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Overcoming Procrastination

If procrastination is a problem for you, it is important that you learn tools to handle your procrastination. Procrastination occurs when we are faced with too many decisions and are unable to complete matters of importance. "Procrastination is putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today". Knowing the reasons we are putting off doing something can have the effect of resolving the matter or changing our behavior so we complete the outstanding matter.

Answer these questions:

What is the real reason behind your procrastination?
What is stopping you?

Reasons for procrastination

Consider whether any of these reasons are the reasons you procrastinate. Tick all that apply and think about their impact on you:

____ You are trying to do too much.
____ You don't know what to do or how. This usually means you need to do some research.
____ Your standard is too high. Perfectionism is holding you back.
____ You are not convinced of the benefits of doing the matter.
____ You are not really committed to the matter.
____ You choose to do other things. You are saying "yes" to other things.
____ You have some belief that is getting in the way. (I can't do this.)
____ You are afraid you will fail. Raise your consciousness about your fears.

Notice Underlying Fear

Tick-off any of the following that might apply to stop you from completing or starting a matter. You are afraid because you might:

____ Make a mistake
____ Lose respect
____ Be rejected
____ Be embarrassed
____ Make a bad decision
____ Need to change the way you comfortably do things
____ Not know enough
____ Look desperate
____ Not be able to find out what you need to know
____ Miss something important
____ Not be able to do this matter

People in general experience fear, some more than others. It is important to appreciate that thinking about fear makes us feel worse than we would feel if we actually did the action we are refraining from because of the fear.

You have choices when fear is present, one choice is to simply go through the fear and do what you want or need to do in order to accomplish the matter. And of course the other choice is continue to let the fear stop you.

What to do about it

Once you have thought about what causes you to procrastinate then consider these structures for defeating or managing procrastination. The following ideas may help you take action on what you have been procrastinating:

____ Break the objective down into small steps.
____ Do the background research. Find out what you need to know.
____ Maybe you don't want to do this thing at all. Remove it from your "to do list".
____ Delegate the matter to someone else.
____ Hire someone to handle the matter.
____ Choose the first easy step you can take and get started. Action leads to further action.
____ Do the hard thing first.
____ Notice the critical self-talk. How much energy is being wasted?
____ If one way is not working do something else. Compare what works in handling others matters.
____ Periodically fire clients.
____ Say "no" to something else. E.g. Interruptions or work you don't like.
____ Do the thing you want to do first.
____ Do the thing you least want to do first.
____ Schedule or block out time in your calendar.
____ Take a deep breath and start.
____ Set deadlines that you share with someone and ask them to hold you accountable.
____ Be realistic. (Don't let perfectionism get in your way.)
____ Compare the matter to your values. (Is something about this matter not in alignment with your values?)
____ Will doing this support your goals?
____ Give yourself rewards or penalties.

Write down what you notice about the reasons you procrastinate. Come up with your plan to defeat procrastination.