Kick Procrastination in the *ss

If procrastination is affecting your career, job, relationships, and life in general, it's time to do something about it!

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Procrastination is avoiding something that makes you uncomfortable and that you are not motivated to do. For example, flying to Paris on vacation is such a big motivator for me, that I wouldn't procrastinate booking tickets, finding a hotel or packing.  

On the other hand, organizing my closet is something I've been postponing for months because the payoff isn't big enough for me.  

Procrastinators also focus on the short-term gains (avoiding stress, discomfort, doing something that's not enjoyable, challenges, hard work) rather than on the long-term results, the consequences of avoiding a task and the benefits of getting it done.  

In addition to leaving things for the last minute, procrastinators tend to over-think things, to worry over scenarios they're predicting which, ironically, lead to much more discomfort and stress, including lack of sleep, lower self-esteem, and regrets.  

The following are some concrete steps you can take towards kicking procrastination in the *ss once and for all:

  1. Find your motivation. It's hard to start a workout routine, but if you really want to beat diabetes or fit into your skinny jeans or avoid another heart attack, you'll struggle through that first week and then it'll be easier and easier until, by the 21st day, it will have become a habit. If you keep putting off doing your homework and end up having to stay up late Sunday to half-*ss it, then motivate yourself. Do your homework as soon as you get home on Friday and then you've got the ENTIRE WEEKEND to do whatever you want!

  2. Focus on the benefits and the results. "Ugh, I have to start working out one of these days, but it's so hard to get up early, plus I'm in such bad shape it's going to take me forever to see results." Nope! Look at the benefits and results: you're going to full more energized at work, in a couple of weeks you'll start to see results and your self-esteem will improve.

  3. Set a deadline. "Sometimes" and "soon" aren't deadlines. Put your activity in your calendar and set an alarm. Get used to your calendar being a "sacred space" where cheating is now allowed. Be accountable to yourself. You are an adult and shouldn't require someone nagging you to do things.

  4. If what you've been procrastinating is something big like cleaning out the garage or losing 50 pounds, set several mini-deadlines before the big finale. For example, "I will lose 2 pounds per week." For the garage, you could say "Today I will clear out everything that's going in the trash, tomorrow I'll buy boxes and pack and label everything that I'm keeping."

  5. Reward yourself. The day you finish your task or project, do something you really enjoy. If you love playing video games, don't allow yourself that pleasure until you've completed your task.

  6. Don't have an "All or Nothing" mindset. If you procrastinate doing something because you won't have time to do it perfectly, it'll never get done.

Procrastination is almost painful because that niggling reminder that you still have to do XYZ won't let you enjoy the present.  

Remember that it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to make a lifestyle. Start kicking procrastination in the *ss today and for the next 21 days!

Grace Hahn2 Comments