I’m a recovering perfectionist and procrastinator. A true double whammy! Not only did I strive to do everything perfectly, but I also let the pressure of perfection delay me from taking action. I work daily to undo the habits that were hindering my success. Many people who procrastinate, consider themselves lazy or unmotivated. They feel like they avoid doing tasks because they want to chill for as long as possible. Procrastinating doesn’t mean you are lazy. Most people procrastinate because they are avoiding negative emotions that come with doing whatever task it is. Such as not feeling confident in your abilities, not being sure where to start, not feeling that the task aligns with your goals, or that they will fail.
These are also reasons why people lack discipline. We all just want to feel good. When we procrastinate, we tend to fill the time with things that feel good. When I don’t feel like completing administrative work for my coaching business, I sometimes find myself scrolling through DSW’s site. Can you relate? The uncomfortable feelings such as denying yourself instant gratification is tough. Instead of completing the report that is due at 1pm, you chose to scroll on Instagram or clean your room. You’ll do anything to avoid the emotions associated with the task you’re dreading. Some will even do a task that feels productive but is not urgent or important at the moment.
When you avoid important and urgent tasks, you create more negative emotions. This then creates a habit where you teach yourself that every time you’re triggered, you do something else temporarily to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Then when the last-minute urgency sets in you rush to do the task stressed out and overwhelmed. And honestly, it probably isn’t your best work.
Here are some ways to combat procrastination and start taking more action:
1. The number one way to stop procrastinating is to take small action. Don’t think about the entire staircase, take one step in the process.
Starting difficult tasks makes many of us feel anxious. Not feeling up to it is not an excuse to not do the tasks needed to reach our goals and dreams. You’re not always going to feel like doing something all the time. Behind your greatest moments is hard work, not excuses. Stop expecting massive results when you haven’t put in the work required to achieve such results. It’s the hard truth but it’s vital to develop the discipline required to be your best self. Protecting your peace is important but so stepping out of your comfort zone and getting things done.
2. When you’re about to start a task, think about why you’re doing it and what the final result is going to feel like. Once you’ve rationalized how important this task is and how awesome and empowered, you’ll feel afterwards, start.
Newsflash, you can learn to control your emotions! If you find yourself angry often, easily annoyed, or down on yourself and the world, it’s time to rid yourself of negative emotions that may have turned into negative habits. One thing I’m working on accepting is that I’m responsible for every aspect of my life. This life is 100% my responsibility. Feel the anger then let it go. Emotions only last for 45-90 seconds. All the time after that is you processing the emotion. You have the power to decide to release the emotion and move on. People who achieve their goals are optimistic about their future. They find ways to make the most of all situations even the ones they don’t want to be in.
3. Try timing yourself. Set a deadline for your task, set a timer, then start. Make it feel like a game, see if you can beat the clock.
You’re not lazy. Your brain wants to protect you from more pain, and that makes sense. But in order to get where we dream to be, we have to do our best to overcome this feeling. It’s a daily, intentional process. You can train yourself to become comfortable being uncomfortable. A timer will create a sense of urgency. If it doesn’t work the first time, adjust the timer to a time period that works best for you.
4. Tell someone else what you’ve been procrastinating on.
Determine a time when you’re going to start what you’ve been procrastinating on and ask someone you trust to hold you accountable. Many people will break promises with themselves but not with others. If you resonate with that sentiment, find an accountability partner, and start working together to stop procrastinating in your life.
If you try any of these tips, let me know how it goes! I offer personalized time management and productivity help. Book a free strategy session with me here, if you’re ready to reclaim your time and develop the skills to stop procrastinating!