Procrastinating is a strange phenomena. Dictionary.com defines it as “putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.” We usually procrastinate with things we prefer not to do. However, for projects that we have to or want to do, we need tools to help us overcome the urge to procrastinate.
Here are some tips on what to do if you need to get something done and want to fight the urge to procrastinate:
Begin by writing down all the things that you need to do. Then place them in order of importance.
Break down larger projects into the various tasks involved. Tell yourself “It does not have to be done all at once.” Often the task appears overwhelming, such as cleaning and organizing an extremely cluttered room. Schedule a set amount of time, say one hour, to work on the room. After the hour is up, you can work another hour or schedule an hour the next day.
Set up a schedule with an assigned date and time of completion. Using general statements such as “I will do it over the weekend” rarely work. A better alternative would be “I will complete this project on Saturday at 10 a.m.”
When you are tempted to substitute a fun activity for the project at hand, make the fun activity the reward for completing the task.
Ward off self-defeating thoughts like “I will do a poor job” or “I will be unsuccessful.” It is important to remember that these are only thoughts, they are not facts. So change the messages you are giving yourself.
Never hesitate to give yourself reminders. Write down notes and place them strategically in places you are most likely to notice. The more you see these reminders, the more likely you are to follow through on your action.
Always give yourself credit for your accomplishments. Even the completion of a small task is worth acknowledging. Most goals are achieved through small steps in the right direction.
There are many reasons why we procrastinate, but whenever we do it can take over and make the task at hand even more overwhelming. Obviously, this will lead to greater avoidance of the task. So, grab it early, don’t get down on yourself and employ the above steps which should help you to accomplish your task.
For more information about Gary Schochet, LCSW, click here.
Originally published July 1, 2016