How on earth have I reached the age of 45 and not achieved all the hopes and dreams I had as a young man? The simple reason is that I suffer from a condition which affects many of us called procrastination.
I’m sure you can think of times when there has been something important that you have needed to do – whether that’s something straightforward such as paying a bill or cutting the grass, or something important to your future like starting your own business. How many times did you grasp the nettle and do what needed to be done and how many times did you find an excuse to postpone the job and do something else instead?
While putting off cutting the grass might not have any significant impact on your life, putting off the important things is basically sabotaging your own success and happiness. If this sounds like you then now is the time to learn how to overcome procrastination.
The Problems With Procrastination
- Procrastination becomes a way of life if you don’t find ways to eliminate it. The more you keep putting things off the easier it becomes to keep making up excuses for inaction.
- Procrastination makes small tasks into big ones. Putting off cutting the grass means it will be even longer when you do actually cut it. If you have a deadline for completing a task and put it off for a day then you multiply the work you have to do on subsequent days.
- Rather than just getting on with a task, some people endlessly analyse what needs to be done. This creates negative thoughts about the task and you end up thinking that something is more difficult than it actually is.
When I started creating this blog I spent many days trying to decide what to do next and what new skills I needed to learn. I had a plan in mind at the start but I wasted time over-thinking technical stuff and ended up doubting that I could do it.
It’s Time To Stop Procrastinating!
So how do we deal with procrastination and stop it derailing our plans
- Define the importance of a task. You need to know why any task needs to be done and importantly – what benefits you will get from achieving it. Create a mental picture of how things will look when the task is done to motivate you. You will start to associate the completion of the task with a feeling of pleasure
- Be decisive. As soon as you start thinking of alternatives to starting your task you need to make a firm commitment to take action and get started. You will often find that by starting a task that it’s not as difficult as you thought.
- Program your thinking with action words. If you think of a task as something that you “could do” or “might do” then you are subconsciously leaving open the door to “not do”. Instead think of a task as a “must do” or “want to”.
- Take action! You have probably heard expressions such as “a journey of 100 miles starts with a single step”. This is a great way to help with overcoming procrastination. Just stop thinking about the task and make a start on doing it. This can often create an unstoppable momentum which carries you through to successful completion.
Procrastinators never achieve anything so don’t allow yourself to be one. When you commit to starting a task and working through it you will often be surprised at how easy it was and wonder why you were even worrying about it!