Procrastination paralyzes good people.
It is a self-induced distraction where we crazily waste precious time while opportunity slips through our fingers.
The good news is there are several simple, yet effective, strategies we can use to beat procrastination.
If you want to learn effective ways to overcome this debilitating habit so you can accomplish more, then please read on.
Simple Ways to Conquer Procrastination
Let’s face it, we all procrastinate from time-to-time. We put off doing the things we need to get done.
We stall. We avoid. We postpone. We defer. We daydream. We rationalize.
We do everything except what we should be doing.
Unfortunately, while we squander our time, life passes us by.
The next time you find yourself procrastinating, try one of these techniques to free yourself from the chains that bind.
1. Eat That Frog
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
~ Mark Twain
The idea here is to do the task you dread most first thing in the morning before you have a chance to build it up in your mind.
Plus, you’ll get a boost from knowing that you knocked out a difficult task. This is empowering.
Once you’ve completed your toughest task for the day – you’ve eaten your frog – everything else you have to do will seem easy.
2. Stop Worrying About the Finish Line
“The best way to get something done is to begin.”
Often we fail to start because we don’t think we’ll have time to finish. This kills productivity.
Stop worrying about the finish line. You’ll never reach it unless you cross the starting line first.
You can accomplish more than you think in 15 minutes or sometimes even just 5 minutes.
Get started and do as much as you can without concern for finishing. I promise, you’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll get done by following this simple guideline.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Be Crappy
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.”
~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Sometimes we procrastinate because we fear our results will be crappy. To avoid crappy results, we tell ourselves things like, “I don’t even know where to start.”
As David Kadavy, author of Design for Hackers, says, “It’s okay to suck, it’s necessary to suck.”
We all learn as we go. You had to crawl before you could walk and when you did start walking, you were pretty crappy at it. However, I bet you’ve gotten a lot better now because you never stopped trying.
Give yourself permission to be crappy at first. It eliminates a big obstacle to getting started.
4. Change Your Internal Self-Talk
“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
~ Charles Spurgeon
You cannot bully yourself into getting important tasks done. When you pressure yourself, you increase your anxiety and anxiety empties you of your strength.
I’ve realized, from my own struggles with procrastination, words have power. When I use words like, “should”, “need to”, and “have to” to try to force myself to do tasks, my internal resistance increases.
To combat this, give yourself some room and monitor your internal self-talk. Instead of saying, “I have to get this done,” say, “I want to do this.” It really does make a difference.
5. Realize Not All Procrastination Is Bad
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
~ Jessica Hische
I’ve come to realize that procrastination is not all bad. Therefore, one way to beat it is to just give in to it.
In some instances, it is better to put off a task until you truly feel up to it.
In the meantime, engage in something where you can learn, grow and be creative. You may generate some of your most brilliant ideas while you are distracting yourself from what you “should” be doing.
Stop Struggling With Procrastination
“The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
Habitual procrastination is debilitating. However, it can be overcome. The tips above will help you become a happier, more productive person.
You cannot afford to put this off any longer!