It is the case where the mind is willing but the flesh isn’t.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating
We have gone through the most probable causes of procrastination or reasons of procrastination. Let’s now move towards the tips on how to avoid procrastination or how to not procrastinate.
Just Start to stop procrastinating
Procrastination is not waiting and it is more than delaying. The key is to just start. It’s an old phrase “Well begin is half done”. Have you ever noticed the importance of beginning? And it’s often the very first step that’s the hardest step to take? The biggest problem with procrastinators is they do not begin.
Let us see exactly what happens during the moment when you finally break the shackles of procrastination and take action to stop procrastinating. For an example, let’s consider you have to make few presentation slides for the business review meeting scheduled next month. You’ve known about it for weeks and continued to avoid making it day after day. After one week, you will start to experience a little bit of anxiety and distressing pain thinking about this presentation you have to make, but not enough to do anything about it. Then, suddenly, a couple of days before the deadline, the future consequences turn into present consequences, and you start making presentation slides and complete few hours before it is due.
The problem is not doing the work, it’s starting the work.
If you want to stop procrastinating, then you need to make it as easy as possible for the Present YOU to get started and trust that motivation and momentum will join after you begin.
1. Bring the Consequences of Procrastination to Present moment
We have discussed above the one of the reasons of procrastination is time inconsistency. You have to find a way to move future rewards and punishments into the present moment. You have to make the future consequences become present consequences. It will help you to conquer procrastination and kick start.
Come back to the example, where you were supposed to make presentation slides for the business review meeting. The cost of procrastinating on delay for making presentation slides only becomes painful after few weeks of lazy behavior. Now in this example how will you move future rewards and punishments into the present moment?
If you commit to make the presentation slides before 10 AM of Friday morning and requesting your immediate boss for guidance on draft presentation slides. The cost of procrastinating on making the presentation slides becomes more immediate.
2. Put the Big Rocks in First
Remember the story of Jar and Big rocks, shared by Stephen Covey in his book, First Things First. If you have not read that story, please go through this article – Is the Jar of your time Full?
You need to identify the most important priorities in your life – both professional as well as personal.
Stephen Covey termed this the “Big Rocks” principle. If you start your day (Jar of time) without a concrete plan, you’ll sooner or later get busy filling it with sand (less priority) or water (no priority but important). Before you know it, your Jar is full, and you have already spent another day working on things that have little value to you. You need to manage your Jar of time and put the big rocks (important and top priority tasks) first. Practicing this you will be able to ensure important and top priority tasks do not fall into the territory of procrastination.
3. Time Management Techniques
Time management techniques which will definitely help you to focus on the things on which you procrastinate are as under :
- Planning and making to do list
- Setting your A, B, C of priorities
- Being realistic in your expectations
- Learning to say “No”
- Managing interruption
- Using the waiting time are some of the techniques of time management.
The visualization exercise seems simple, but some recent research suggests that visualizing yourself in the future could be an innovative way to beat procrastination.