify to myself why I cannot do certain tasks.
Examples of Excuses I Make to Procrastinate:
- I shouldn’t call that person right now, they may be having dinner and will feel annoyed and think it’s an international telemarketer calling.
- That task can wait because it’s way more important that I water the garden, check the mail or whatever other diversion I can conjure up.
- Folding the washing is the most boring thing ever so I will just pull everything off the line and throw it in this basket for folding later.
- The office needs a good sort out but I need to develop a fail proof filing system with cross checking and I need to research filing systems first.
- What the hell, why should I always be the one who mops this floor anyway? We all walk on it, it’s somebody else’s turn to mop.
- Don’t start something unless you are going to finish it.
- Arghhhh I can’t be bothered going through this boring process one more time.
- I am just too tired to do this task effectively, I will do it after a nap.
- If this task is not done it will not impact me at all. Someone else can do this one.
- I am my own best asset and my time is worth X dollars per hour, therefore I am way too important to do this task.
- Just need a coffee before I can get started.
5 Simple Strategies to Help Overcome Procrastination
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and scramble to get the task completed. By having a set time to complete or at least get a task underway you know that the job has a deadline. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes. A timer makes you work faster and more efficiently, keeps you from being distracted by sub-tasks and gives you a sense of priority and focus.
- Have a designated “Anti Procrastination Day”. I have Anti Procrastination Wednesday – this means that everything I have been putting off has to be done on Wednesday.
- Just be brave in the moment. I have created a whole swag of affirmations and mantras which I use to help me to be brave in the moment. I also use a strategy where I think about the worst thing that could possibly happen and take that to the extreme in ridiculousness and then I can do a reality check on what is really holding me back. Just suck it up and do it.
- There is magic in going the extra mile. It may not be your responsibility to do the task but there is always a payoff when you give unselfishly of your time, effort or heart. The task may be mundane or relentlessly recurring and it just feels great to make the effort to get it over and done with.
- Pay someone else to do it. There are times when it is just plain practical to pay an expert to get the job done. If you don’t have the skill set, or it will take you a long time then it’s probably worth paying a specialist who can do it in a fraction of the time while you get on and do things that you love and enjoy.
Perfectionism is probably the most challenging to overcome because it seems so critical to do things “properly”. I used to beat myself up about housework as I never felt I was on top of everything that I believed needed to be done. I have now retrained my brain to not value perfectionism as a virtue. My mantra for overcoming guilt and perfectionism with housework is “Housework done imperfectly still blesses my family”. I love that so much! It says that I don’t have to be perfect, my home does not have to be perfect and it’s all about loving my family and enjoying life!
What’s your strategy to beat procrastination? Do tell!
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