Have you ever thought of doing something, then decided to "conveniently" postpone it to a later date? I'm sure you have. The first few times may be forgivable, but when it grows to become a habit, then you have a problem. Procrastination is very dangerous and it could be detrimental to your goals, both short and long term. Phil Stutz, co-author of the "The Tools", describes procrastination as the fear of pain, or the unpleasantness, that results from taking a certain action. Fortunately, just like any other habit, it can be reversed. So, how do you get to stop procrastinating?
1.) Set your goals and deadlines
Starting to work on a project blindly is sure to bring about procrastination in the long run. Setting goals is important not only in giving you perspective, but also in providing you with the drive needed to complete a project.
Your goals should be realistic and time bound. If you're studying, for instance, you can't expect to cover a whole topic in a day. It has to be systematic.
Additionally, divide your goals into smaller tasks so that they don't appear daunting. The easier they seem to accomplish, the faster you'll handle them.
2.) Identify what is causing your procrastination
Reasons for procrastination vary with each individual. However, they can be categorized under 4 main causes, including; a low task value, your personality, your expectations and goal failure.
Just as the name suggests, having a low task value is when you deem tasks too boring or unsatisfying to be done. Your personality, on the other hand, could cause procrastination depending on how you handle situations. Are you impulsive? Do you get irritated easily? Those are just but a few aspects of your personality that can cause procrastination.
Your expectations directly affect your self-drive. If a task doesn't "seem" to be rewarding enough, chances are you'll procrastinate. The fear of not achieving your goals additionally kills your confidence and prevents you from finishing your tasks.
Once you know what is causing your procrastination, it is easier for you to deal with it.
3.) Deal with the cause
So, you've identified what makes you procrastinate. What steps can you take in stopping it?
The first thing you need to do is to ensure that you're in the right environment before undertaking a task. A conducive environment will not only let you concentrate, it will also act as a source of motivation to help you effectively complete your task.
Once you're in the right environment, learn to harness your fear. Since it is the major cause of procrastination, learning how to control it will be very advantageous for you. If you fear doing a task, change your perspective and think of the consequences of not doing it. This should be a very good motivator.
Additionally, learn to do the smaller tasks first. There's a "2-minute rule" when it comes to accomplishing tasks which is quite effective. Since most tasks that cause you to procrastinate are quite simple, all you have to do is ask yourself if they'll take you more than two minutes. If not, do them right away without hesitation. As I mentioned earlier, it's important to subdivide large tasks into smaller ones. If you can do that to fit this rule, you'll be amazed by the amount of work you'll be able to get done.
4.) Learn to be accountable and reward yourself regularly
I know sometimes you can procrastinate and put the blame on someone or something. This is wrong. Learning to take responsibility of your actions is essential if you want to stop procrastinating. The more you tell yourself that it all depends on you, the more work you'll get done. If the task at hand is very demanding, there's no shame in asking for assistance.
Furthermore, once you accomplish a task, there is no harm in rewarding yourself. Actually, this is also a very good motivator and it will help you achieve more of your goals.
5.) Stay motivated and focused
Eventually, all of it comes down to having the right state of mind. If you easily despair after a simple failure, trust me, you'll never get anything done.
Some sources of motivation like fear and rewarding yourself have already been mentioned. Get to know what you like most, then put it all on the line. If you don't accomplish a task, you lose it. However, if you do get something done, double it.
In conclusion, life is too short for you to waste time. Achieving your life's goals should be your main priority at the moment and anything that prevents you from doing so should be done away with. Procrastination is one such thing. Learn how to avoid it and you'll see success follow.