Do It Now! 10 Tips for Beating Procrastination
On several occasions, I have a deadline looming and instead of working towards it, I tend to fiddle around with miscellaneous tasks. I often check emails, spend time on Facebook, or surf the internet when I should be focusing on my priorities. Whether it is work-related deadlines or household chores, I tend to put them off to another day for silly reasons.
Procrastination is the habit of postponing tasks and taking them up only when it’s extremely unavoidable. People postpone tasks either because they feel overwhelmed by a tough task at hand, or because they prefer to wait until the last moment so that they are motivated enough to complete the task. Procrastination is a common habit; however chronic procrastination can leave you with dire consequences. This habit eats into your productivity, adversely affects your reputation, and prevents you from achieving greater heights.
If procrastination has become a problem for you, here are ten tips which will help you get rid of the habit allowing you to become more productive in personal and professional life.
Stop the Mental Chatter and Start Now!
Often our minds rationalize procrastinating behaviors with excuses such as lack of time, information, and ability to do the task immediately. Further our minds ratify this behavior by promising a higher degree of success if the task is procrastinated. Reality check: I haven’t seen or heard anyone who has achieved greater success through procrastination.
At times, you need to jump into the task whether you are ready or not. A start is always better than no start. Don’t wait for a perfect time because the present moment is perfect to start. Strategy, plans and hypothesis will not help without action.
Split Your Goals into Actionable Steps
One more reason why people procrastinate is that subconsciously they feel plagued by the sheer size of the goal to be achieved. My advice: break your goal into little actionable steps and focus on one step at a time. Anticipate obstacles at each of these steps and have a plan ready to overcome them.
For instance, I am working on a new book ‘How to Sell Anything to Anyone.’ Writing a book can be a daunting task. To overcome this challenge I broke the task into actionable steps – researching, framing the outline, writing the content, revising, editing, and proof-reading. This helps me gain confidence and clarity.
The Five-Minute Wonder
I find this technique to be one of the best ways to beat procrastination. When faced with a complex task, ask yourself, “What small action can I complete in less than five minutes so that I move a little closer to my goal?” Once you have identified that small action set a timer and dedicate five minutes working on it. According to the Zeigarnik effect, once you start something, you are more likely to finish it. Thus, the one lesson that you learn here is to beat procrastination, start somewhere and the ripple effect will drive you towards your goals.