I was talking to a friend recently and noticed my actions at times when I am trying to be productive. A friend realized that she procrastinates when she doesn’t know her next step. It made me think about why I stopped writing or working on a particular project, and she was right. I put things off for the next day when I am stumped on something. So, I stopped working on that particular project and started working on something else. You don’t realize how much time passes when you procrastinate. We occupy our time with other things to not accomplish what we need to do. But as Noelle Hancock states in my year with Eleanor, “Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.” Many of us postpone it too much that it never gets done or restarted.
The other thing I notice about myself is that I write when I get inspired to write; therefore, inspiration is the medicine needed when procrastination takes hold of me. Sometimes just listening to someone else passion for what they do is the boost I need because I want to feel what they feel, the excitement, or I want the financial freedom they have, or whatever the case may be. I want it! So, it conjures up emotions in me to get my creative juices flowing.
How to overcome procrastination
Figure out what makes you procrastinate; you can find ways to conquer it by looking at times you were successful in conquering your procrastination. We have at least one or two times in our memory bank.
It could be the goals you set for yourself. Ask yourself, are they realistic goals that you can attain? Many of us have the vision and know where we want to be, but we set these high goals for ourselves, not realizing there are ten little things we might need to do before we get to that big goal.
Develop and create an action plan that provides the aid you need to stop procrastinating. Don’t just create a generic to-do list with five or so items on it because this is not an action plan. Monday.com has a good template for action plans where you can write down your goals, the steps you need to take to complete them, the desired goals, metrics, etc. Remember to add “what inspires you” in your steps so you will not procrastinate. For example, in my steps, I would add “watch Ted Talk” because that is one of the things that motivates me to write.
Don’t just write out your action plan; take action. From the famous poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory,” because, without action, theory and dreams are all you have. To evolve into that successful person, we see ourselves in the distant future, we need to figure out what is working and what is not working, and we cannot do that by not doing anything. Therefore, reflect, correct, and push forward.
Identify any fears you might have that can make you procrastinate. Our fears hold us in place and keep us complacent and scared to move on. Fear is nothing but a blockage that needs to be clear. Don’t be the person that says they want to travel internationally someday, doesn’t have a passport, and doesn’t get on planes. The greyhound and China buses or your vehicle goes, but so far.
Other things you can do are:
- Create a task list that is manageable and enjoyable.
- Take breaks between tasks or change the scenery where you work.
- Give yourself a deadline to accomplish your goals and tasks.
- Don’t get upset if you make a mistake. Remember, failure doesn’t exist. It’s lessons for you to evolve to become better.
- Take time to organize what you need to do to be prepared. If you are writing like I do, create an outline for yourself.
- Eliminate distractions. For example, don’t turn on the Television to watch your favorite show because it will distract you and keep you unproductive.
- Decide how you will take care of any problems that arise. Whom will you ask for help? How much research will you do? For example, if you have a technology problem and are not tech-savvy. Sometimes technological issues can be lengthy, so you may have to reschedule your task for another day.
While writing this article, my mind started contemplating ways to stop procrastinating with my writing. I never realized before that I am too focused on the chapters of my book, if it makes sense, that I scare myself into not writing when I could free write every day and schedule a day towards the end of the week to decide what I will use or not use.
The other issue with procrastination is Confidence. Ruby Dee states, “My constant battle is putting aside time wasters, and I have to watch out for procrastination. Staying on the path of something you’re trying to create has much to do with having confidence in yourself and in your capacity to realize the things you want out of life.” You have to deal with what is making you unconfident. If it’s your skills, update your skills. Add it to your goals. If it is your weight, decide what is a healthy weight and add to exercise, get on a healthy diet, and talk to a specialist.
We go through many things in life that could mess with our confidence and make us fearful, so we procrastinate and procrastinate. But, to get better, we must want better for ourselves. Until you really, really want better for yourself, you will be in the same place you are right now. Question: Are you complacent with where you are right now in life?
If you are, that is great! If not, note that procrastination is not the road to success.