Maybe you do everything but not what you need to be doing. Perhaps you watch TV instead of doing chores. You socialize instead of finishing a work project, or binge on your favorite show instead of writing that article that you’ve been meaning to do for the longest time.
You essentially avoid that which you deem to be uncomfortable. It’s an adaptive response to stress, fear, and anxiety. The problem with this tactic is, by putting off an important task, it ultimately leads to more stress, greater fear, more anxiety — and of course not completing the task.
Procrastination is often defined the same as laziness, but they are totally two different things. Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier. In contrast, laziness suggests apathy, inactivity, and an unwillingness to act.
When you find yourself on a similar situation, here are ways to stop yourself from procrastinating:
Make A List
This will prevent you from forgetting about those unpleasant or overwhelming tasks. The first item on your list should be something you can glance at and immediately do. Don’t know how? Then it shouldn’t be the first thing on your list; figuring out how to do it should be the first thing on your list. The next thing should be at task that you can glance at and immediately do, and the third thing, and the fourth. Crossing something done off your list feels good and you can reward yourself after everything has been crossed out!
People have different ways of motivating themselves. For some, reliving past successes works. How did you feel the last time you finished a project? What did you do to get the work done? How did you overcome the challenges that arose?
For others, playing the best-case/worst-case scenario game. What’s the best possible outcome of whatever you’re working on? Now imagine the worst possible outcome. Don’t be afraid.
Now, ask yourself if the best-case scenario makes the worst-case worth the risk?
There are also podcasts and videos you can listen to and watch to boost your confidence and motivation. But always keep in mind and ask yourself: “Is where I am now closer to where I want to be?” And that, can make a lot of difference.
Tell someone what you’re doing, what are your steps in getting it done, when you’re going to be done, how excited you are about it, how important it is to you, and so on. In this way, someone can check up on you from time to time on where you at in achieving your list of tasks. In a way, you’ll be more cautious and responsible in meeting your deadlines and accomplishing work that needs to be done.
If you complete a difficult task on time, reward yourself with a treat – such as a slice of cake or a coffee from your favorite coffee shop. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things! Other ways that you can reward yourself is to give yourself a pat on the back and say, “well done”. You can even buy yourself the bag you’ve been eyeing for months. Take a break! Go explore and experience new places.
Procrastination is a serious thing and can hinder you from accomplishing and achieving a lot of things. So try your best to avoid just that. Instead, put down your phone or close your laptop for a minute, bring out your notebook, and write a list of what you should be working on next. Then start doing it.
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