22 Feb OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION
People don’t want to procrastinate. The reality is that procrastination is one of the top reasons why people struggle with time management. We can design our time but executing the plan can be a challenge when we want to get things done. When procrastination kicks in, we find ourselves doing other things rather than the item that was scheduled or needs to get done. The real question is how to get things done when you don’t feel like it when you feel overwhelmed or are just not motivated? How do you overcome procrastination and “make” yourself do the things you “should” be doing?
The brain actually fights against words like “should” so how do we turn a “should” into a “want”. We have the intention, desire, and need to do it, but our bodies and minds are not in gear! How do we help ourselves?
People don’t want to procrastinate.
The first step to stay motivated is, to begin with, the end in mind. Consider WHAT you are aspiring to accomplish, WHERE it will take you and WHY you are doing it. When we are clear on the results we are aiming for it is easier to stay motivated. Following through on the task defines us and supports our inner desires. Sometimes it helps to write it down and keep it in front of you. When we are in choice, we do things not from forcing but because we are on a mission. There is an intentional purpose and outcome we are shooting for. When we are in this solution and visionary state, our brain doesn’t fight rather it stays open to possibilities, ideas, and solutions.
Once you get that project and purpose in mind you can move forward with creating some structures to support you to follow through and GET IT DONE! Different things work for different people, of course, however, a general rule of thumb is to use structures to support staying on track and getting things done.
Three ways to create external supports to aid in staying on track.
- Space. Space is about your environment around you. A common way that people procrastinate is organizing (my personal favorite). They might be going through emails and deleting them, they might be doing filing, they might be cleaning, or whatever. If you keep your space neat and organized, you will do better with procrastinating because that won’t even be an option. The fact is that when you have clean and clear spaces around you, you are less distracted, you can be more focused, and get more done. Whether you are a neat freak or not, cleaning your space is going to help you be more productive and to get things done. If you can’t get your space clean, go to an area that is not messy or crowded, maybe the kitchen table. This is often why people go and work at coffee shops or libraries. There is nothing on the table but what people bring, so the space supports them to focus and not distract themselves, aka procrastination.
- People. Accountability is a really big deal. It is why we have trainers and workout buddies. When we get together with someone, whether it is to work out, to write, to do a project, or whether it is, we can get that done much more easily. People can be a great designed environment to help you do what you want to do. Scheduling a meet-up or even if it is just a call to start a task at the same time with a 30-minute check-in can be effective (ie doing cold calls, writing a proposal, making a challenging call, etc.). People can serve as physical or emotional accountability. This support is priceless and helps to keep us on track
- Energy. Energy is our fuel. When we have energy, it is easier for us to accomplish the things that we don’t feel like doing. When we are happy, excited, or motivated, it is much easier to get that hard task out of our way. Do things that get you in your energy zone.
- To help fight procrastination, use energy creating things like:
- Enjoying a favorite coffee
- Sitting in your favorite chair
- Listening to a motivational video, book or podcast
- Working out
- Listen to upbeat or power music
- Positive mantras or reviewing your goal and purpose
- Mindfulness or meditation to get centered and focused
Consider what gives you energy and do these things before a hard task.
Lastly, know and watch out for your procrastination mode. Often we don’t actually realize when we are procrastinating. If you can notice what you do to procrastinate, you can better get out of it before you have wasted your whole day! For me, I often clean, organize and eat. When I start doing those things excessively I know I am avoiding doing what I need to be doing (i.e. cleaning the supply closet).
Once recognizing that you are in a procrastination mode, ask yourself, “What am I procrastinating about? What is it that I really need to do that I’m avoiding doing?” Typically, it would be that goal, so you can review WHY it matters, WHAT you need to do, and what would help to get over the hurdle. Sometimes we have done great getting started, but we hit a spot of overwhelm and then start procrastinating midstream. When this happens just start at the top again with your focus and purpose and work to design structures around things that might be getting you distracted or off track! Know what you need to achieve, create some supports with the right space, people and energy and GET IT DONE!