Ten sure ways to beat procrastination
The lawn sat there accusingly, waiting to be cut. It refused to go away or cut itself.
The pile of bills sat there waiting to be paid. They wouldn’t pay themselves, and certainly didn’t do any self-filing.
All procrastination is avoidance. Procrastination is a supposed coping strategy to help us face the future. However, as we know, procrastination can make the future worse rather than better. The long grass eventually clogged up the lawn mower. The black bills turned into red demands.
Here are 10 ways to help you beat procrastination:
1. Do something small if the big is too big. Commit to paying one bill if you can’t commit to doing the whole pile. Break the big into smaller, achievable tasks. Building a house can seem daunting, but laying one brick at a time is manageable.
2. Have a graded list of easy to more difficult tasks, and start with the easy ones.
3. Do something short if the big is too long. Commit to doing something for just five minutes. The most difficult part is starting and it is easier to start if you can see an end in sight, and five minutes isn’t too long to do something.
4. Reduce the time between now and starting. Start straight away, or as soon as possible. Delay just gives you time to exaggerate the difficulty.
5. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Just do it, regardless of feeling. You may never feel like it.
6. Don’t use any past failures as a reason for not trying again. Just forgive yourself, and move on.
7. If possible, change your environment. Move to a different room. Decide to write the letter in your favourite coffee shop.
8. Be realistic about the consequences of not doing what you need to do. Don’t minimise the consequences of inaction.
9. Don’t exaggerate the difficulty of what you are avoiding. It really isn’t that bad.
10. Create an unbreakable rule. Not: “I will cut the grass when necessary.” Rather: “I will cut the grass at 9:00am every Monday from April to October.”
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About James Rye
James Rye MA (Counselling) has been in private practice since 1997 and has worked with thousands of people who are struggling to move forward and change aspects of their life.