Note: This is a guest post from Dia Thabet of 2achieveyourgoals.com
Are you a procrastinator? Do you have a hard time to accomplish your tasks on time?
If you are like most people, chances are you are a procrastinator. Most people procrastinate to some degree; the key is not to let procrastination keep you from accomplishing what you have to do or achieving your goals.
Procrastination is when you put your work aside and say you will start tomorrow or next week to do what you have to do, so you can do something that is less important because you feel it is more fun and more comfortable. The procrastinator might work for long hours, but usually on less important tasks, which usually happens due to the lack of prioritizing.
Common characteristics of a procrastinator
- Afraid to fail
- Doesn’t believe he can accomplish the tasks
- Doesn’t know where to start
- Waits for the right mood or the right time
- Focuses on the moment of bliss instead of the long term bliss
- Doesn’t know how to prioritize and manage his time effectively
- Waits for everything to be perfect before he starts working on the task
- Says YES to people for many things that they ask and leaves the important work behind.
For these reasons, the procrastinator prefers to do something that he feels more enjoyable at the moment. Unfortunately, he leaves the required and important tasks for a later time, which usually has a negative impact on his life.
To learn how to overcome your desire to procrastinate, follow the steps below:
Realize and recognize that you are a procrastinator. If you are honest with yourself, most likely you would know deep in your heart that you tend to procrastinate. You should recognize and know your priorities and focus on the most important tasks instead of the less important ones.
2. Know the reasons
Some people procrastinate because they don’t like doing a certain task. For example, some people procrastinate reading a book because they are not interested in the subject. When you know the reasons why you procrastinate doing something, you can learn to change your attitude towards it.
3. Motivate yourself
If you procrastinate just because you don’t feel like doing a certain task and can’t delegate, then looks for ways to motivate yourself so you can accomplish the task.
Here are some ways that can help motivate you:
- Promise to treat yourself when you finish working on the task like going on a vacation, buying something for yourself, or relaxing.
- Ask a friend or a family member to motivate you in case you start slacking.
- Remind yourself of the consequences you will encounter in case you don’t finish the required task.
- Remind yourself of the long term benefits you will gain from doing the required task on time.
4. Take small steps
If you are a procrastinator, start taking small steps to accomplishing your goals. For example, if your goal is to write a book, but you think there is no time for it, then spend one hour every day to work on your book. By taking small steps, you avoid working on a task for a long time, which is one of the main reasons why people procrastinate.
5. Learn time management skills
You might tend to procrastinate due to the lack of time management skills. When you learn how to manage your time effectively and prioritize, the chances are you will stop procrastinating. Personally, I prioritize the tasks that I have to finish daily, so I accomplish everything that I need to.
Focus is necessary. Many people start jumping from one thing to another and after a while, they find that they have not accomplished much. Focus on one thing until you finish it.
Always remember the famous proverb by Edward Young: “Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Dia Thabet is a personal development coach, author, and consultant. You can visit him at http://www.2achieveyourgoals.com
Photo by madmolecule
Motivating yourself is so important. If your reason ‘why’ is not strong enough, you’ll come up with every possible excuse not to do it. But if your ‘why’ is strong, you’ll figure out ‘how’ no matter the challenge.
I agree with you motivation helps kill procrastinating. One of the best ways to become motivated is by focusing on the end result. Focusing on the end result motivates people and helps avoid procrastination. 🙂
Eugene, yet another point well-made!
You’re both on the money with starting motivation internally but it’s also great to have a work-out buddy, someone with similar goals that can keep you engaged through friendly competition. Sometimes you need a consultant to bounce ideas off of. Other times, you just need a hard dose of reality to create some urgency.
Focusing on the end result, what your hard work will enable or set in motion, is HUGE. Of course, some get bored because the immediate gains are not there. I find you need to temper expectations and realize that sustainable success takes a bit of a grind; conversely, unnecessary “busy work” should be avoided. Keep it simple.
I think the main reason most people procrastinate is that they are intimidated by the task. What helps with that, is breaking the goal into small steps, manageable steps. Making the first step the smallest is good, because it gets you going more easily, and getting started is always the hardest part 🙂
Avoiding negative self-talk and having a positive attitude about the task also helps. Also, sharing it with other encouraging people.
Breaking our tasks into small tasks for sure helps to avoid procrastination. It makes it easier to manage the task. Thanks Gemma 🙂
Good article on procrastination. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of other motivated people to help us get through procrastination, especially with regards to certain goals. Some goals were just not meant to be achieved in isolation or alone. As mentioned in the article, recognition of patterns is important and I think it’s important to recognize which goals we need help with.
Thanks dear, glad you liked it 🙂
[…] Are you a constant procrastinator: There are times where I am very guilty of this. I am not as bad now, but looking at this list when I was a chronic procrastinator I believe it was because of #6, I didn’t know how to manage my time. […]
I agree. Splitting the big task into smaller, easier -to-do tasks is the best way to overcome intimidation and increase motivation. But what if the procrastination and fear is a result of a past failure in a similar task? Once bitten twice shy!
Yep, breaking the tasks helps for sure, that gives us the chance to focus on the most important tasks. Thanks Harrison
Motivation comes from action. It’s easy to be motivated when you feel like you’re getting closer to your goal, and that only happens with action. So start!
I agree with breaking the task up though. Overwhelm is a big hindrance to productivity.
Exactly, when we get closer to our goals, we tend to feel more motivated. This is why I love to focus on the end result. By focusing on the end result, I get more motivated. Thanks Broderick 🙂
Hello, Dia!!! Great piece up there. More so because you have – yet again! – put goal setting, motivation and action – to prime heights with your wonderful writing. This would be a very good reminder to all those who somehow get lost along the way and start a silent pile of incomplete tasks and by-passed concerns with their growing procrastination. 🙂
Yeah, that’s me…
One thing you didn’t write: do it. Just start doing whatever you need to do, carefree and clumsy. The first step is always the hardest.
And it’s an everyday fight…
Well written article. The ironic thing of course is that I’m procrastinating as I read this article – so I’ve completed step one and recognized it 😉
Procrastination is rooted deeply in our brain and is an intriguing subject. You’ve offered great strategies for combating and my favorites would be:
Taking Small Steps – Our brain HATES uncertainty and uncertainty translates into fear or anxiety. Our brain (amygdala) responds to this by shutting down functional areas so you can respond to a threat that doesn’t exist – well, I suppose a term paper or project could be threatening. 😉
Focus – Ahhh the mystery of focus/concentration. Our current lifestyle is flooded with too many stimuli and battling for focus is increasingly difficult. It definitely feels like a ‘battle’!
Motivation – We’re just like our pets, we love rewards. Just make sure the reward isn’t more procrastinating 😉
Great stuff Dia. These are good ways to combat procrastination. If you want to check out WHY we procrastinate, maybe you’ll enjoy this article: http://www.studentofme.com/blog/2010/11/stop-waiting-for-procrastination-to-end/
I’ll have to check out your article, Greg – you make some stellar points!
Rewards is a keyword there. I think most of the world is conditioned to be employees, which creates habits and mindsets not conducive to independent work, creativity, and entrepreneurial success. You have to be a self-starter. More importantly, you need to welcome failure, be open to constructive criticism, and avoid getting stuck in “analysis paralysis”.
Wasn’t it Edison who said doubling your rate of failure doubles your success? That definitely applies here. Like the infamous Nike slogan, just do it!
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