Procrastination – A common Urge to Overcome

Part 2 - Tips to Defeat Procrastination – Now!

Procrastination - Overcoming a common urge part 1Following on from part 1, in which you discovered why you might be succumbing to procrastination we can now start to think about how we can overcome it.

If you have not had time to read part 1 you can read it here – Procrastination – A common Urge to Overcome Part 1

Knowing the the causes of your procrastination is only the start, If you accept that you suffer from procrastination and that it effects your time management, then you should work towards overcoming it whenever possible and there is no better time to do it than now. Don’t put it off till tomorrow.

The problem of procrastination is an issue of inaction, and so the best antidote is to take action. Thus, even small steps towards a goal will be all it takes to keep the ball rolling. Small steps will eventually lead to bigger ones.

Practice visualisation

Visualisation is a great technique that we can use to get started, it entails picturing yourself doing your work and completing it. What will the end result look like, how will you feel when you have completed the task, what will be the benefits to you of completing the task. It is about building your confidence and projecting the required attitude & the energies to ensure the completion of the tasks on your list. Being able to picture yourself completing the tasks successfully will be a good psychological advantage for you.

Find time to learn – gain knowledge and skill.

Where you believe that a lack of knowledge and/or skill is the issue, how do you gain them, what research do you need to do? Who has done this before you, can you ask them for advice and guidance? In truth most of the time you will already have some knowledge about the task your about to do and it is only one area that you’re unsure of and that stops you starting the task. We know we can write that article or blog for our website, but are unsure about how we go about optimising it for search rankings, Start the blog and then worry about optimisation.

Once you accept that you already have a degree of knowledge and that the remainder is easy to find you will no longer have the reason to procrastinate and so be ready to make a a start on the tasks at hand.

Be realistic about your standards.

The creation of perfect work all the time is a standard that is impossible to reach. In most instances good is good enough, notice that I said good is good enough, not shoddy is good enough. I don’t advocate sending out work that doesn’t meet your own professional standards. But how many times do we spend two hours writing a great piece of work and then another three hours trying to get it perfect and then never publishing it because we’re not quiet happy with it?

Perfectionists are often caught up in a bind that they create for themselves. They are caught in the flow of inaction – and seemingly unable to complete a task until it conforms to the highest standards they impose upon themselves.

Learn to be happy with work that is of a good standard – it doesn’t have to be perfect, it only has to be good enough. Yes, it may be nice to aim for perfection – but it is something beyond human capacity, as what is perfect to you, will not be for someone else. Don’t let perfectionism become a hindrance towards completing your tasks on time.

Develop self discipline.

Without the commitment to work hard on your tasks and see them through to completion, you are doomed for failure. A lack of commitment for what ever reason, will lead to you taking the task lightly, as if it does not carry that enough weight to be considered important.

Ask yourself why you need to get the task done and have the self-discipline to do it and not allow procrastination to get the better of you. It is self discipline and commitment to a task that will enable you to take that first action and It will drive you towards working on important things right away – and it will not let you sit on your laurels – or take it easy for that matter.

Be motivated.

Create a set-up where you reward yourself for completing tasks and meeting deadlines. Knowing what motivates you will be key towards coming up with the rewards you will give yourself. Promise yourself that coffee when you have worked on a task for 20 minutes. Identify the tasks that you really enjoy doing and use these as reward tasks, only to be done when a more difficult task has been completed.

Continually motivate yourself and find creative ways to reward yourself. This will make it more exciting for you as each task gets completed. With each success you get, you will also gain more confidence & courage to take on more difficult tasks.

Attitude determines altitude.

With the right attitude, you will not have problems working on tasks that need your attention. You will make every effort towards making things happen for the purpose of producing good work and meeting deadlines.

Having the passion and the drive to accomplish your goals will help you avoid procrastination. With a strong passion and belief in what you’re doing, you will approach your work without hesitation.

As they say, attitude determines altitude. Your attitude will determine how high you can go. The levels of success are dependent on your attitude towards what you do. The more inspired you are to do the best job you can, the more successful you are destined to be.

Never lose that winning attitude. Your winning attitude will leave no place for procrastination to stay. You will convince yourself that inaction will not lead you to the success that you want to achieve.

Establishing small wins

Sometimes it is just a matter of getting started that stops procrastination from getting a hold. Divide tasks into manageable chunks of work and set deadlines to work towards. As each deadline is reached, you will be motivated to work on the next one and before you know it the task will be complete. This has the added benefit of seeing that you’re making progress.

With small wins, the momentum will then be to your side. You are drawn towards hitting one milestone after another and with a higher level of confidence as each milestone is reached – overcoming the next obstacle will be a lot easier. Take time to celebrate the small wins you have achieved, as you go along, sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back.

Defeating procrastination may be difficult – and you have to realise that there are times when we all succumb to it, but for the most part with the tips above you should be able to overcome it.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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6 thoughts on “Procrastination – A common Urge to Overcome

  1. Great article Mike.

    The section on Small Wins is particularly helpful, especially so if the task to be completed is large or complicated.

    Breaking it into manageable chunks is helpful psychologically. It’s the old “How fo you eat an elephant” thing.

    Thanks for a great post. Adrian