Procrastination has been a pain point for almost half of my clients to date...
It's extremely difficult to get out of the mode of procrastination and almost impossible to be happy with yourself when procrastinating.
To put it simply...the more you procrastinate, the more unhappy you become.
Procrastination can be easily defined as lack of action. Inaction equals passive behaviour and passive behaviour signals lack of control in our lives. And it's at that point that we feel powerless, we feel like a failure.
There are two main factors that lead to procrastination...fear and lack of motive.
Fear-infused procrastination is simply a colourful representation of lack of confidence, lack of belief in our strengths and a lack of recognition of our capacity to achieve. It can, however, also be a fear of success, in which case we either don't want people to expect even more from us in the future when we succeed, or we don't want them to distance themselves because they feel inferior to us. In either case, we self-sabotage.
Lack of motivation comes from a lack of fulfilment with our current state in our lives. We simply don't feel accomplished or satisfied by choices, future options, possessions or people in our lives. We don't feel happy! So, in other words, the more unhappy you are, the more you procrastinate.
So, to make it a bit clearer...the more you procrastinate, the more unhappy you become,
and the more unhappy you are, the more you procrastinate. It's a vicious cycle!
Now for the important stuff...how do you escape it?
Break your daily tasks into small, doable tasks: Trying to get too many things done or looking at the big tasks that need to be completed all at once will only get you overwhelmed and will make you avoid taking action. Make sure you break what is in your to-do lists into actionable, small tasks. Then start tackling them one at a time.
Learn to prioritise first thing in the morning: Practise prioritisation and make it part of your routine. Sure, everything is important, but not everything is equally important and/or equally urgent. Set your criteria and follow them every single time you decide which task should be completed first.
Pick short term tasks from a long term tasks list: Try this technique to help you stay focused... ACTIVITY: Grab a piece of paper and split it in two areas by drawing a line in the middle. Label the left hand side "All goals" and create a list underneath of all the things you need to accomplish in the short and in the long term. Label the right hand side "Today's Tasks". Every morning pick one item from the "All Goals" List and move it to "Today's Tasks". That -and that only- item becomes the one thing you need to tackle on a given day.
Do something you didn't mean to do: When feelings of overwhelm, laziness or stagnation find you, make sure you continue to do things. Do absolutely anything that can be considered a little task. It could just be loading the dishwasher or cooking a nice meal. Being active and achieving little things can change our perception of how we feel at a given moment tremendously and it gives us confidence and energy to move on to another task.
Change your physiology: Get up, dance, move, smile, stretch, exercise or jump up and down for no reason. Physiology is, in simple terms, the way your body functions. Your physiology determines pretty much your entire day's mood and therefore decisions and actions. A positive posture, a smile, a giggle or an active body bring out more positive energy and helps you release endorphins - those little polypeptides that leave you feeling happier and less stressed.
Forgive yourself: Don't be too harsh on yourself. Learn to forgive yourself more. Recognise when you're just having a bad day. Bad days happen to everyone and they are certainly not a reflection of what you are capable of doing. Learn to accept them and move on.
Reward yourself: For whatever you achieve, small or big, celebrate. Take a moment to recognise the effort you put in to achieving a task and don't hesitate to feel proud of yourself for doing so. Set yourself a small prize you're allowed to have once you have achieved a goal. Having a motivation, in the type of a reward, can change our thought process and can help keep us on our toes. So, make sure you buy yourself a little present, you book a nice night out or a beautiful holiday for you (for those hard tasks you complete)!
And above all, remember...Never put off 'til tomorrow what may be done today just as well!