We’ve all done it at some time or other. We put off our exercise routine until tomorrow; we continually delay finishing that project or starting that business. Procrastination is the mother of all demons and can literally stop you in your tracks from achieving all that you desire.
Procrastination is one of the biggest dream killers. In a world where there is so much demand for your attention, it is becoming ever more difficult to stay focused and act on the things that would truly give you an extraordinary quality of life. Time is, was, and always will be your most valuable asset and the way you use it will determine what you create or fail to create with and for your life.
There simply isn’t enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time for the most important things in your life. Success at anything in life, whether it be your finances, your relationships, or your body, requires an investment of time and effort from you. You need to focus and concentrate your physical and emotional resources on creating a desired result.
One of the most destructive effects of procrastination is the fact that it makes you feel out of control. Procrastination is like an ‘invisible force’ that keeps you from doing the very things you know you must do. With the increasing demands on our time and attention there seems to be an increase in procrastination as a chronic problem, especially amongst those people that want to succeed the most. Procrastination usually sets in when you feel overwhelmed by all the ‘have to’s’ in life and instead of making steady progress you take on too much without ever getting any of it done.
Having an effective strategy for overcoming procrastination is critical if you truly want to push past short-term obstacles to create a life of fulfilment. There are many strategies and skills you can use for overcoming procrastination. You don’t have to be stuck or spinning your wheels. Like any skill you need to learn and practice it until you get good at it. Eventually it will become an automatic response and you will develop the habit of taking action despite your fears and apparent limitations.
Here are ten empowering procrastination tips that can help you to reach this realization and become empowered to effectively deal with procrastination and inaction.
1. Do it now
Hold your breath and jump right in! Putting things off until the last minute is a bad habit and like all habits is ingrained in our subconscious mind and hard to break. It feels like the normal thing to do, and we simply continue along our path. To complete a task immediately may even feel strange or like a forced action.
2. Take baby steps
Sometimes we procrastinate because the task may be intimidating to us. Perhaps we have no possible inkling on where to start. In these cases, it is quite fine to take it one step at a time. Say you are preparing a business plan and for the 5th time this week, you’ve turned on the PC and looked at the blank screen. Or you’ve just remembered you need to do some more research before you begin…you’re still not ready. You simply need to break down the project into smaller pieces and tackle each bit separately. Make each task an individual project and after completion of each one, celebrate and acknowledge your achievement.
3. Forget it
Why force the issue? If you have been ‘dragging your feet’ on something for a very long time, it may all be for the best. Something somewhere is trying to tell you something. That something is your intuition, and it is usually right! Think about something that you have been putting off again and again and again. What are the reasons that you need to complete this task in the first place? Does someone want you to do this? What is THEIR agenda? What are YOUR reasons for this lengthy delay? I find it amazing that 99% of the time I put off doing something, I am thankful that I did! Disregarding a project after a long period of procrastination is however usually a last resort.
4. Support team
Do you put off tasks because you feel that they are too big and complex for you to handle alone? Or because you need assistance? Be honest with yourself. “No man is an island”. Ask for help! There are many resources out there that can provide you with all you need to carry out your job. If you’re a solo-professional and you put off answering emails, then don’t answer them yourself. Hire an assistant, find some college students that want experience, get a family member to help. Procrastinating on life changing activities could be as a result of fear of the unknown. Get a mastermind group together, find a mentor, join a support group. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Just ensure that to kick this habit; you do what feels good to you in whatever method you choose. You’ll surely postpone procrastination for a very long time.
5. Get clear on what exactly you want from every area of your life.
This clarity will give you the power to look past distractions that may throw you off course. It gives you a direction and a target which will help to build a mental picture for your life. One of the most destructive effects of procrastination is that it makes you feel out of control. If you don’t know what you want it is all too easy to jump from the one task to the next. Apart from knowing what you want you should also develop some strong reasons why you want it. This will give you a sense of purpose and motivation that is critical for staying focused long term.
6. Utilize the power of immediacy.
What can you do immediately? What action can you take right now that will move you closer to your goal? Doing something, no matter how small, will immediately break your mental pattern of procrastination and put you back in control. Taking the first step, even if it is small will create momentum and you will almost automatically be driven to take another step. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you take the first step. Just do it. Just get it going. Often you will only know what to do next after taking that first step.
7. It’s All Inside:
Procrastination is an internal process and although it might feel like it’s happening to you, you are in actual fact responsible for it. This procrastination tip can help to put you back in control almost immediately. Procrastination is not an external force, but an internal response and evaluation. The simple realization that it’s ‘you’ that are doing it to ‘you’, gives you the power to do something about it.
8. It’s All You:
When procrastination drags you down it’s all too easy to think that ‘it just is’ and that you can’t do anything about it. Although it feels like you have no control, you actually do. In fact this is why you feel out of control – because you believe that you can’t do anything about it. There are two very important beliefs you need to develop to help you break free from procrastination. The first is that you CAN overcome procrastination and the second is that YOU can overcome procrastination. No one else can do it for you and because you created it, you can un-create it.
9. It’s All In Your Head:
The reason why most people remain stuck in patterns of procrastination is because of fear. At the most fundamental level, all forms of procrastination come down to fear. What you don’t face controls you. To overcome the fear and the procrastination that comes with it, you need to confront and do the very things you don’t want to do. The instant you do, you take charge and it no longer has any control over you. The ironic thing is that fear only exists in your imagination – it’s always something that hasn’t happened yet. Procrastination is not real – it’s only the way you evaluate things in your mind.
10. It’s All about awareness:
Procrastination does serve a purpose – and a very important one as such, but only if you are aware of the benefits. We only procrastinate about those things that have value to us. At some level, either directly or indirectly, you believe that taking action will benefit you. If it didn’t it would not bother you, right? Be grateful for procrastination and use it as a guide to ‘know’ what you need to act upon. Being aware of this fact, and developing an awareness for what you do and fail to do can empower you to be in charge of yourself on a much higher level.
When you are empowered, you are in charge, and even if things seem to go wrong on the surface, underneath you know that you have the power to deal with it effectively. Procrastination is disempowering and it takes away your ability to take immediate action and deal with any situation. Always remember that you are ultimately in charge of you. Tomorrow will be today tomorrow. Don’t delay. Act!
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