Do you realize that it takes as much energy to avoid a task as it does to just do it? Procrastination is one of those things that we all fall victim to at one point or another. We know that it does not produce the result we want, it drains us of energy, but still, we find ourselves doing the same thing repeatedly. So, for those of us who want to stop procrastinating, how do you go about it, and what can be done to overcome the negative effects that procrastination can have on our lives?
I could give you a list of tips that will promise to change your life and promise that you will never procrastinate again if you stick to them. What I think is more powerful is understanding WHY you procrastinate. By understanding why you do something, you can better understand how to make the changes necessary to stop doing that action.
Why You Procrastinate
At the heart of it, procrastination is a habit- a bad habit. Like all of your other habits, it is controlled by your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious brain is the part of your brain that controls things that you do not think about. For instance, breathing is controlled by your subconscious.
When it comes to completing a task, your subconscious is also in control. Your conscious brain gives instructions and your subconscious is actually what carries out the instructions- crazy huh?
To beat procrastination, you need to realize that you cannot consciously decide to stop, you have to speak to your subconscious. In technical terms, this would be called programming your subconscious.
How To Program Your Subconscious
In order to do this, you need to tap into your WHY. Ask yourself:
- What will happen to me if I achieve this task
- What good will come to me?
- What will happen if that (from Q2) happens?
- What else will happen?
You see, your conscious and subconscious mind speak different languages. In order to tap into the subconscious mind, you need to connect an emotion to the task at hand.
In doing so, you will have more of a motivation to actually start doing than ever.
Now that you are actually motivated to start working on the task at hand, here are some tips to make the process a little bit easier.
1. Recognize Procrastination
Procrastination may manifest slightly differently in everyones lives. The end result is the same (inaction or delayed action), but the presentation can be different. I know that in my life, perfectionism is one of the ways in which procrastination can manifest. When I find these thoughts starting to creep in, I try to address it right away and stop it from taking over.
2. Make A List
Start by creating a to-do list with all of the things that you would like to accomplish. If there is a deadline that you will need to meet, it is often helpful to put a date next to each item. Also, you may choose to allocate an amount of time to work on that task.
PRO TIP: PLAN your day the night before. Categorize your to do list by MUST do, SHOULD do and NICE to do. Prioritize and do the most important task first.
We have made this so much easier for you by providing you with a FREE daily planner template that you can use to write down your to-do list.
3. Break Big Projects Into Smaller Tasks
Sometimes we procrastinate because we feel overwhelmed by a task. We feel that it may be too big to accomplish so we freeze and do not take any action whatsoever. By breaking down the process into more manageable tasks, you can move towards your bigger goal by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
4. Celebrate The Wins
I say this all the time, but one of the most important keys to success is to celebrate the small wins. Reward yourself with a nice meal, an episode of your favourite meal or anything else to reinforce how awesome you are for completing your task.
I hope that these tips help you to understand procrastination a little better. If you have any other tips that you use to beat procrastination, leave a comment below and let us know.