How to Overcome Procrastination

Have you found yourself putting off important tasks over and over again? If so, you are not alone! Many people find themselves trapped in the vicious cycle of procrastination which can lead to detrimental consequences in their career.

Fortunately, there is a solution to overcome procrastination BEFORE it consumes your business and your life. As with many bad habits, the key to overcome procrastination is to recognize it as soon as it is happening, understand WHY it’s happening, and take active steps towards time management which will lead to better outcomes.

Here are a few steps to overcome this destructive habit:

Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating

The truth is you are the expert when it comes to yourself. Self-honesty is key in recognizing when you are knowingly putting things off. A few indicators of procrastination might look something like this:

  • Filling your day with tasks from your To Do list that are low priority to avoid doing the more important and/or challenging tasks
  • Reading the same emails over and over again without following through with appropriate action to get the job done
  • Waiting for the “right time” or the “right mood” to tackle the high priority task at hand

Step 2: Work Out WHY You’re Procrastinating

Ask yourself a few simple questions to discover the root causes of why you are putting things off:

  • Am I avoiding this task because I find it unpleasant or unenjoyable?
  • Am I disorganized?
  • Am I feeling overwhelmed by this task?
  • Do I fear success and all of the responsibility that it may bring?

If you answered yes, to one or more of the above questions, there are strategies and tools you can begin utilizing such as prioritized to-do lists, maintaining a daily schedule, and developing better decision making skills.

Step 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. We all know that habits do not disappear overnight. But, they do require patient persistence in breaking them by adopting some different approaches. These general tips will help motivate you to get moving:

  • Make up your own rewards. For example, promise yourself a piece of tasty flapjack at lunchtime if you've completed a certain task. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
  • Hold yourself accountable to your colleagues by asking them to check up one you. Peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task.
  • Aim to “eat an elephant” one bite at a time. This silly metaphor really does put things into perspective.
  • Keep a to-do list so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks. Check them off as you complete them. It feels great!
  • Become a master of scheduling and project planning so that you know when to start those all-important projects.

We all put off things from time to time, but chronic procrastination can be detrimental to the success of your business if you do not tackle it in the early stages. Hopefully, these steps can help you sidestep the traps and keep moving in the right direction!