Whether it’s that blank document that hasn’t been turned into a report or the cluttered inbox you keep telling yourself you’re going to get through or the laborious task of updating your LinkedIn, we all have things that we’re constantly putting off. If this sounds like you, read on for tips from life coach Jacqueline Hurst and finally nip your procrastination in the bud.
“Procrastination is a form of perfectionism for scared people”, she says. “A lot of the time we are not doing what we want to do because we think that the thing we have to do has to be done perfectly. This in itself is stressful and pressurising and in turn, we just don’t do it. The first tip towards getting things done is to let go of thinking that it won’t be right if it isn’t perfect. Getting things done that aren’t ‘good enough’ is still getting things done than not doing them at all.”
Jacqueline goes on to say, “quit worrying – if you are worrying about what someone else might think of you or your work, you need to recalibrate your thoughts. Is, whatever you are doing, ultimately because you want to be proud and happy about it or to impress someone else? The truth is that trying to impress anyone other than yourself is exhausting. YOU being proud of what YOU achieve is all that matters. Let the rest go. Remember the saying ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world but there will still be someone who doesn’t like peaches’.” Nuff’ said.
And for more top-notch tips, have a read of three easy steps to getting things done, courtesy of TheMuse.com, below.
1. Understand That Procrastination Isn’t About Laziness
The first rule of getting better at not procrastinating? Forgive yourself for procrastination you’ve done in the past. People who procrastinate don’t necessarily lack willpower, but instead are using procrastination as a coping mechanism for many other subconscious emotions.
So instead of thinking of yourself as just lazy, consider the deeper reasons behind why you’re putting something off in the first place. For example, maybe you’re working on a presentation for your department head. Laziness probably isn’t stopping you from getting started; fear of totally failing most likely is.
The sooner you figure out why you’re actually procrastinating, the sooner you can recognise those feelings, work through them, and move on. Using the presentation example, instead of completing avoiding PowerPoint the week leading up to your speech, talk to your boss about your anxieties and ask for advice on how to build the best presentation ever. You’ll be feeling better (and more productive) in no time.
2. Think About Future You
A procrastinator’s mind has a discrepancy between the “present” self and the “future” self, where a person might not be able to connect how present actions affect him of her down the line. In fact, research has shown that we are so disconnected from our future selves that we almost see them as strangers. This makes it much easier to push things off, because who cares about future you?
So, if you’re having trouble typing out that boring committee report, try envisioning the benefits for yourself down the line. Maybe your future self wants a promotion, and getting this report in sooner will help gear you up for that. Maybe doing it now will just allow your future self to leave work early to go to dinner with friends. Whatever it is, spend a moment thinking about the repercussions down the road – not just what you want to do now.
3. Just Get Started
One of my pet expressions is ‘Just get started.’ And it’s important you don’t say ‘Just do it’ – that’s overwhelming. But just get started.
You may not be quite motivated enough to completely finish a project, but getting yourself going (even if it’s just for five minutes) might give you the inspiration you need to continue. It’s totally okay to take things one step at a time. Procrastination, like a lot of other things, just comes down to science and mind tricks. The sooner you figure out why it’s bogging you down, the easier it is to work through it.