How to Overcome Procrastination
When was the last time you put off doing something that you said you would do? Do you drag your feet when it comes to taking action e.g. exercise, public speaking, writing, study, paperwork, phone calls, making a business decision, etc.? Are you dwelling too much on the action you need to take?
Some people have mastered the art of putting off doing certain tasks, despite knowing that they will be worse off for the delay. Research has shown that around 15% to 20% of adults regularly put off activities that would be better done right away; around 40% of people have experienced a financial loss as a result of procrastination; and procrastinators have higher stress levels and more severe health problems than people who act right away.
3 Ways to Stop Procrastinating!
Here are 3 ways you can now get motivated and stop procrastinating:
1. Is it what you really want?
Think about the activity you have been putting off and ask yourself: “Is the activity aligned with your life direction and business goals? Will it bring you closer to your goals or steer you in another direction?” When we do things without a big picture context, we can feel unmotivated and see no real benefit to doing it. Without a clear big picture to give us direction, we can more easily be distracted and procrastinate.
Once you are clear about the big picture, then ensure that you have clear goals with clear commitments and timeframes. People with vague goals are almost as unmotivated as those without any goals at all! Research at Hofstra University demonstrates that procrastinators who had clear intentions and specific commitments to a time were eight times as likely to follow through on the commitment than those without them.
2. Are you sufficiently motivated?
As you think about the activity that you have been putting off, how motivated are you to do it? Do you feel other positive emotions (e.g. confidence, passion, determination, etc.) or negative emotions (e.g. resentment, guilt, shame, anger, etc.) as you think about doing it?
It is difficult to put off doing things that you feel really motivated to do. Because our thoughts and emotions are linked together, if you want to feel motivated to complete a task, you simply need to think about something you felt motivated to do in the past. For example, as you fully think about the last time you were motivated to go on a holiday, do you feel the motivation you felt at that time? Once you do, you will be motivated to take action on any activity by staying in that motivated frame of mind.
3. What meaning do you give it?
What meaning do you give to the activity that you have been putting off? Do you imagine it being boring or fun? Do you imagine it will take forever or be quick? Do you imagine that you will be able to do it easily or worry that you will get stuck? If you imagine positives around that activity, you will be more motivated than if you imagine the negatives.
For some procrastinators, an anticipation of the task is often far worse than what the task turns out to be. Are you anticipating the task turning out well or not? By visualising the activity being a success prior to doing it, you will be much more motivated to take action.
Imagine how much more productive, fulfilled and successful you could be once you master motivation and put off procrastination.
Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author (of the Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence), speaker, media commentator, and the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with multi award-winning company, Qt. She holds a PhD, a BEc and is passionate about helping business owners and professionals to improve their confidence, emotional and mental wellbeing and success.
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