One of the biggest difficulties for most people to overcome is procrastination. We all have things we dread doing, and it is so much easier to come up with excuses not to do those things, or find other more pressing things to take care of, all as a means of avoidance. Then we look at all the time that has been wasted putting off the dreaded task, only to find that it is still sitting there, staring us squarely in the face. Not only did we lose precious time trying to ignore the unpleasant task, but it has since grown even more ominous.
An important aspect of any self improvement program is learning to overcome the fine art of procrastination. Some people are able to casually avoid an unpleasant or difficult chore, while others go to extreme lengths devising outlandish mechanisms for escaping their responsibilities. In many cases, the effort spent avoiding the task far exceeds the amount of effort required to complete it.
As you progress along your path towards self improvement, keep the following things in mind.
- Unfinished Business Causes Stress: No matter how steadfastly you try to ignore those unpleasant responsibilities, the fact is they are not going to go away without your attention. One of the goals of any effort towards achieving self improvement is the ability to reduce stress – but until you learn to overcome your procrastination, any unfinished business will add stress to your life.
Undone tasks will lurk in the back of your mind, causing you to feel guilt and frustration. You will be ill at ease until you finally get around to completing any unfinished business you may have. As unpleasant as it may be, you need to dig in and make sure you address each and every responsibility and task in your life. Failure to do so will undermine any effort you make at achieving relaxation and fulfillment.
- Make the Most Difficult Tasks Your Priority: One of the best ways to get past your mental roadblocks regarding certain tasks is to move them to the top of your priority list and focus all of your energy on them. Make them your first accomplishments of the day, the week, or the month. Once you dive in and finish them, you can clear them off of your calendar, take a deep breath, and go about the rest of your business with a clear mind and a light heart.
By tackling the hardest things first, you complete them with and energetic body and a refreshed attitude, giving you the greatest chances of achieving success. You will feel a sense of great accomplishment, and somehow the rest of your chores will not seem so difficult.
- Just Do It: The easiest way to beat procrastination once and for all is to commit to just getting it done. Choose a starting point and dig in with both hands. If it helps, break your major tasks into smaller parts, creating a succession of smaller tasks that lead to the fulfillment of one major task. Breaking it down into smaller parts is a great mind trick that fools you into thinking you are completing something much easier than the original project appeared to be.
Once you know where you are going to start, then get moving. They say to have to walk before you can run, so just take it slowly and accomplish one step at a time. As you complete each step, take a moment to acknowledge your progress, then continue on. Do not allow yourself to become sidetracked, which is really just another avoidance mechanism. Commit to keeping yourself on task until the entire project is complete.
Procrastination can be difficult for everyone, and we all have things that cause us to struggle. In the long run, though, it is so much easier to just get moving and let our successes give us the motivation to continue, than it is to wallow in our failures. Movement creates a positive energy that will lead you down the path towards achieving your dreams.