Procrastination. We all do it. In fact, I procrastinated in writing this post.
Procrastination comes in all different forms and extremities, from waiting until the tank is almost empty to fill up with gas to delaying until just before a deadline to start working on a report. But why is it so hard to just get your act together and do it?
At the core of procrastination is a fear. However little or small that fear is, it’s there. For instance, you might be putting off going to the supermarket because you just hate driving or you might be waiting until the last minute to write that report because you have no interest in the topic. Whatever the reason it, there is something you are dreading and in turn, trying to avoid for as long as possible.
The funny thing about procrastination is that we find a way to justify it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. We always try to rationalize our fears. You tell yourself that you don’t have the time, that you’ll do it tomorrow, that you’re too tired to do it today. While your reasons can be valid, most of the time they aren’t.
Procrastination is can also be a giant waste of time. Most of the time we spend avoiding something isn’t spent productively. Watching TV. Taking a nap. Checking Twitter. While those are all nice-to-do things, they’re not really adding much value.
So the big question is: how do you stop procrastinating? Since the reasoning behind why we procrastinate is different for everyone, there’s really no magical answer to it. Here are some tips, however, to help stop it:
1) Find the Root Cause.
What exactly are you fearing that is causing you to procrastinate? You’ll actually feel much better once you’ve identified it. It’s not just some vague, unknown any more. You know what it is and you can figure out how to tackle it.
2) Break Your Task into Smaller Goals.
It’ll be easier for you to reach each checkpoint and the whole task won’t feel as daunting. Remember in elementary school when you would get a sticker for doing something right? Think of it as giving yourself little gold stars and every checkpoint you reach is a notch closer to your goal.
3) Focus on the the End Goal.
While it’s important to take action on the very next actionable step (per point #3 above), it’s also helpful to focus on the end goal. Think about how great it will feel once you’ve finished it. Also, think about what you come to gain from completing your task. Focus on the reward and not the risk.
Now, stop reading this post and go do whatever you’ve been putting off.