Have you ever experienced the feeling of wanting to accomplish something at home, work, or even school and were not motivated to complete the task? Do you suffer from procrastinating regularly and can not find a way to break the cycle of delaying getting things done? If this sounds like you, this article will discuss 4 steps overcoming procrastination.
Now, we all may have faced procrastination from time to time, which can be understandable when this happens occasionally—for example, delaying a task until the next day because you had a long work day. But delaying functions and completely ignoring them can become a more severe problem over time.
This article will review the definition of procrastination and then discuss steps to stop procrastinating to help improve your accomplishing more in life. These steps include:
- Identify the cause
- Determine the motivation for your desired outcome
- Establish and follow smaller obtainable goals
- Develop the habit of improving over time
What is procrastination
Procrastination is simply delaying or postponing decisions or actions.
At some point in our lives, we may face the dilemma of putting off a task or a responsibility with the mindset, “I’ll get a round to it.” However, over time, delaying too many tasks can add up and lead to regret about what we could have accomplished had we just followed through to completion.
Now, let’s look at stopping procrastinating and achieving more in life.
1. Identify the cause
When it comes to procrastinating, one of the primary roadblocks is the motivation behind the outcome we anticipate. For example, if you have to turn in an assignment for a school class, you may feel less motivated if you feel a sense of fear or doubt in your ability to get a passing grade.
Still, you may feel that the class is boring or not challenging enough for you and decide not to put forth as much effort because there are other more exciting things you want to do instead.
In our work life, we may dread a task because it is overwhelming to us or something we feel we can not handle based on an established deadline.
At home, we may have a chore as simple as house cleaning and don’t have the energy to do it because we are tired or don’t want to do it.
Whether it is school, work, or home, it is essential to look at what triggers the delay by asking yourself why? For example, why do I not want to do this task? Write down this question and your answer to begin identifying the root cause.
2. Determine the motivation for your desired outcome
After identifying the why behind procrastinating, the next step is to develop an incentive for completing a task.
The incentive can be as simple as passing your class to graduate to receive a diploma or degree, completing a work assignment to keep your job, or getting a promotion.
The answer to the incentive should be a reason that is important to you and motivates you to accomplish it. Motivation can encompass a reward or a positive outcome that you expect to achieve.
Once you have concluded your motivation, it is essential to write down how this will help improve your work, home, or school progress and begin to visualize how this will result in a positive outcome to your overall success.
The takeaway from this exercise is to create the desired outcome and internalize the feeling of accomplishing the task while striving to achieve it.
3. Establish and follow smaller obtainable goals
Once you have your desired outcome in your mind and on paper, the next step is to establish realistic goals that can be broken down into minor daily and weekly increments that you can use as a checklist.
For example, let’s take house cleaning as your goal. You set a goal to clean the entire house so that it is neat and tidy. However, if you try to clean the entire house in one day you may become overwhelmed and stop after a while.
If you take the process of cleaning the house into a daily and weekly schedule by assigning only small tasks to complete each day it becomes easier to tackle. You could use Monday for dusting one room, Tuesday for dusting another room, and so on.
Each day you continue doing the smaller tasks, even if it is only for 15 to 30 minutes per day. Consistently doing a small task each day will add up to accomplishing a lot more over a 30-day period.
This same principle can apply to work or school. Continue to set bite-size goals that you manage in smaller increments.
Writing goals with a checklist will provide accountability for you to reach milestones at the set designated time. Each time you accomplish a smaller goal, check it off and continue to follow through daily until you reach your ultimate goal of completing the desired outcome.
Be consistent in following your regular schedule and make it a daily routine. Treat it as necessary as watching a favorite TV show or sporting event that you feel is important. Remember, we always find a way to make time for the things that are important to us.
4. Develop the habit of improving over time
As with anything in life, practice is essential to get better. From learning to play a musical instrument to play in an organized sporting event, training is required to play at peak performance.
When it comes to overcoming procrastination, this same principle applies. The process of pushing yourself to keep improving daily, weekly and monthly will all add up. So if you have a setback, keep refocusing on your desired outcome and continue to move forward.
As you progress, celebrate your success and congratulate yourself on these accomplishments. As this becomes a repetitive behavior, you will begin to establish lifelong habits and overcome procrastination.
In conclusion, we have defined the meaning of procrastination and reviewed four steps to overcome procrastination. These steps included identifying the cause, determining the motivation of your desired outcome, establishing and following smaller obtainable goals, and developing the habit of improving over time.
Now is your chance to put these steps into practice. Please share your comments and feedback on how this is working for you. Or, if you have created other methods that can benefit others in overcoming procrastination, please share them as well.