Seven Ways to Overcome Procrastination
1. Recognize that there is more pain in procrastinating than doing the tasks you are avoiding. Once you realize the true amount of pain in each of the choices, it will be easier to get things done.
2. Force yourself to do something before you absolutely have to do it, and your self-esteem will increase. And the next time you consider procrastinating, remember that when you did force yourself to do what you didn’t want to do, you felt better when the task was completed. Remember that there was a good reward when you were finished. This will give you a push forward when you are thinking about procrastinating.
3. Create a flow. Instead of doing nothing, begin by doing something. Take out the garbage, make the beds, recycle the newspapers. Just perform a few simple actions to create a flow and get a momentum going. Once you’re in the flow and going forward, getting started with what you need to do will be much easier. Cleaning up can help you to feel more motivated. Messiness seems to reinforce procrastination.
4. Get some leverage. Sometimes we procrastinate on big things, important things. Perhaps you are blocked and unable to take the next step and fearing some deep personal pain. If you are considering changing jobs or your career, or taking the next step in your relationship, you are no doubt focusing on all the things that could go wrong. What you need is some leverage to both push and pull you forward.
The way to get leverage is to take a pen and some paper and write down as many things as you can come up with that you will miss out on, not just now, but over the next few years, if you don’t take this step now. Really dig deep down into yourself, and feel that pain that you will feel not just tomorrow but in a year and in the next five or ten years.
Then write down all the positive and wonderful things you are likely to experience if you make this decision and move forward to where you want to go. Write down all those things you will experience and feel, not just in the next few days, but in one year, two, five years or ten. Get the old carrot and stick to work for you. Put the problem in a longer time perspective to really give it an emotional power punch.
5. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time… Don’t look at everything you have to do. Feeling overwhelmed is a very common source of procrastination. Break large tasks down into smaller ones. Write these small tasks all down as a list. Focus on just getting that one small task or part of the big thing done. Then move on to the next. Take it one step at a time and don’t let yourself think about what comes after that step. Before you know it, you’ll be halfway there.
6. Change your beliefs. If you work to change your view on reality, the problems that repeatedly put you into a procrastinating state might disappear. Examine your beliefs. Ask yourself if you could see things in a more beneficial and effective way.
Realize that you can choose your belief system about yourself and the world. The past is not the future. You don’t have to hang on to limiting beliefs based on past experiences if you choose not to. You are living in the present moment. You can choose what you believe, and you can change your habits.
7. Make a small deal with yourself. Make a promise with yourself that you’ll work on something for just five minutes. Tell yourself that after those five minutes you can do something else if you desire. Make a note on your schedule when you will come back to the task and work another five minutes on it. No matter how boring and unpleasant a task may be, you can often talk yourself into working five minutes on it.
Remember, the simplest way, the experts all agree, to get out of procrastination is to just start.
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