Are you ready to stop procrastinating? Would you like to change your behavior? No more dilly-dallying, no shilly-shallying, no delaying, no excuses.
Everyone procrastinates sometimes, and there is no need to feel guilty about it. But are you ready to change and turn over a new leaf? You can live more actively. Take charge of your life. Experience more. Accomplish more. Realize your full potential. Here you will find five tools to stop procrastinating, and successful techniques that will turn your life around.
Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. ~Spanish Proverb
Procrastination happens when we talk ourselves out of doing something important. We encourage ourselves to delay doing a necessary task. To defeat a bad habit like procrastination, you need to replace it with a positive habit, the habit of taking action. Every time you procrastinate, you become better at procrastinating. Every time you take action, you become better at taking action. Whether you choose to take action or to procrastinate, either way, you will become good at something. Which do you prefer?
The Main Reason You Procrastinate
There are lots of reasons for procrastinating behavior, like fear of failure, and I’ll cover them later. But in spite of all these reasons, the underlying basis for procrastination is that we are talking to ourselves with bad mental messages. Your procrastination spring from your personal beliefs, your hidden feelings about the task. These feelings govern your motivation and control your response. If you have negative feelings, you will tend to put off or delay. If your habit of procrastination is interfering with your life and well-being, a good therapist can teach you how to move beyond it.
Procrastination is the thief of time. ~Edward Young
What Excuses Do You Use When You Procrastinate?
When you procrastinate, you make excuses to avoid doing your work. Your self-talk destroys your motivation. Which is your favorite excuse to postpone important work?
- Do you often tell yourself the work is too hard?
- Do you tell yourself they didn’t give you enough time, or that you need better instructions?
- Do you tell yourself what a screw-up you are?
- Perhaps you delay starting the task, because there’s lots of time before your deadline. So you allow yourself to postpone it, until suddenly the time is gone.
- Some procrastinators encourage delay by telling themselves that there’s plenty of time and no need to rush.
- You fib and tell yourself that you only need three hours to whip out the report, when in reality you know in your heart it will take a lot longer. With one excuse or the another, you deny reality.
- You hope against hope that the work will be cancelled or someone else will do it.
- Sometimes procrastination is a way to indulge yourself. You encourage yourself to goof off, to be a slacker. You seek pleasure and shirk responsibility. You avoid work because it gets in the way of having fun. You lack self-discipline.
- Perhaps you tell yourself that the required work is trivial and unnecessary.
- Sometimes you tell yourself you work better under pressure, so you let your work pile up until the last minute. Then all heck breaks lose, as you push yourself, cram for a presentation, pull an all-nighter before an exam. You tell yourself that you work better under pressure, but you know that’s a fib, too. As a consequence, your last-minute effort is substandard work, not at all what you are capable of.
- The things you say to yourself reinforce your slacker behavior, and encourage your habit to procrastinate.
- There are many other excuses you probably use. You tell yourself that you are just too busy, or that people are demanding, or that the work is too complicated. Because you procrastinate, your grades suffer, your job evaluation report stinks, you show up late, and your teammates can’t count on you.
The best way to get something done is to begin. ~Author Unknown
The Reasons for Procrastination
Psychologists say there are many underlying reasons for procrastination.
- a lack of self-esteem
- a feeling of rebelliousness
- a way to defy authority
- a habit to get attention
- a tool to cope with pressures
- a way to exercise control of your life when you feel powerless
- a habit to deal with fear of failure, because, if you don’t start the job, you’ll never fail at it
- the behavior of a perfectionist who is always unsatisfied and critical of your own output.
- your anxiety about making decisions. You are using procrastination as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. But procrastinating itself causes additional stress.
Use Positive Self-Talk to Stop Procrastinating
The best way to stop procrastinating is to listen to your self-talk, to recognize the way you motivate yourself and demotivate yourself with excuses. By changing your mental self-talk, you will make a lasting change in your behavior. When you change your self-talk, you will be eager to leap into the work and excited about the chance to show what you can do. Procrastinating ruins your peace of mind, and your sense of accomplishment, and your feeling of self-worth. Taking action is the way to overcome procrastination. The result will be positive success in school, on the job and with your friends.
Listen to your internal self-talk. Recognize the negative, lazy and defeatist attitude that bad self-talk encourages. Change your mental self-talk to upbeat, motivating and encouraging words. Nip negativity in the bud with deliberate positive self-talk, like the samples below. Use these upbeat phrases often, and repeat them like a mantra. At first they may seem artificial, but with repetition they will change your beliefs about yourself, and lead you to new habits. Each of these memes, repeated to yourself often, will change your outlook, and encourage you to take action. When you change your self-talk to positive, encouraging, upbeat messages, you will change your behavior.
- If you are a perfectionist, start telling yourself that your work is pretty exceptional, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- If you are a delayer, tell yourself that the work will go quickly. Tell yourself that it’s really pretty easy.
- If you are afraid of failure, remind yourself that you are just as good as anyone else, if not better.
- If you feel discouraged, remind yourself why you want to do a good job, that your goal is worthwhile and you can reach success.
- If you feel scared or depressed, pay yourself compliments. Remind yourself of all the good you have accomplished.
- Tell yourself how exciting it will feel to get this project wrapped up.
- Tell yourself that no one can put you down or stand in the way of your success.
- Tell yourself that the hardest part is starting, and after that the work gets much easier.
- Tell yourself that the job is really pretty simple after all.
- Tell yourself that you are in charge of your life, and you can take control of your life back from difficult people.
- Tell yourself that you like doing the work and that you enjoy the time you spend on the task.
- Remind yourself how proud you are to complete a project. Encourage, compliment and praise yourself.
Five Ways You Can Stop Procrastinating
- Upbeat Self-Talk. Use examples of positive self-talk like the ones above.
- Instant Activity. When a particular task intimidates you, just leap into it. Don’t over-analyze it. Just take the initiative immediately and commit yourself to ten minutes of activity. Open the book, start writing, grab your tools and, as the saying goes, just do it. It’s very likely that you will get absorbed in the task, and will continue work well beyond the first ten minutes.
- Avoid Distractions. Eliminate distractions like television, music, phones, texting and email. Turn off all the devices that will give you an excuse to procrastinate. Take your work to an isolated desk in the library. If you share your cubicle or your room, put a sign on your chair that says: “Hard at Work. Pretend I’m Invisible”
- Preparation. Another way to defeat procrastination is to get your workroom and your tools in order. Chaos and messiness discourage your initiative. A clean, quiet, well-lighted place will make it easier to work at your project and do your best.
- To-Do List. Using a to-do list or a day-by-day schedule is another way to stop procrastination. For many people, myself included, using a list reduces the stress of work hanging over their head. They learn how to list the work and work the list.
You may like