Procrastination is not inherently evil. There may be benefits to procrastination. Before ending procrastination for good, make sure you understand why you are delaying in the first place.
Why do we procrastinate?
No commitment. You realize after waiting a period of time that you aren’t fully committed to the goal. Better to know before you spend hours and hours on it, then abandon it.
Bad idea. It may be that you realize it’s a bad idea or that there is another way to accomplish something.
Too many goals. Maybe you put it aside in favor of something else or you have competing priorities.
Laziness. You look at your last week and realize that you have no excuse. You are just lazy. A sloth.
Exhaustion. You are physically and mentally spent doing other things, and you don’t start because your tank is running on empty.
Fear of failure. By not starting, you don’t finish and therefore reduce your risk of failure. After all, if you finish, everyone will see the end result and judge it. Rather than risk that, you never begin.
Self-image conflict. If the result doesn’t conform with your self-image, you may push it off.
Creative procrastination. Be careful not to use this as an excuse, but you can use it to your advantage. I often find my best work happens under tight deadlines. Dr. Tina Seelig calls this creative procrastination. It can be used to fuel your creativity.
What can we do to stop procrastination?
1. Self assess. Understand the reason for your procrastination. Is it one of the above reasons or something else? For instance, if self-image is the issue, you need to address it before the magic of achievement can happen.
2. Reassess your goals. Make sure this is something you want to do.
3. Talk with a small group. Choose a few trusted advisers to guide you. They may provide counsel or steer you in a different direction.
9 Steps to Ending Procrastination
- Self assess.
- Reassess your goals.
- Talk with a small group.
- Visualize success.
- Break it down.
- Write it down.
- Set a date.
- Reward yourself.
4. Commit. You need to make a decision, and only you can make it.
5. Visualize success. Don’t feel like moving yet? Then take the time to visualize the completion of your goal. How do you feel? What is the result? What are others saying? What does success look like to you? Visualization can stimulate your imagination and help you gain leverage over your goals.
6. Break it down. Smaller goals may help spur you along.
7. Write it down. There’s power in putting it in writing. Writing it down significantly improves the odds you will make it happen.
8. Set a date. Goals without deadlines are wishes. They are as likely to happen as a genie appearing to answer your dreams.
9. Reward yourself. More importantly than for the big one, reward yourself for achieving the smaller goals.