I don’t know about you, but I can find myself in a tight spot once in while – all because I procrastinated about something I knew I needed to do.
And then of course, I am frustrated with myself because now I need to drop everything else I’d rather be doing and I’m stressed and not happy at all.
In this article I will help you understand how to recognize procrastination when it comes up for you and learn how to reach your goals.
Is it really procrastination… or are you making the right decision because something else is more important right now? If it is really procrastination these strategies will help you recognize the early warning signs and give you strategies that will work for you so that you stop playing small and live your life to the fullest.
The end of the year is quickly ending so this is a perfect time to reflect over the year and see what you had planned to accomplish compared to what you did accomplish. Think back to when you planned out your goals.
Remember how excited and dedicated you were? And then life happens and the day-to-day gets in the way and before you know it another day has gone by without reaching your goals.
When asked recently in an Internet survey the top five reasons people gave for procrastination was: fear of failing (19%), lack of motivation (13%), lack of focus (12%), feeling overwhelmed (10%) and the task was unpleasant (9%.)
1st Sign You are Procrastinating
You indulge in distractions such as watching TV, surfing the web, social media, playing video games, taking naps, reading books, or hanging out with friends instead of working on your goals.
2nd Sign You are Procrastinating
You make excuses for not doing something you know you should be doing such as…
- It’s been a rough week or
- I need more time / money / resources / sleep or
- I have too many other things going on right now – I just can’t fit this in or
- I’m just not feeling it right now
- Yada, yada, yada…
3rd Sign You are Procrastinating
Feelings of despair that can paralyze you from taking positive action towards your goals. This often sounds like…
- Why is my life so unfair?
- Why am I always the one that must do everything?
- Why are things always so difficult?
- Why can’t I be more organized?
If you can see yourself in any of these warning signs, then you are definitely procrastinating in a detrimental way.
Here are ten strategies that will help you overcome this problem once and for all:
- Vocabulary is important so choose your words wisely. Positive words yield positive results; negative self-talk gets more of what you don’t want.
- Reverse your calendar and start with the deadline and work backwards so you space out the work in smaller steps. Make sure the interim deadlines are realistic and allow space for unforeseen things to come up without jeopardizing the project.
- Fill your calendar so that you reduce the time you think you have available to work on the important tasks. Look at elapsed time versus effort time.
For instance, it might take you 3 hours to complete a project step but you won’t have a 3-hour block of time all at once. So, give yourself a deadline of completing that task over 3 days so that you can find 3 hours of time spread over the 3-day period.
Include recreational and family activities, too, so that the time you can dedicate to the project is realistic and achievable.
- Work in a state of flow because we’re most productive when fully engaged. Distractions, emotions and other concerns undermine our ability to focus. Consider spending 2-minutes in meditation to empty your mind and visualize yourself celebrating completing the task.
- Fully embrace your goals so don’t spend time working on things you don’t care about if you have any choice in the matter. There are some things we all must do regardless of how much we dislike them – so do those things first and get them out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of your day doing what you really want to do.
- Look at the tiny steps if the big picture is overwhelming. Break each big step into smaller steps and before you realize it, the project is finished. And share the load by delegating as much as you can to someone who loves doing those types of things.
- Make your own rewards and treat yourself once a specific task is completed. Relish how good it feels to have that step completed and then do something fun before moving to the next step.
- Reframe its importance even if it’s not important to you. Remind yourself of how important it is to someone you care about or think about how good you will feel when this project is completed.
I do that when it’s time to prepare my annual taxes because it is the one thing I dislike more than anything – but once it’s handed off to the CPA I feel wonderful knowing I won’t have to do it again for another year!
- Sleep, eat healthy & exercise because unless you feel good physically and mentally it will be almost impossible to focus on completing the task at hand.
- Uncover start and end points because once something has a beginning and an end, it’s a whole lot easier to start filling in the middle. That’s a lesson I learned from my home economics teacher in grade school when she made us measure twice and cut once.
When I was learning to sew, I had to take out each piece of the pattern and lay it out on the fabric so I knew exactly which pieces I needed before I was ever able to start cutting. Of course, I wanted to jump right in and make a dress, but I’m so glad she enforced me to do it right the first time!
So now that you understand why you might be procrastinating, how to tell when it’s happening and some methods to develop some winning strategies it’s a perfect time to start planning for the new year.
About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson
Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.
What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.