6 Useful Steps To Tackle Procrastination

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Image via Creative Commons, Asja Boros’ Flickr photostream. (Source)

Is there something you’re procrastinating in your life now? For example,

  • Finishing your work
  • Getting a new job you’re passionate about
  • Looking for your soul mate
  • Losing weight
  • Starting a business

Procrastination is one of the biggest time wasters in life. When we procrastinate, we waste away valuable free time and put off important tasks we should be doing until it’s too late. When that happens, we panic and wish we started earlier. I know a few chronic procrastinators, and unfortunately they spend their lives in the cycle of delaying, putting off important tasks, procrastinating, avoiding work, and doing work only when it’s inevitable.

It’s unfortunate because they are disgruntled with their lives and they often self-victimize about their situations, when they have put themselves there in the first place.

It doesn’t have to be that way at all. You can take conscious action over procrastination to create the life that you want. Here, I will share 6 useful steps to tackle the procrastination bug:

    1. Set goals that you want
      If you’re not springing into action, there is probably a lack of desire towards the goal. Rather than push yourself through with the process, let’s start off with the very basic. Do you want this goal? If your answer is “no”, that means this isn’t a goal to pursue in the first place. If that’s the case, pressing on isn’t a solution. Ditch those goals, get back to the drawing board and start forming new goals. Identify the goals that really inspire you.

 

  • Understand why you want the goal
    Understanding why you want the goal will help you get clear of your inner motivations. Whether your goal is weight loss, to change a job, to find your life partner, ask yourself: Why do you want this goal? Write down as many answers as possible, until you feel a strong drive and motivation. The objective is to connect you with your inner desire for the goal. This ‘Why’ is the fuel that’ll drive you towards your goal. If you don’t have a good ‘Why’, you’ll eventually face a lack of interest and give up halfway. With a strong ‘Why’, it’ll drive you to accomplish anything you want to, and overcome whatever is ahead.

 

 

  • Develop a clear plan with specific deadlines
    A clear plan with specific deadlines is crucial. If you don’t have that, you won’t know the effects day-to-day procrastination has your end outcome. In your mind, there is a foggy idea of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Since there isn’t a clear idea of what needs to be done by when, your impression is that even if you procrastinate for a little while, nothing gets impacted. So you let yourself relax, thinking you can get to it later on.

 

However, every time you procrastinate, something is implicated. You just don’t know because you don’t have a clear plan outlined. Develop a plan to achieve your goal. Your plan should include the steps you need to take and specific deadlines for each task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date.

 

  • Break your work into little steps
    I remember when I was working on my 1st ebook, Personal Excellence Book, a few months ago, I would procrastinate on it day after day. It would be months before I realized that I was never ever going to get to it unless I did something different. I realized I was putting it off because I saw it as a huge task and it was mentally overwhelming. So then, I broke down the project into phases such as researching, deciding on the topic, creating the outline, drafting the content, writing the chapters, and so on. Suddenly, the whole thing seemed very manageable. From there, I just focused on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I moved on to the next. My ebook was launched just a few months ago with pre-sales being maxed out in the first couple of hours.

 

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. It’ll be so simple that it’s easy to start!

 

  • Drop the perfectionist mindset
    As contradicting as it may be, a perfectionist mindset leads to procrastination. Have you ever thought put off your work because you feel like it’s too much work? That’s the perfectionist side of you thinking – in your mind, you see the work to be done in a certain way, to a certain level. However, if you think about it, that sort of mindset doesn’t serve you. For what it’s worth, doing just a wee bit of something is better than not doing at all. Just start off small. Even if it’s a lousy draft, it gets things started. It’s from that 1st draft that you build on to the next draft.

 

When I write my articles, I always split the work over several days. My objective when I first write it is not to get everything right, but just to get the key ideas down and have a brief outline. It doesn’t even have to look a certain way – editing comes in the later stages. I find that this system of writing makes me a lot more productive than trying to finish 1 whole blog post in 1 sitting.

 

  • Create accountability
    The more accountable you are to your goal, the more better. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. This creates an even stronger motivation to stick to your plans and achieve your goals. For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

 

Share your experiences
Is there something you’re procrastinating in life? How can you tackle your procrastination via the 6 steps above? Please share with all of us in the comments area.

Written on 11/09/2010 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at Personal Excellence, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die. Photo Credit: SuperFantastic

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