You can hear the clock ticking. That deadline is hanging over your head like a storm cloud. All the work you need to do feels like an impossible mountain to even think about climbing, and before you know it, you're on the couch glued to the television in an attempt to block out what actually needs to be done.
You guessed it — you're procrastinating. 😓
It happens us all, especially when we're feeling overwhelmed or unsure about the things ahead. But in order to beat the habit of waiting until the last minute, you've gotta know what you're actually avoiding. Next time you feel procrastination creeping in, try these 5 tips to beat it and get things DONE:
Overcoming Procrastination: 5 Ways to Break the Habit
1. Find the similarities
What are you procrastinating on right now? Think of that one thing. Then another. Then…probably another. 😬
It's okay, we've all been there.
What do the things you're putting off have in common? Are they real-life make-or-break things? Are they things someone else wants you to do?
If the tasks you're procrastinating on fall into similar categories, whether based on the type of work they require or something else that just doesn't feel right, use that info to find out what you're avoiding. You could be avoiding tasks because of the way they make you feel and not even realize it. Get in tune with your mindset to find out what actually impacts it. Then, you can create a plan to brace for that impact.
2. Don't beat yourself up
Procrastinating can lead to guilt and that guilt can compound, creating a vicious cycle of avoiding tasks because you feel bad and feeling bad because you avoided tasks. When you've been putting something off, don't beat yourself up. No one deserves to get dragged through the mud every single time something goes undone for a bit too long.
Instead of getting down on yourself, which only contributes to the negative mindset keeping you from working, shift your focus. You can't change what's already happened, but you can make a plan for the day ahead. You always have the ability change your course of action!
3. Find your triggers & break the habit
Remember: you are not a procrastinator. You simply practice procrastination.
In order to stop that practice, the habit needs to be broken. What are you routinely drawn away from? Do you find yourself experiencing overwhelm or anxiety or depression? These challenges can drag us down and prevent us from being our most productive selves — they leave us binge-watching Netflix, avoiding the pressure of the tasks we're avoiding until we just can't take it anymore. Suddenly Netflix isn't even an escape — you're just worrying about what needs done.
Identify the triggers that make you want to escape or avoid your responsibilities. No matter how valid those triggers are, things need to get done. Starting with the awareness of what derails you is the first step to conquering it.
4. Change your response
A surefire way to break a habit for good is by replacing it with something better. When you start to feel the urge to cancel your plans and head for the couch, take a step back and reassess. Is spending the night with Netflix again really going to make you feel better? Or could it be worth it to try something new?
Have a conversation with yourself about what you need in order to be successful. Do you need to say some affirmations to yourself to get you motivated? An hour away from social media so work can be accomplished? Change the response to your triggers so you can make things happen.
5. Try 5 minutes
If you're feeling brave, maybe changing your response means diving directly into what you're avoiding. Commit to just 5 or 10 minutes of the task you're currently procrastinating on and see what you can accomplish. While it may not be something that's totally finish-able in that amount of time, maybe you'll find some clarity on the next steps. You never know if you don't try.
If you find that you've spent 5 minutes and you can't take any more, at least you got those 5 minutes in! But assess why this task is causing you so much grief, and is it really necessary? If something is wearing on you so much that you can't make yourself complete it, maybe you can delegate it. Do what you need to do to make sure things get done, even if it's not the way you originally planned.
QOTD: What's your procrastination plan?