The concepts we’ve been discussing this week for some of you we may have shared before. As we’ve now been walking this path together for over two years there are some lessons we need to recall plus I’m recognizing the realization that many more people have joined us.
However, as there often is, there is another reason behind this motivation. More on that Saturday. In the meantime on this edition of “Becoming Today” we’ll revisit how to stop procrastinating!
If your first response is, ‘why would I want to do that?’ Well then this is not a post for you. For the rest of us, overcoming procrastination and sometimes procrastinators is something we all have to address in this process of “Becoming”.
Today we’ll look at this issue,as we are learning how to overcome those blockages as well as how to stop repeating past ineffective negative patterns.
So how then do we stop procrastinating?
How do we assist others in overcoming their struggles?
Well first let’s formulate a shared definition of what it mens to procrastinate.
To begin with, procrastination is not being lazy. Procrastination is a choice. It is an active process. The individual is making a conscious decision to choose to do something else instead of the task that they know They should be doing. Whereas laziness is an attitude. The lazy person is often apathetic, prefers inactivity and generally has adopted an unwillingness to act.
The handy Dictionary function built into Google Docs offers this definition, the action of delaying or postponing something.: “your first tip is to avoid procrastination”. Synonyms include vacillation, dilly-dallying, shilly-shallying, or kicking the can down the road.
Procrastination can involve not only ignoring an unpleasant task or a difficult decision but always involves failing to undertake a more important task, instead opting to do one that is more enjoyable or easier.
Like all poor decisions there are ramifications. Serious consequences including feelings of guilt and shame. It can also lead us towards a pattern of reduced productivity and failure to achieve our goals, thereby restricting us from “Becoming”.
Extended periods of procrastination can also lead to a complete lack of motivation, disillusionment and depression.
So how do we begin to realize if we are procrastinating or someone in our circle is in danger of earning the label of being a procrastinator? I’m glad you asked, here are some questions in which the responses could reveal the tell tale signs:
- Are you filling your day with low-priority tasks? Just doing busy work?
- Are you leaving an important or vital item or items unchecked on your to-do list for a long time?.
- Do you find yourself starting an important must do then wandering off to find a distraction?
- Are you waiting to be in “the right mood,” or the “perfect time” to get started?
Did any of those or all them (sorry GiGi), sound like you? Now let’s focus back on the path of “Becoming” and identify the three steps to overcoming procrastination.
#1: Recognize It
Realize and accept that you are procrastinating. Understand that this attitude can be overcome, and allow yourself to forgive yourself for past occurrences.
#2: Ask yourself, why am I procrastinating?
If you do not understand “why” then you can not begin to move past it. The answers here will be unlike any others. As individuals we need to take personal responsibility, accept our faults, acknowledge our strengths and determine why we may be choosing not to do right.
Are you bored? Afraid? Self-sabotaging? Allowing yourself to be overwhelmed? These are all conversation starters, but you have to have those discussions with yourself.
#3: Adopt New Strategies
Procrastination is a bad habit. Not a response, rather it is a well established negative pattern of behavior. Be overcome. Like the old adage, “bad habits only stop being bad habits when you stop doing them”.
An important first step, we’ve mentioned but it bears repeating. Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past. Self-forgiveness makes you feel better about yourself , allows you to accept a far more positive mindset and can greatly reduce the possibility of you procrastinating again in the future. Do not be a repeat offender! Free yourself now.
Focus on doing, not avoiding, or just trying to get by. In addition to tracking the tasks you need to get done. Schedule thm. Plan ahead. Hold yourself accountable, within measurable standards. On your daily to-do list include a time to have the item completed by.
Get an anti-procrastination buddy. Find someone who is willing to assist. Ask them to check in on you and aid in your accountability. Positive peer pressure works.
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Don’t put it off. Someday never comes and you are more than likely avoiding headaches by simply pushing through and doing it now, rather than later.
Consciously remove yourself from distractions. If you need background noise to focus, ensure it is just that. Something that can be on in the background and not something that will further remove you from your purpose (are you listening, GiGi?).
Change your internal dialogue. Talk with yourself like a coach or mentor would. Don’t dwell on previous failures. Forget about earlier mistakes. Always decide to take steps that are momentum building. Tell yourself your steps should always be forward and upward, not sliding backwards.
And last but certainly not least, give yourself a treat. Positive reinforcement works, just ask your dog. It is more than okay to reward yourself for progress made and change accepted.
In summation, we have learned that procrastination is a habit. A bad habit of regularly and intentionally deciding to put off important tasks. It is far different than being lazy, which is an unwillingness to act.
Procrastination restricts your potential, delays your life, disrupts the life of your family and leads to poor spirit and even depression. The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognize it. Then ask yourself why leading to the voluntary choice to adopt strategies to overcome it.
I hope we’ve been able to help. Identify if you or someone you love is a procrastinator as well as offer some assistance as to how it can be overcome and allow for continuation on this path of “Becoming Today”.