How many times did you find yourself postponing a task? Everyone struggles every now and then with procrastination, according to the magazine, Psychology Today:
“Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions—which, unfortunately, are increasingly available”
The question is, how can you re-adjust yourself and harness your mental energy to enable yourself overcome procrastination?
Here are few suggestions:
Establish what causes you to procrastinate
There are many reasons that make us enjoy short-term pleasure of putting off certain activities. We need to establish exactly why we procrastinate. The following are number reasons that may make us procrastinate:
- General disorganization.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand.
- Doubting your capabilities.
- Having a perfectionist mentality
- Having underdeveloped decision-making capabilities
- Failure to enjoying the task you’re involved in.
Have someone to check up on you.
Peer pressure works.
After all, you can’t let down your expectant audience. We need to declare your intentions to friends, family members or colleagues. Avoid taking onboard someone you can easily manipulate. Go for someone you will work hard not to disappoint.
Shun distractions and time wasters.
Just imagine you are goring a project that requires a lot of attention. You are brainstorming hard. Then you get a phone call that snaps you out if your flow. You talk for about thirty seconds, you hung up. Then you start checking what’s happening on your email, twitter and Facebook. Your attention starts to wander and your focus slowly dies off.
To make it harder for yourself to procrastinate, make it your habit to reduce the available distractions. Know how to break bad habits. Keep your phone off and disconnect Internet connection. Schedule when to check your mails, perhaps three times a day. Isolate yourself as much as possible until the task at hand is done, and done satisfactorily. For instance, you cannot work at home because you have too many distractions, try a coffee shop.
When you are disorganized, you tend get lost on what task to tackle, at what time and for how long. If disorganization is your problem,
- Ensure that you have kept a TO-DO list that allocates time for all of your activities-including the ones that overwhelm you. For this you can use some planning and organizing tools that will make it easy for you to manage your time.
- Use techniques like Pomodoro to instantly increase your productivity.
- Set yourself time-bound goals.
- Be a pro in scheduling and planning your project so that no important task is left out.
Break the project down into smaller tasks.
The manner in which a task is presented to the brain has an impact on how motivated you will be to take action.
A big project can be overwhelming to the mind.
So trick your brain into the task by breaking the project down to smaller easy tasks.
To prevent your brain from building up resistance to start the project, define which task should start and the order in which subsequent tasks should be executed.
Where possible, execute the smaller tasks then proceed to large ones. Smaller tasks are easy to complete. Every time a task is down, the rewarding feeling you develop gives you the much needed momentum to proceed to the next task. On and on until you complete the project.
Make the most of the willpower muscle.
Will power is like a muscle.
What you might not know is that the muscle can exhaust more quickly than you might imagine. That means you have lost your ability to self-regulate. If you suspect your will power is fast slipping away, reminding yourself of your values can help invigorate it.
Work out your will power muscle to make it stronger. Just like resisting the weights of barbells makes your muscles stronger, so is your will power muscle.
Carrying out actions that you would rather avoid doing strengthens your will power despite the inner resistance your body is giving.
However, don’t overdo it as overworking muscles weakens them. Do one thing at a time.
Give your body and mind time to rest.
Take healthy meals that keep your mind energized.
Remind yourself why you needed to do the task. The why is great motivator and helps to boost your will power to proceed with doing the task.
Besides, doing a mindful meditation will go a long way in regulating your mood and restoring your mental energy.
More importantly, always keep your full attention on your activities.
Adopt ‘Time travel’ technique
Engaging yourself on a task when you are not motivated may lead to procrastination. If you can’t’ get yourself on a task, adopting ‘time-travel’ technique can go a great way in unleashing the inner power that gets you productive.
Fast forward the task to the point where you have satisfactorily completed it. Build a vivid mental picture of your fully completed project. Immerse yourself completely into that state. Don’t you experience a surge in mental energy? Well, now that you know, enjoy the perks that come with getting it done. So next time you find yourself stuck in “don’t feel like it’, try time traveling in your imagination. It works big time.
Procrastination is not a cognitive disorder but a learned mental disposition that makes people postpone tasks. Overcoming procrastination is not a one-day affair. It takes time for the habit to die off. So if you find yourself putting off tasks, don’t sit down and wish that it will end soon. Start the fight. Learn how to manage your time properly. Use the power of time travel. Shun distractions. Win gracefully. What other ideas do you have for overcoming procrastination? We would like to hear from you.