Conquer Your Procrastination
This is one of the worst habits to have. No, I’m serious if you develop this enough it could lead you down a dark path of getting nothing done. The problem with procrastinators is that sometimes they procrastinate so much that they don’t actually do anything or make any choices. It starts off with a “I’ll do this later.” and it ends up not getting done.
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” -William James
The definition for procrastination is replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite such a behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. Procrastination may result ins tress, guilt, crisis, severe loss of personal productivity, or social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. This in turn can lead to further procrastination.
“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” -Olin Miller
Now that we know a little about this bad habit you can determine if you have it or not. With procrastination there are several different levels you can have.
Levels of Procrastination
Mild procrastination isn’t even always a bad thing. Some people who have this may just move around tasks or decisions until there is a better time to complete them. For example, If you wake up early in the morning and you are still half asleep it might be a good idea to put off doing your personal finances until you are a little more alert or maybe you are planning a trip thats far ahead in the future sometimes it might be better to wait until it gets closer to make final plans. Be careful though if mild is let run wild it can progress into moderate.
Moderate procrastination is bad. Its were you let things pile up until they have to get done. You might put off a task that should be done that day and finish it several days later. It also leads people to doing things “last minute” which usually ends up being lower quality and sometimes not getting finished.
Extreme procrastination is the worst. People that have it to this level probably don’t even start tasks. They let anxiety build up so bad that they don’t even attempt to start. Then it just gets worse and worse as they just keep putting it off.
If you have either moderate or extreme procrastination I would highly recommend that you take some action to fix these issues before they ruin your life.
“There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back.” -Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
Do the unpleasant tasks first. Schedule them as early as possible and give yourself a reward for completing them. These rarely turn out to be as bad as you think they will and by completing them its going to make other tasks easier and give you more confidence.
Break larges tasks into smaller ones. For example if you have to get a job don’t just keep putting it off. Take baby steps like turn in 1 application a day and maybe schedule 1 interview a day. These larger jobs aren’t meant to be tacked in a single day. By working on them and making progress you will feel more accomplished.
Make decisions. Sometimes people procrastinate because they can’t make up there mind. If that is the case you need to take some quiet time and do your research and make up your mind. Once you do this start on your goals immediately.
People delay sometimes because they seek perfectionism. Set deadlines and do your best. Remember there is only so much you can do in a given time frame and sometimes you may not be able to make it perfect. Just stay on track and do your best.
Ego problems with the person assigning you the task may also be an issue. If you don’t like the person assigning you the task chances are they are giving it to you for a reason and it is something you are going to need to do. Pretend you gave yourself the task and complete it to the best of your ability. Do not let what others say or do effect your quality of work.
If you lose interest in a task you might need to find some new spark. Make a game out of it or reward yourself when you are finished.
If you suffer from constant distraction the best way to fix this is to make a to-do list with time frames if possible. Start completing tasks and focus on the finished project. If there are things like cell phones, texting, tv, etc. grabbing your attention turn these things off while you work. Remember if you hurry up and get your stuff done then you can reward yourself with sitting around watching tv.
If you feel like the task is unimportant you might lose motivation to complete it. Sit down and analyze the task to see how important it really is. Do not skip the task just because you don’t want to because it could lead to more problems down the road.
Things to Remember
- Remove Distractions
- Turn off email notifications and phones
- Get Started
- Break Larger Tasks Down