4 Ways To Avoid Procrastination Like The Plague
I’ve put off writing this article. I wanted to write it over the weekend, but I kept finding reasons not to do it. Why? Why do any of us procrastinate?
In most cases, people put off doing something because they question their own abilities. They worry they will fail. But here are four sure-fire ways to ensure that you avoid procrastination.
1. Just do it.
Nike has the right idea with this slogan. Stop thinking about it. Stop making that drawn out, in-depth plan. You have prepared yourself enough. Now just do it. Some people have a really bad habit of preparing too much. While ample preparation for a difficult task is recommended and needed, overdoing it can be an overkill. You’ll move right past that point of being ready to the point of being late. Or not doing it at all. Don’t make whatever you’re putting off more complicated than it is. Whether you are changing your eating habits, calling your mother-in-law, or… perhaps, writing an article – perfectionism can be at the base of your procrastination. Know that there is no perfect time to start something. I joke with a friend because he has a tendency to “start on Monday” his new diet. He’ll pig out the weekend, in preparation for his Monday restrictions. But then Monday rolls around and something interferes with these best laid plans. The following weekend, I find he’s pigging out again. It’s a vicious cycle, and typical of procrastinators. So instead of waiting for your Monday, just do it. Right now.
2. Break it up
Oftentimes, we feel overwhelmed, which makes us procrastinate. But if you break up your work into reasonable steps, it’s not so overwhelming anymore. A mom friend of mine found that the chaos of her little ones resulted in a daily mess that was hard to keep up with. Like most mothers, she didn’t know where to begin. She read through several cleaning routines, but none seemed to work with her style. But she didn’t give up. Instead, she created a little ebook on breaking up the work into bearable pieces. Now she dances in the clean – literally – at the end of each day. The smaller steps make the process much easier to begin, so she wakes each day with the knowledge that she can just do it.
3. Make a plan
While spending too much time on preparations is a form of procrastination, taking a few minutes to make a plan is not counterproductive. If you create a timeline with specific deadlines, it will help you stay on track. A plan will help you see the little “bite-size” steps instead of just staring at the vast, overwhelming task. A timeline will also help you see the entire project in front of you and how it fits into your life. Perhaps you’ve been procrastinating because you thought you could never get it done. Now that you see the steps in black and white, it’s not so bad. Maybe you are simply blowing a task out of proportion. Make a plan and see the little steps you must take to get it done. Then take that first step.
4. Remove distractions
Get off of Facebook. Close Twitter. Fill your coffee cup and get to work. Whatever your distractions may be, get rid of them. Changing your environment can make all of the difference. If you’ve been putting off writing those Thank You notes, maybe you should clean your desk first. Sharpen your pencils or open a new box of pens. Then get to it. Putting off exercising with your Sweating to the Oldies program? Pick up in the family room, run the vacuum cleaner, push back the couch and get to work. Determine what is interfering with your progress and eliminate it. You can’t move forward if you are continually side-tracked.