Procrastination. It’s an ugly word we’re all too familiar with. No matter how much you are inflicted by it, you can beat procrastination.
This week’s Inspire Me quote is Denis Waitley:
“No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow”
More than half of Americans consider themselves chronic procrastinators. In a survey amongst workers, they admitted to wasting two hours per workday avoiding or putting off tasks.
You may feel alone when you are procrastinating; like there’s something wrong with you. You may even create excuses such as, “I work best under pressure” or have a punchy name like “Last minute Leary.” But you are not alone. There’s many reasons we procrastinate. Developing the self-awareness to know why you procrastinate can help out learn how to prevent it.
Leary and Armin shared their top reasons they procrastinate. When Leary procrastinates, it’s often because:
- He likes the idea more than the work of the idea
- He doesn’t like the task at all
- He’s confused or uncertain about how to start a project
Armin is more likely to procrastinate because of:
- Self-doubt about being able to compete the project
- A self-perception of being able to work best under pressure
Roy Baumeister, a self-discipline researcher found that highly impulsive individuals are more likely to procrastinate. Impulsive people are more prone to distraction. As Robert Brandt says, “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
Leary and Armin shared the following suggestions to beat procrastination:
- Reframe self-limiting thinking. Instead of saying, “I am a good procrastinator” say instead, “I am becoming more disciplined.”
- Prioritize your tasks. Identify the most important and most urgent first.
- Have a clear ‘why.’ Those who have a clear reason (either a promotion goal or prevention goal) for doing what they are doing are more apt to stick with it.
- Use carrots and sticks. Give yourself consequences based on your results.
- Set earlier deadlines. Longer term goals are less likely to hold your attention because there is little urgency.
- Turn a distraction into a reward. When you find yourself wanting to do something else, allow yourself the reward of doing it later after you’ve completed a focus block (see episode 20).
- Keep detailed task lists. Checking them off as you go increases your momentum.
- Use your calendar. Daily reminders and blocks of time just for you are critical strategies to overcome procrastination.
- Do nothing. Employ the strategy of novelist Raymond Chandler. Make boredom your ally by either doing the task at hand, or sit idly by and do nothing.
This week’s Challenge Me:
Pick one of the strategies listed above and give it a try. Report back on the show notes, what you’ve discovered.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- Four things you need to know about resistance, Reinventure Me Episode 18 on procrastination as a form of resistance.
- Strategies to supercharge your productivity, Reinventure Me Episode 20 on focus blocks and other productivity tips.
- How to find your persistent resistance, Reinventure Me Episode 61 on discovering the form of chronic procrastination
- Stickk.com, a website to create accountability and manage consequences for your goals.