Procrastination is a tricky beast always lurking on the fringes of your concentration trying to pull you away from what you should be doing. What follows are seven strategies for overcoming procrastination and getting more done.
Every mountain appears difficult to climb when you're standing at the base. However, if you start with one or two small steps and break the journey into small chunks it becomes more and more manageable. Eventually, what at one point seemed out of reach begins to feel doable.
Knowledge is power. You must arm yourself with the information relevant to the goal you wish to accomplish.
One way to get prepared is to set specific, measurable goals for the short, medium and long-term. This means you can keep a close on eye on whether or not you're doing what needs to be done day-to-day but it also means when motivation fails you'll have a pre-laid path to follow and can keep going.
Realise There Is No Perfect Moment
There is always a temptation to put things off in favour of getting started right away. The idea that there will be a better time will always be trying to lead you astray.
You'll fool yourself into thinking you can't do something if you don't feel like it or if motivation hasn't hit you and mistakenly believe this means you cannot get started. When in fact, the simple act of getting started will dissolve any feelings you have about it not being the right moment.
It's important to realise that there is never a perfect moment and to chase this moment or more accurately sit around and wait for it will confine you to a life of inactivity.
Understand That Most Mistakes Can Be Fixed
A mistake is not the end, it's an opportunity to learn and move forward.
As a child, you made mistakes all the time and what did you do? That's right, you tried again, many times over if necessary. You weren't afraid of breaking anything, in fact, you probably broke a lot of things just to see how they worked.
You need to adopt this mentality again and realise that when it comes to reaching your goals you'll make mistakes but it's ok, it'll teach you how things work or more importantly don't work and if you take each opportunity to learn you'll come out stronger the other side.
Give It Your All
Nothing worth having comes easily so don't expect to get outstanding results with mediocre effort.
Don't get caught in the trap of telling yourself that you're making progress when in fact you're spinning your wheels, doing enough to give the false impression of progress but never really going anywhere.
If you want to achieve whatever it is you set your mind to, then you must apply yourself and give your all. It won't always be easy and it probably won't be quick but it will always be worth it, so get some of your favourite tunes, put your head down and get to work.
Distractions help you to regulate your fear by doing anything but what you need to do. You do everything you can to give the impression you lack the necessary effort rather than the necessary talent. Mentally this is a much more comfortable place to be but it does nothing to address your fear. By eliminating all distractions (Facebook, your phone, Netflix, email, etc) you give yourself no choice but to face your fear, to understand it and conquer it.
Instead of letting your distractions have free roam over your day, try setting specific time aside to do these things by creating periods of work and rest.
Optimise Your Decisions
The inability to make decisions is a key driver of procrastination. However, there are ways to overcome this fear through optimisation of your daily decisions.
There are a few ways to do this:
• Prioritise the one thing that will make the biggest difference and focus on that
• Cut anything that won't make a difference or will likely never get done
• Set up your surroundings for success
This means doing things like planning your day, listing everything that you want to accomplish and then cutting anything that doesn't need to get done. This should get your list down to just the important things, from here you need to prioritise the single most important task and focus exclusively on that until it's either done or as close to done as you can get it at that time.
If you do some or all of these things you can minimise or remove your fear of failure and therefore remove the things that are causing you to procrastinate. This will give you the headspace and clarity you need to take action and make meaningful progress towards your goals.
Call To Action
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