How can you breakthrough wasteful procrastination quickly?
Do you tend to be an effective action taker or embrace wasteful procrastination? Are you a serial or expert procrastinator?It’s a well-known fact that we all procrastinate sometimes. However, various reports have concluded that 80 – 95% of people surveyed engage in procrastination on a regular basis. 50% said they procrastinate consistently and problematically.
When you eliminate self-defeating behaviours that involve putting off high priority actions, you have unlocked a key to breakthrough procrastination. Otherwise, you will stall your progress. You probably know what you want to do. The correct choice is clear but you sit down and do something else.
The problem with not doing your important tasks is that firstly it leads to feelings of guilt, anxiety and stress. Secondly, it creates a downward spiral because you feel bad about not doing what you know you should. Moreover, it diminishes your chances of achieving your long-term goals. Finding a way to beat wasteful procrastination is vital for your goals as well as your overall sense of well-being. Furthermore, this is one key in creating a champion mindset so you will achieve the results you desire in your life.
Imagine for a moment you are at your desk. You know you have a project to do, but it feels so hard you don’t really feel like doing it. Instead, you start flicking through your inbox, your Facebook notifications, or another low priority task. How much time and energy do you think you are really wasting?
The thing about procrastination is that it doesn’t mean that you are doing nothing.
- You simply waste time and energy with low priority tasks. By the end of the day, you may feel you had a busy day, as your energy is depleted and your brain is fatigued, yet you haven’t really done what was important.
- The challenge with changing this is it has become a habit. This means you are doing it without much awareness. Your patterns and habits are run in your subconscious mind, which is outside of your conscious awareness.
- Furthermore, you are likely to feel bad, guilty and even helpless as the cycle continues.
In the classic and popular book, ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven Covey, if you read and implemented the strategies you would be a brilliant action taker. Moreover, if you have trialled other time management systems, you have plenty of information and tools. The fundamental problem is we are humans which means we are driven by how we feel. This means unless you act and know how to get out of your own way, there will be very little planned intentional action.
Here are three simple tips to help breakthrough wasteful procrastination.
When you have trouble starting a project or task:-
- Stop and do nothing. Yes, this means doing nothing else. Sit quietly and think for 15 – 20 minutes about what you are going to do. This may seem counter-intuitive, and it is. When you intentionally do nothing but focus on your project, it helps. You start to break the cycle of delay, destruction and time wasting.
- If you need an extra boost, spend a few minutes putting everything in perspective. Consider something that you are doing later which creates a good feeling. And if you can’t find something, focus on your family, or a loved one. This helps draw your focus away from your current ‘stuck’ state of pain. Therefore, it helps reduce the anxiety which occurs with the thought of doing big projects. We all desire fundamentally to reduce anxiety. Consequently, when we do something else, we reduce our anxiety.
Break your project into small chunks
- Consider breaking your project into small chunks. Schedule them into your diary and set up a simple reward system along the way. Put a tick beside each small task when completed. Why? Because your brain will produce a small amount of dopamine, which it craves. As you tick off each piece, celebrate and encourage yourself with positive self-talk. As a result, you will have just enough to keep your momentum up to continue the project. Furthermore, you will start to break the poor habit of wasteful procrastination.
- And if this doesn’t work, sometimes we need a good dose of self-discipline, or as I call it GRIT. Being a former athlete I use many analogies from the sporting world for business professionals. There is science to success and a high cost. Which is exactly why so few people are willing to do what is required. However, athletes have a clear why and a goal to aim for. This is their drive to get up at 4.30 am and turn up to train whether they feel like it or not. When I was training for Ironman races I had a very busy full-time sales job, yet I still managed to train six days a week, sometimes twice a day in the pursuit of my goal.
- Find your own reason for doing that difficult or arduous task. Step into your power. Try some gentle discipline or find your GRIT. And if this doesn’t work, perhaps it isn’t really that important? Maybe ditching it or delegating it is the key?
Keep Focused on your Goals
In conclusion, if you want to achieve your long-term goals, it’s vital to keep your focus on your goals, on the important. By rewarding yourself frequently, you can keep out of the state of ‘wasteful procrastination.’ Every time you do, you help break this unhelpful habit.
So, next time you suffer from wasteful procrastination virus, imagine how good you will feel when you have completed the task and proven to yourself that you can break this pattern? What other awesome things will unfold in your life?