TIPS TO STOP PROCRASTINATING
Do you tend to put off some of the things you need to get done? Most of us do, at least some of the time. Yet, we all know that putting things off doesn’t make them go away. To push past your desire to procrastinate, try some of these tips:
- Stop badgering yourself. Many times people are their own worst critics. But mentally berating yourself only drives you deeper into guilt instead of spurring you to action. In fact, it’s been found that self-compassion actually helps to motivate people more than self-blame.
- Since we need to exert a certain amount of self-control to get ourselves to do things that we don’t want to do, keep in mind what we’ve learned in recent years about how to develop more self-control: self-control, like a muscle, gets stronger with practice. So, the more you practice self-control, the less you will have to struggle to push past procrastination. At the same time, you don’t want to overdo it because your self-control “muscle” needs time to rest and recharge.
- Ask yourself what’s blocking you from doing what you need to do and then figure out how to address the issue that’s getting in your way. It could be that the task too big and you need to break it into smaller steps. Maybe you find the task boring and you need to develop a way to make it more interesting. Perhaps you need to get more organized before you can begin working on the task. Possibly you simply need to rest and allow your self-control “muscle” to recharge. Whatever your reason for procrastinating, approach the task in a way that will enable you to address your specific concern and move toward accomplishing your goal.
- Remind yourself of times in the past when you’ve successfully accomplished your goals, and think about what strategies were helpful in those situations. Try to apply those lessons now.
- If past experience indicates that a particular task is likely to be very difficult for you to accomplish, it may be helpful to seek out additional information, learn new skills, or look for assistance. Don’t allow negative thoughts about the past to determine your present.
- Make a list of your reasons for wanting to accomplish this task. Write down: (1) how you will benefit by doing this; (2) how you imagine it will feel to have it finished; and (3) what negative things will happen if you don’t get this done.
- Go public with your goal, and have others hold you accountable. This has been shown to be a very helpful strategy for accomplishing goals.
- Eliminate temptations and distractions that can take your attention away from your task, such as the computer, TV, phone, etc. Instead, use those temptations as a reward for meeting the smaller goals you set.
- If you are truly struggling to get started, try to take just a small step. Doing even a small amount of the task can dramatically increase the likelihood that you will finish. The small amount you work on doesn’t even have to be the first step in the process either; it’s fine to skip ahead to a part that is less difficult for you to accomplish.
Finally, once you finish the job, think about what you helped you succeed and how you can apply that lesson in the future. And, be sure to take time to recognize your efforts and accomplishments.