This post needed to be written, but it has taken days to get pen to paper or hands to keyboard.
Was it procrastination? Were there more interesting things to be done?
Why do we delay or postpone something that has to be done?
Do we feel the task at hand is not as important as other things we want to do?
Why we procrastinate typically falls into one of four camps: expectancy, value, time or impulsivity, says Alexander Rozental, a procrastination researcher and a clinical psychologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. In other words, “People procrastinate because of a lack of value [associated with the task]; because they expect that they’re not going to achieve the value they’re trying to achieve; because the value is too far from you in terms of time; or because you’re very impulsive as a person,” Rozental says.
When we procrastinate, there is regret and stress when we have put things off that need to be done. Sometimes the trouble is just getting started.
Some ways to overcome Procrastination:
Change the way you are looking at things. Don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating which will just add more stress.
Bite size pieces:
Instead of looking at how long it may take to complete the whole task, break it down into bite size pieces. Like the old saying goes – You can’t eat a whole elephant in one sitting, you need to take small bites. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to start. Then take a break for a few minutes. If 10-15 minutes is to overwhelming, then do 5 minutes – but just start. Then return to it after a few minute break. You will find you start to get momentum and get further than you think. That’s what happened with this post, once we started putting it down on paper, it flowed and worked.
Sometimes we avoid even starting a paper, article, or something else, because we may feel we don’t have all of the information we need to complete the project. Set aside small intervals of times to research your topic. With gathering the information done, you can then move onto putting everything together. Also as you think of ideas you’d like to include in your paper/project write them down. Keep a running list. Always have paper handy, so when the time comes to pull it all together, you’ll realize you already have a lot of it already done.
Your time of day:
Why not start your day with the hardest or least desired tasks. You will feel better once it’s behind you. Some people aren’t morning people, so if you have a time of day that you feel you are more productive, do those harder “not wanting to do” tasks then.
Keep the self-talk in your head positive. Don’t beat yourself up, be uplifting and tell yourself that you will get this done.
If it is a task you really don’t want to do, try to get it done, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always review it and make revisions once it’s done, but at least you have a product to work with.
Clear all distractions:
Remove distractions from your workspace. Turn your phone off, and your notifications on your computer. If you would rather scroll on Facebook, Instagram, or search the web, close those windows or tabs while you are trying to complete your project. If you like music while you work, there are some musical genres available that are not as distracting as ones with lyrics.
How to avoid Procrastinating in the future:
Get more organized – Set short term and long term tasks. This may take some time getting used to, if you haven’t done it before, but it helps put things in order. Write it down, put it on a schedule or calendar. – Don’t procrastinate on this part. Prioritize and set deadlines.
Stay focused on one goal at a time and don’t try to multi-task, as this doesn’t always allow us to do our best work.
If you need an accountability partner, this may help you develop good habits and a new way of looking at future projects, and stop Procrastinating.
Once you identify why “you” procrastinate and put off things off to the last moment – overcoming them will vary as to the “why”, such as; Do you lack clarity? Motivation? Or are you Fearful?
We’ve discussed some common things you can do, and hopefully one or all of them may work for you.