Are you guilty of delaying work that needs to be completed until the last minute?
Maybe it’s a task you need to finish, a proposal you need to submit to a client, or an errand your spouse asked you to do.
I’m sure we’ve all gone through some extent of procrastination over the years – I certainly have. Studies show that over 20% of adults put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.
So why do we struggle with procrastination?
Well, at its core, procrastination is simply an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators far prefer to do something else instead of doing what they need to do. It’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.
But it is possible to overcome procrastination, despite how difficult it seems.
Let me break down the five common types of procrastinators I’ve identified, and suggest how you should approach each of them.
Perfectionists tend to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of edits, improvements and deletions. As a result, they often fail to complete tasks as they’re striving for perfection before they put in place.
Solution – Review and restate your goals
Analyse your vision and primary goals and make sure they are still relevant. You may have outgrown them. Update and amend as necessary
Spend time visualising your goals and attaching emotion to them. Make sure you are passionate about the outcomes as well as the process.
When you feel yourself procrastinating, identify emotionally with the achievement of your goals and force yourself to take the step to finalise and implement.
Dreaming without action gives you a false sense of achievement and satisfaction.
In your mind, if you envision big and ambitious plans but never act on them, you don’t have to deal with the stress and accountability that comes with action.
Solution – Do the Difficult Tasks First
The start of the day is when your brain is most productive. So use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff out of the way. Make a commitment to yourself to tackle one important task as your first act of business of the morning.
Don’t permit any distractions until you have achieved exactly what you planned to. No calls, emails, interruptions of any nature.
Note – Completing simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.
In general, these guys are holding onto the fear of making mistakes or doing something wrong. The knee-jerk is to convince yourself that “nothing will go wrong if I don’t do anything”.
Fear of failure is an issue that we entrepreneurs have to confront regularly, but it’s also an important component of our ultimate success.
Solution – Write out a To-Do list each day
Writing down lists has been psychologically proven to increases your need to get things done. The process of checking a completed item off the list actually gives you a hit of dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter.
Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, you actively remind yourself of these ‘difficult’ tasks which make it more difficult to avoid them.
Prioritise the To-Do list and don’t move to the next item on the list until you’re finished with the one you’re on.
Operators are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to leave it to the last minute.
It’s probably unconscious, but operators seem to believe that they’re less productive if there isn’t a deadline looming over their shoulder. This is usually reinforced by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.
Solution – Create a timeline with milestones as well as interim deadlines
You need to create a timeline from today until your final project deadline. Then establish structured and concrete milestones along the way.
The completion of each milestone should be dependent on progressing to the next one. This will keep you on track and keep you accountable for incremental results, not just the main end-result.
The milestones need to be specific and real. Self-created and arbitrary deadlines create no pressure as we tend to justify pushing them back each time they come into sight. Especially when we feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.
Animated folks can’t (or just don’t) effectively prioritise their work. They do what they feel pressurised to do at each moment, without considering what they need to be doing. Often the sheer size of a task can be overwhelming enough to cause procrastination. Also, if your vision and long-term goals are unclear, and you lack direction, you won’t know where to start.
Prioritising takes time, but it’s necessary. Without it, you will end up doing a lot of tasks that don’t contribute significantly to your project. Being busy on inconsequential tasks, while avoiding the high-impact tasks is a sure way of grinding to a halt in your life.
Solution – Break up tasks and sequence their importance
Break down larger tasks into smaller ones, and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but that’s seldom the case. It often leads you to your goal quicker due to the powerful momentum you have going.
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Have you been able to associate with any of these types? If so, I hope you can use some of the tools I’ve given you to overcome your procrastinating habits.
If you need any assistance with this, I have created an online course called “How To Achieve Work-Life Balance”. It will guide you through the process of prioritisation and help you eliminate the bad habits of poor time management.
Don’t let procrastination rob you of the chance to be successful, happy and fulfilled. I want to help equip you with proven methods that you can apply to your current situation.
But I understand that you may be sceptical about the effectiveness of this course…
That is why I am giving you a 30-day, no questions asked, 100% money-back guarantee. You can try out the content and see if it works for you, with absolutely no risk to you.
If for any reason you find that it’s not suitable, I’ll give you a full refund because I only want to offer you solutions that work for you!
So if you’re serious about beating your procrastination, then click on this text to learn more about the course
Hope you have a fantastic week.
Until next time, take care and good luck out there.
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