Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Tricks For Procrastinators

No irony intended when I confess to procrastination over finishing this blog. It is a beautiful autumn day and I would really prefer to be outside. However I did recognise what was going on and struck a bargain with myself to knuckle down and put words to paper in order to get done and out into the sunshine.
It seems to me that we give procrastination a bad wrap at times, as if by procrastinating we are being wasteful, frivolous or not disciplined. Instead when I notice myself procrastinating over a task I try to use it as an opportunity to get to the WHY of it.

Can you identify with any of these reasons I have noticed?

  • I’m not sure of the steps to take with the task, or the next step seems a bit scary or boring or hard
  • I don’t believe in my skill or ability to tackle the task
  • I anticipate it will be complicated or take too long
  • I am not really clear what I want as the outcome of the task.
  • Someone else has handed me the task and either all of the above or I don’t want to do it/ don’t believe it is necessary.
  • I’m not emotionally ready for the next step
  • I’m lacking in energy or motivation, either generally, or for the task
  • I’m feeling physically tired or unwell
  • I’ve a feeling something is not right – maybe it doesn’t fit with my values or morals
  • I don’t have all the information I need just yet.

Sound familiar?

Sometimes procrastinating for me is a sign to clarify my understanding of my priorities and my boundaries.

So once I have explored what is behind my procrastination, and decided the task does need to be done, how do I  move into action?

Here are some tips you might like to try.

  1. Set aside some time for the task – it is hard to use the excuse to put it off if you have allocated time for it.
  2. EAT THE FROG – prioritise the task and keep taking bites out of it until it is done (have you ever noticed how once you stop avoiding a job it gets done much more quickly than you expect?)
  3. Break down all the steps that are required and estimate time for each step.
  4. Ask for help for the steps you don’t know
  5. Sneak around it – choose the bits you know how to do, and often the task shrinks and becomes less overwhelming.
  6. Change your mental language – “this is challenging”, rather than “this is hard” or “I can tackle the first part now” rather than “I don’t have time for all this”
  7. Incentivise it with a reward for accomplishing each step or the whole task.
  8. Take a break, deliberately! If you are too mentally or physically tired to tackle the task, take a break and come back to it later. (yes I know that sounds like procrastinating too, but don’t beat yourself up – it is really self-care)

Now I’ve overcome my procrastinating and hopefully given you some useful information, which is the whole point of my blog, I’m off to reward myself with a cuppa in the sun.