How to overcome the procrastination monster
What are you avoiding doing…right now?
Getting some work done?
Connecting with someone that you need to talk to?
Spending some time in renewal: exercise, meditation, prayer?
Procrastination takes many forms. Sometimes in the past, if I wasn’t clear on exactly what the perfect next step was, I’d get lost in research. I’d go online to do one thing and spend an hour scrolling through social media. I’d work on long term activities and projects that had no meaningful impact on accomplishing my immediate milestones or goals.
One time I got so desperate that I did the laundry…
There are lots of ways to break the habit of procrastination. Here are some of my most effective:
- Begin by doing something small. Make a deal with yourself to work on the project for 30 minutes instead of the whole day, or to clean out one drawer instead of the whole room or to walk just one mile. Making the effort smaller often diminishes our resistance.
- Allow yourself to begin by doing the task imperfectly. Since many times our resistance involves fear that we won’t measure up or that we can’t accomplish the goal, give yourself permission to begin by doing something badly. You can always review and improve on the finished product later. It doesn’t mean you have to publish a poorly written blog or that you have to turn in a report that is inaccurate. Only that you begin with a rough draft that can be edited and corrected later.
- Set aside time to clearly define your priorities and reduce them to the essential ones. Once reason we procrastinate is because we have vague ideas about what we want to accomplish, which also means that we have trouble knowing where to begin. Clean up the clutter is quite different from clear off and organize my desktop. Pick only one or two things to accomplish in your day and do them first when you have the most energy and focus. Ignore everything else until those priorities are done.
- Make a commitment and then don’t allow your feelings to take over. Once you’ve decided to exercise first thing, do it without checking in with your emotions to see if you want to… you won’t. When you plan to dive into that report, don’t ask yourself how you feel about doing it. You already know you dread it but taking action does not need to be ruled by feelings. Don’t allow your feelings to become an easy ticket out.
You deserve a break!! Enjoy a Summer of Renewal on me:)