We all do it now and then. You look down from your work and get enthralled in your phone, or stop cleaning the house to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite television show. However, sometimes it involves something a bit more important, such as looking for a new job or dealing with a situation you are uncomfortable with.
It is easy to find a reason not to do something. Whether the time just “isn’t right” or you need just a little more money, or there are other things that need to get done, people are great at finding ways to convince themselves to procrastinate when it something they just do not want to do.
What can we do to stop this cycle and get motivated?
What Causes Procrastination?
Procrastination is brought on by feelings of fear. Whether it be the belief that we will fail, or hurt ourselves, or embarrass ourselves, we avoid activities on a daily basis, telling ourselves we will do them later when we build up a little more courage. Unfortunately, most of the time that fear only grows as the day goes on, causing the procrastination to become worse.
Sometimes you simply do not want to do something because there is another option available to you that allows you to have more fun. The key is to know yourself. If you believe this will be an issue for you, one way to combat it is to allot more time to accomplish your goal. Whether it be study for a test or do your taxes, if you give yourself more time to complete them you are building in time to take a break and do something fun as well.
How To Break The Cycle
1. Write down a list of your goals. It is important to give each of those goals a deadline. Without a deadline, it is easy to continue to put off each activity, always telling yourself that you can simply do it later.
2. Look at the bigger picture and keep your fears in check. Remind yourself of what you do not want to have happen. Write down where you see yourself one year from now if you do not complete your goal. Remember, if you do not complete your goal, it will not get done!
3. Break down your goal into several smaller steps. It is often helpful to view just one step at a time. Doing this can help you to feel more confident in your ability to get things done.
That said, it is completely normal to feel confused or overwhelmed when thinking about what steps are involved with completing a task. For those who do not know where to begin, your first step can be figure out the steps or even scream into a pillow. Others may find it helpful to talk it out with a friend first.
4. Picture what it will feel like to accomplish your goal. Sit down, close your eyes, and visualize where you will be and how you will feel when your goal is complete.
5. Build a support team of friends and family members to help keep you in check. Find those around you who will help you to stay on task by setting up a time every day or week for them to check in on you and ask what progress you have made. This is a great time to discuss any ways that they can help you achieve your goal, whether it be to come over and physically help you with something, or just remind you what you have accomplished in the past.
6. Set up a system so that you earn rewards as you progress. Celebrate small successes by getting together with friends or giving yourself a small treat.
7. Begin today! There is no time like the present to start this process, and the more you put it off, the more you will continue to procrastinate.
In order to stop the cycle of procrastination, you need to take a look at the bigger picture. Remember that being confused is ok so long as you remember your self-worth and know yourself. If you are aware that you tend to procrastinate, work with it. Build in extra time to allow for your mind to wander for a few minutes. Just remember to pull it back in and finish your work!