Take a look at your to-do list, or your project list, or your wish list, or your calendar, or anywhere you have tasks written down. How many of those have you procrastinated on beginning?
My guess – at LEAST one task!
The reasons we procrastinate are numerous. Maybe fear of success. Possibly fear of failure. Could be the task doesn’t align with your values and goals. Often, we procrastinate because the task seems overwhelmingly large and complicated. We just don’t know where to start – so we don’t!
How can you stop procrastinating? Follow these three simple steps:
AWARENESS: Stop. Take a few moments to think and answer these questions:
- WHY have you been putting off this task?
- If you had unlimited resources and time, what would prevent you from starting?
- What would be possible if you did complete the task? Does this answer jazz you? If not, the task may just not be that important to you.
- In order to get started, what’s the first step you need to complete?
WORK: Now that you have an understanding of WHY you are procrastinating, start to create some strategies to overcome this obstacle.
- If the task no longer in line with your values and goals, can you delegate the task to someone else? Can you renegotiate the terms? Maybe you can complete a part of the task instead of all of it.
- Perhaps the task seem too large in scope to ever finish. Break it down into small, easy to complete action steps. The smallest step possible. “Finish Presentation” is not an action step. “Create outline of talking points”, “source graphics”, “create spreadsheet” – THESE are action steps.
- Is it fear? Use a support person to talk through the fear. What’s possible if you finish? What’s possible if you don’t? What structures will you need if you are widely successful? What support will you need if you fail? Identify these structures and support and put some in place.
EVALUATION – After completing your project, evaluate your progress. What’s different now? What else is possible? What changes do you want to continue to make in the future? Maybe you decide that you will no longer agree to take on certain projects. Possibly you add a project worksheet to your resources to help you break down bigger projects in the future. It’s important to realize that the success you experienced when finishing this project can be built on for the future – as long as you know what you did!
Let the momentum of success keep you moving so you don’t revert to procrastination. Now you have the tools – use them!