How to stop procrastinating
-Feb 14, Caroline Blight, Living -
Procrastinating is one of the curses of modern life. There’s always so much to do that it’s difficult to know where to start. So, how do you stop procrastinating and just get on with the tasks at hand?
Do you want – or know – you need to change certain aspects of your life but seem to have trouble even starting, let alone achieving your goal? Does it never seem like the right time to make the change? Does feel impossible to find the time to do the things you want to? It could well be that instead of coming up against actual hurdles you are creating them yourself and procrastinating.
You aren’t the only one though – 95% of us will procrastinate at one point or another. And while it might seem like you are just preventing yourself reaching a personal goal, actually there is a knock on affect to your physical and mental health. Procrastinating can increase our anxiety levels as we feel like we are not achieving or prevented from doing what we want to. The knock on to this is negative self-talk, feelings of worthlessness and depression. And physically the stress and anxiety can cause health problems such as headaches, digestive issues and insomnia.
So how can you stop procrastinating and start making the changes you want to?
Give up on perfection
Often people put off a task because they don’t feel they are able to carry it out perfectly. It’s then easy to put off as you aren’t ready with the right tools to create exactly what you wanted. But if you wait for the perfect moment will always be left waiting – and anyway, perfection is neither possible or necessary. It’s better to instead strive to do your best and make changes to perfect what you are doing along the way or when you have already completed the task. The only certainty you currently have it that your plan won’t come to fruition as you have not started trying. Also, before you really embark on a project how do you know if the perfection you envisage at the beginning is possible or even what makes ‘perfect’?
Make a plan
Starting is the most important route to overcoming procrastination. Doing something allows you to build on your If you look only at the end goal it can seem the hurdles to get there are insurmountable. Instead break down the task into steps. It’s helpful if you write the steps down so they are a visual reminder of what you have done and what you need to do. This will help you plan your time and approach when you are not feeling as motivated.
Make your motivation
Waiting for a time when you will feel totally enthused everyday to work towards your goal is a dream which is unlikely to come true! Everyone has peaks and troughs when it comes to doing something they love or want to achieve. There are days when the greatest sporting heroes would rather have an extra couple hours in bed than get up and train. Or when CEO’s wish they could cancel those meetings to watch TV with the kids. But you have to start somewhere and often when you begin working towards a goal you will have increasingly less motivated days as you can see the progress you are making. When you keep putting off starting it is easy to decide you are not motivated enough and there is no point trying. Make a point of finding just 15mins a day on a timer and do something towards your goal. More often than not you will likely want to carry on after your allotted time and feel caught up in what you are working on. Fake it till you make it has never been more appropriate!
Yes, you might fail – but if you don’t try you’ll never know
The fear of failure is behind so much procrastination. The idea that we are not good enough to complete the task or make it happen. Or that it’s a flawed idea in the first place. While it’s true that you might fail, you also could succeed. And not knowing and feeling we are not up to the challenge is more damaging to our health than not trying in the first place. Also working through your idea or challenge might mean that your path to the end result deviates as you learn more about your subject or yourself. The end result may not be what you hoped it would be, it might be better!
Finally, if you have an unwieldily talk that you just can’t face, think about how great you’ll feel once you’ve finished and, when you have got it done, book yourself a treat as a thank you to yourself.