Do you find yourself procrastinating when you should be getting things done?
It’s amazing how creative we can get when there’s something that really needs to be done but we don’t really want to do it. Suddenly checking facebook becomes irresistable, the random programme on the television becomes fantastically interesting, or you realise the fridge really does need to be cleaned out. Anything to avoid doing the thing that’s really on your mind.
There are several reasons why we procrastinate, and getting to the bottom of these reasons is often the first step in helping us get past that procrastination.
One reason for procrastination is overwhelm. When the job seems too big and we don’t know where to start, it’s definitely easier to just avoid it altogether. If that’s the case, breaking it down into manageable pieces and identifying the first small step you need to take is crucial. Sometimes that first step is not even to do with the task itself, but in getting things in place so that the task can be done. For example, it might be about blocking out some time to do it uninterrupted, or buying equipment that’s needed to do the job properly.
Procrastination can also occur because we really dislike the activity, and sometimes the best way to combat that is to change your plan altogether. For example, you could beat yourself up over the gym membership you are not using, or you could question yourself as to whether you actually like going to the gym or not. If the answer is no, then the best thing you could do for yourself is find another form of exercise you do like, instead of trying to make yourself do something you really dislike or are not interested in.
Sometimes though, we dislike the activity, but we can’t change it, and it really does need to be done. If that’s the case, I recommend considering what would make it more enjoyable. Getting someone to help you? Turning some music on? Rewarding yourself for getting it done? Sometimes adding in a little bit of fun is all that’s needed to spur yourself into action.
So next time you find yourself procrastinating, instead of beating yourself up about it, ask yourself some good questions instead. What is it that’s stopping you taking that action? What is it that needs to change so that you could feel good about doing it? If it’s something you’ve done and enjoyed in the past but are putting off now, what’s different about now? What was it about that activity that you enjoyed so much in the past, and how could you create that again?
When we get to the cause of what’s holding us back, we have the power to decide what to do about it. We often think we must be lazy or that we lack willpower, but more likely is that we just haven’t got everything lined up in the right way, and when we figure out how to line it up differently, taking the action we want to take can become a whole lot easier.