How To Stop Procrastination
You want to know how to stop procrastination? First of all you need to know that usually it is really just a habit we develop in response to some internal block or barrier to living the life you really want to live. These are usually thinking and believing habits that result in procrastination behaviors.
You can avoid procrastination if you identify your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs and gently deal with them to shift around or through the blocks... or completely eliminate them! A good Life and Personal Development Coach can really help you shift those blocks out of your way. But there are also ways to self-coach yourself for procrastination help.
By simply noticing and changing behaviors you can begin to make the shift in your thoughts and beliefs. You have choices in all those areas; thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving. So here I offer 7 practical, action-oriented ideas for how to stop procrastinating.
7 Practical Ideas for How to Stop Procrastination
Regardless of the particular internal block that is causing us to procrastinate, we need some strategies to help us overcome our procrastination behaviors. So I think these action steps are really concrete strategies you can use to work through how to stop procrastination in just about any situation.
- Stop Thinking about it and Just Do It!It’s weird. Many of us find ourselves procrastinating around something that we know in our mind is important for us to do? And that it really isn't that big a deal to "just do it." It may be an unpleasant task that we just don't WANT to do. Most of the time, these things aren't as bad as you think they are going to be. Procrastination help is in the focus. Just focus for 5 minutes to get rolling.
Then once you've experienced the roll for a pre-determined amount of time, reward yourself for accomplishments. Go out for special lunches when major projects are completed. Or put a gold star on your calendar! If you don’t earn the reward, don’t take it.
- "Start with the hardest task of the day, [or the unpleasant ones] the easy ones just take care of themselves." That procrastination quote is from Dale Carnegie. I've learned to do these things first thing in the morning... right after I've had my coffee, finished last night's dishes, and made my list for the day. The earlier in the day I start the unpleasant tasks the better, because then they aren't hanging over my head. The primary reward for getting them done early is that sense of accomplishment! and relief! and FREEDOM!
- That said, Take Advantage of Your Power Hours! If you really want to know how to stop procrastinating, you might think about the times of day when you have the most energy. Use those times to set your priorities and then really get into the most challenging tasks. And make the best use of your calendar to actually identify your power hours! That way it will be easier to plug things in.
- “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”Martin Luther King, Jr. said that about those big, important, long range projects that loom ahead of us. He's telling us how to stop procrastinating about things like starting a small business, getting a job, preparing the annual budget, cleaning the garage, writing content about procrastination for your website. When you perceive that the job is too big or will take too long to do now, so you put it off.
This is usually caused by the 2-Dimensional thinking I describe on the pages about causes of procrastination. Learn how to stop procrastinating in this case by making a shift to 3-Dimensional thinking. That means breaking large jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. Plan and complete a start-up task, no matter how small. In fact, purposefully break the project into very small tasks; tasks that take only 5-10 minutes, or 1-2 hours.
- Decide already! “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”Theodore Roosevelt said procrastination quote to point out that if you don't choose, you've chosen by default! Sometimes people delay because they can’t make up their minds. So decide the time for making a decision and the criteria for making it. Share your deadline with someone else for accountability.
- Set deadlines for yourself. I just mentioned this important strategy for how to stop procrastination in relation to decision deadlines. Here I'm talking about your perfectionistic tendencies. Maintain your high standards, but recognize that sometimes 80% for you may well be 100% for someone else. Don’t spend hours conducting a detailed set of blueprints when a quick sketch will do.
Don't take things personally. Sometimes we procrastinate because because we don’t the way like the person who told us to do the job treats us. Or maybe we don't feel like people are going to notice what a great job we did so why bother. Sometimes we are angry or frustrated with someone involved in the process. All of that makes the task pretty unpleasant and it is understandable that we don't want to put ourselves through that kind of nasty interpersonal stuff. But deal with it! get is over with! Maybe make a game out of unpleasant tasks. Give yourself points, or do a running commentary on yourself as you do the task
- Just Finish It! I'll explain this one with a quote: "“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.” by David Allen
Speaking of finishing things, when it comes our safety and security there are some things we should just plain do! Don't even think about procrastination because they can make a difference between life and death, health and illness, financial success and financial ruin. My colleague Hans Hallenger, a professional organizer, has compiled a list of 36 things we should not procrastinate about for our own safety and security.
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