1. Do you think you have lots of time left for a project, but then find you’re rushing around at the last minute?
2. Do you think a task or project will take a long time so try and leave enough space in your day to do it all in one go.
3. Or even think that something will only take 5 minutes and then realise that actually it’ll take all day?
4. Are you clever about your procrastination? Do you think that you work better under pressure or to deadlines?
5. Do you simply have a habit of putting things off?
6. Do you write long lists of things to do but never get to the end?
7. Do you struggle to say ‘No’ (Does answering yes to this question feel easier than disagreeing? Lol)
If none of these apply then you might be a ‘DO IT NOW’ kind of a person. In which case well done. If not:
Understanding what’s happening in your head…
Procrastinating can be a learned thing. Most of the time something good has happened to us previously when we’ve put something off until later. May be someone else ended up doing it for you or circumstances changed and you managed to avoid doing anything. It’s part of the pain/pleasure thought processes that go on constantly in the back of our mind.
You might also find that you only put certain tasks off. Or that certain conditions mean you’re more likely to procrastinate. For instance:
– Difficulty starting a job because of preparation needed (eg. tidying a desk in order to have the space to work)
– The more work you have on the less you get done and the more you find reasons not to get on with things.
Tips for overcoming procrastination
1. Break down big jobs into sections and tackle each section one at a time.
2. Set a specific time each day to spend an hour or half an hour on tasks you really don’t like.
3. Get into good habits. Apparently you only need to repeat something 28 times for it to become a habit. So sticking to something for 28 days will help you ingrain it into your routine.
4. Reward yourself! I truly believe that most of us are so busy thinking about what we haven’t got done that we sometimes forget to acknowledge all we have done. For example, you’ve taken the time to read up on how to beat a bad habit! Give yourself a big pat on the back for it.
5. Make it easy to start, pick up and put down any job. If leaving it out on the dining room table for a couple of days is what you need to do, then so be it.
6. Use an egg timer or a stop watch to help you get a better understanding of how long tasks actually take. Start off with measuring your breaks! It’s very easy to lose a lot of time every day making cups of tea!
7. Be aware of your own thought processes. This is often difficult whilst in the grip of procrastination to think clearly about what you’re really doing, but afterward take the time to analyse what was really going on and how you could avoid it later.
8. Become a ‘Do it Now!’ kind of a person. If you get out of the habit of putting things off, you’ll start to naturally achieve more.
9. Beware of very long ‘To Do’ lists. Many of us can spend half the day writing a to do list and putting it in order. Personally I don’t use them. To get more done, decide on two or three things that absolutely need your attention today and focus on them. If you finish in plenty of time, do extra.
10. Find some fun in what you’re doing. Do whatever you need to do to make your brain attach good associations with a task. Will you feel better once the project is out of the way? Will you get more money? Or will just getting it done mean it’s over with (which may also be a good thing…)
11. Don’t take on more than you can easily manage. Practice saying no to people who could really do a lot of these things for themselves.
12. Go easy on yourself. Too many of us are so busy trying to be an unattainable version of perfection. Decide not to be perfect, decide to be better.