Overcome Procrastination in 3 Easy Steps

We’ve all been there: a deadline looming yet you find yourself focused on anything except completing the task at hand. Procrastination isn’t laziness. Instead, it’s often “task aversion”, the act of avoiding a task because it’s painful or boring, etc. Everyone procrastinates. It’s how we overcome it that makes us efficient. So let’s look at the steps to overcoming procrastination.

Give Yourself a Break!

The first step is forgiving yourself for not getting the task done sooner. Lamenting about how you always procrastinate instead of getting to work is just procrastination. For some, putting off a task is the result of perfectionism and the fear of failing. If this is you, drop the all-or-nothing mentality and focus on progress instead of perfection. As a colleague says all the time; don’t let perfection get in the way of good.

Reframe It!

Now that you’ve forgiven yourself, time to put your procrastinating ways behind you by reframing the task at hand. It’s not as bad, scary, or boring as you think. I knew someone who did data entry all day. Instead of giving in to the dread of the work, she started timing how long it took her to enter in 100 sheets. She tracked her time and with each new batch, focused on doing this one even faster. When that got boring, she started tracking how coffee or food impacted her performance. By reframing the task as a challenge, she found a way to make the boring, exciting. You can too!

Another great reframe is to focus on the benefits from completing the task. If you’re putting off closing your books every quarter because you’re afraid of the big red number at the end of the spreadsheet, reframe the task. Instead of, “Let’s learn how close I am to shutting my doors,” make the outcome, “Let’s see how we’ve improved since last quarter so we know what to improve next quarter.”

Sometimes, you just have to accept that you won’t spend 100 percent of your time doing what you love. Think of an astronaut. These highly intelligent individuals just want to go to space. But how much of their career is actually spent in space? Sometimes, terrible tasks are the price you pay for doing what you love.

Get to Work!

With a better mindset and motivation, you’re ready to get to work. Avoid running into another case of procrastination by breaking up your delayed project into manageable sub-tasks. And schedule time, right on your calendar, right now, to get each of those sub-tasks done.

Be realistic with your schedule so you succeed. If you think it will take five working hours to complete a project, give yourself seven. And don’t sabotage yourself by scheduling these sub-tasks during a busy time, because you won’t do it which will make you feel even worse!

Procrastination itself isn’t bad, but it can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and more stress which increases health problems. Hopefully, with these three easy steps, you too can overcome procrastination.

By Andrew Patricio

June 11, 2018