How to Overcome Procrastination
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Procrastination is something that everyone does at times, but when this is a frequent occurrence, you have to do something about it. A lot of people think of procrastination as something that only affects students, but it is common among adults too. When you procrastinate, you hinder everything from your work performance to your social skills. It is important to overcome this so that you can take advantage of the opportunities that life offers you.
Start with Something Easy
Find a task that you never finished that is easy so that it is not overwhelming to fit it into your current schedule. For example, if you want to alphabetize your bookshelf or clean out your junk drawer, but you keep putting it off, start with these. These are tasks that you can complete within about an hour, making it easy to get them done even if you have limited time. Look for a task that you have been wanting to do that will take less than an hour and get this done within the next 72 hours. This will get you started and once you complete the task, you will be motivated to tackle others.
There is no need to make elaborate plans because if you get stuck on the planning stage, you may further procrastinate on the task at hand. Just start anywhere, choose something simple that does not require any planning and complete the task. This sounds simple because it is and you will feel more motivated after getting the first task done.
Know that Excuses Will Happen
As you are working on your problem with procrastination, you will make excuses and there are times when you will give into them. Common excuses that occur, include:
a) You are simply not in the mood to complete the task
b) You tell yourself that you are better under pressure
c) You tell yourself that you need the right moment to get started
d) You do not feel well, so you keep putting off the task
e) You feel that you can wait until the last minute to finish the task
If you fall victim to any excuses, when you wake up the next morning, forgive yourself and get back on track. There is no need to dwell on the fact that an excuse took you away from your goals. Take a few minutes to consider why you made an excuse and why you fell victim to it. This will help you to prevent the same issue in the future and strengthen your resolve against giving into any of the excuses that you make.
Value Your Goals
Many people who procrastinate simply do not create goals that hold a lot of value. Sit down, write down your goals and take some time to evaluate them. In most cases, you just have to tweak them and not change them completely. However, if your goals are unreasonable, you should break them down. If your goals are lofty, people will naturally procrastinate because of the amount of work involved to accomplish them. For example, if one of your goals is to rearrange your house, break this task down to room by room. This is much easier to accomplish and as you rearrange each room, you can check it off your list, giving you some motivation.
Think More Concretely
It is natural to be an abstract thinker, but this encourages procrastination. Abstract thinking would be something like "I want to write a song someday." This thinking does not have any defined goals or deadlines. Turn this into concrete thinking with something like "I will write the first verse of a song within seven days." This gives you clearly defined goals and it breaks down the task to one part. This is much easier to accomplish and the goal essentially gives you the necessary instructions to meet your goal.
It is important to start slow because you cannot conquer your procrastination overnight. It will take time because you are making a major behavioral change. If you make changes that are too drastic at once, you will find it a lot harder to stick to them and this can actually cause more procrastination. Start with one step, complete it and then start with the next step. The most important part is starting this process and getting things finished and caught up, one thing at a time.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Pavlina, S. (2015). Overcoming Procrastination. Retrieved on February 23, 2015 from http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/overcoming-procrastination.htm
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