10 Ways to kick the Procrastination Habit
Copyright © 2004 Julie Plenty
I recently read
about a survey (by the University of Chicago) which suggested that
those who relish challenge are more likely to live up to 10 years
longer than those who spend their lives inhibited by timidity.
Trying to realise our ambitions, even if we don’t always
meet them, is preferable to not having the courage or motivation to
take the risk. So not making any resolutions because we fear that
we’ll break them is having a defeatist attitude, as we allow
procrastination to become an insidious habit which stops us from
leading more fulfilling lives.
The following offers 10 ways to
kick the procrastination habit!
1. Personal values
development. Take the time to find out what you really want in life,
what your personal values are. Do you want more time, more money,
better health, greater self esteem and confidence, more fulfilling
relationships, a different career, set up a business? When we
procrastinate it’s often because what we are planning to do is not
really aligned with what we truly want. We may be scared of our
skills (or perceived lack of) or fear ridicule from others.
2. Make health a priority. Without good health we are less
likely to have the energy and dynamism needed to make positive
changes in our lives and it’s easier (and necessary if you’re very
ill) to procrastinate. So ensure that you have a nourishing diet,
sleep well, exercise and meditate. Incidentally, it is thought that
regular meditation helps delay the worst effects of the ageing
3. Visualise your life without procrastination. See
and feel the benefits in your life if you didn’t procrastinate. What
could you do and achieve? Begin to act as if you’re not a
procrastinator. Write down, draw, imagine your life as a film. Use
affirmations to help you.
4. Banish the Gremlin. That little
voice which runs on auto in your head – that dismisses any idea that
you might have. It says things like “I’m not in the mood” “I don’t
have time” “I can’t do this”. Stop running on auto, replace the
“should’s” “oughts” “have tos” with “want to” “desire”. You have a
choice. Acknowledge your choices and banish the Gremlin. Again,
using affirmations can help you replace the Gremlin with more
5. Overcommitment. Saying “yes” to
everything – often leaves you feeling tired and without the energy
to focus on what is most important to you. This leads to
procrastination as projects and tasks are dropped. Identify what is
most important to you and only focus on those areas which will make
the biggest difference to your life. It will enhance your focus and
6. Setting personal
professional goals. It’s hard to motivate yourself when you don’t
have a good idea of what you want to accomplish. So when setting
goals think about what you want to achieve in the short term and
long term. Techniques for doing so include the SMART strategy. S =
specific M = measurable A=
Action R = Realistic T = Time based. Use goal setting software to
help you in goal planning and setting.
7. Prioritize Your
Goals. Develop a plan or schedule to help you reach your goals. In
doing so you will begin to identify whether some elements need to be
included or enhanced or dropped completely. Also remember to be
flexible, revisit your goals regularly and modify or drop if
appropriate. Just because a goal is written down doesn’t mean that
it is set in stone!
8. Divide and conquer. Once you’ve
prioritised your goals, divide them into smaller chunks. Sometimes
we procrastinate because a project seems really large that the scale
of it overwhelms us and puts us into a temporary form of paralysis –
you don’t know where to start, so you don’t start at all! Approach
each project – especially large ones – on a step by step basis.
9. Reward yourself. Once you start to complete tasks, reward
yourself by giving yourself something that you want. So instead of
seeing a film before you complete a task, see it afterwards and make
it a reward for you.
10. Just get started. No excuses. Don’t
wait until you’re “in the mood”. The mood never comes! It is a
clever camouflage and a delaying tactic. What you resist persists!
Start with what is easiest, so that you experience immediate
success, which will give you the fuel and motivation to upgrade and
take on larger projects.
Do any of the above and you’ll be
well on your way to Kicking the Procrastination Habit. And if you’re
procrastinating over doing any of the above :.), then remember that
life is the biggest deadline of all!
Julie Plenty is a Personal and Business Coach who specialises in
coaching self employed creative professionals to live more creative,
fulfilled lives and increase the success of their business. To sign
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on her forthcoming book on Kicking the Procrastination Habit! visit:
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