One of the biggest factors in getting things done for many people is the struggle with procrastination. Procrastination, according to the dictionary means: “The action of delaying or postponing something.” When you read that definition, doesn’t it strike you as interesting? The word “action” should mean something. When you procrastinate, you’re taking an action, an action that sabotages your ability to do a good job. Why not take action toward success instead and stop procrastination before it hits?
1. Understand and Identify Perfectionism
Many people self-sabotage through procrastination due to wanting everything to be perfect. The problem is that perfect doesn’t exist. The best thing you can do is to do your best on something, but get it done. Done is always better. People who are successful aren’t better than you; they just got it done.
2. Improve Your Self-Esteem
A big issue with chronic procrastinators is lack of self-esteem. Building self-esteem requires that you believe in yourself and ensure that the internal voices are positive. Tell yourself that you can do it. It’s bad enough if you have outside influences that are degrading your worth. Don’t allow yourself to be your own bully and stop procrastination by giving yourself some grace and realize that if someone else can do it, so can you.
3. Move through Self-Doubt
Many times procrastination happens because you are questioning yourself and whether or not you’re the right person to do it. You genuinely feel as if you’re not educated enough, or smart enough, or the right person for the job. But, you’ve been chosen or decided to do something for a reason; you may as well do it and learn as you go. Most people learn as they go, even surgeons.
When you have things to get done, turn off all unneeded outside influences such as the TV, social media, and your phone (airplane mode is your best friend!) other than some sort of emergency. Check for messages every 90 minutes during the day and then turn that do not disturb mode on again and get to work. Most of the time there is nothing you can do in a true emergency anyway.
5. Get Moving
Sometimes if you’re feeling like procrastinating on something, you need a change of scenery. Or if that’s not possible, you need a burst of energy. The best way to accomplish this is to get up and move around. Take a brisk walk outside, jump up and down, swing some kettlebells, or turn on some music and dance for five minutes. Then get back to work with a timer requiring you work for a certain time before you stop.
6. Create a Realistic Schedule
Some people procrastinate because their schedule is not realistic and they’re exhausted. Be honest with what you can accomplish in a given day. People are so busy these days, especially if you have children in after-school activities, elderly parents, or other issues causing havoc in your day. Be realistic; put everything in your schedule so that you really know what you’re up against.
7. Put It in Your Calendar
Once you have everything written down that you need to do, put it in your online calendar (I love Google calendar which syncs with my iPhone calendar). Everything, including downtime, should be scheduled for the procrastinator. If you have a night-time routine such as showering, shaving, brushing and reading, put that in your schedule too.
8. Set Up Reminders
Most electronic calendars have the ability to set up reminders and alarms. This can be very helpful to many procrastinators because you know that when that alarm goes off you can do something else. That makes doing the stuff you don’t want to do so much easier to get through because you get to do something else soon. I set alarms for practically everything now and that alarm tone helps me transition into the next things I need to do. Trello, one of my favorite project management systems has the ability to set due dates and recurring notifications via email, so that’s been a game changer in my business and my life!
9. Be Accountable
It can help to find an accountability partner to assist you with procrastination issues. Set up a way to check in with someone each week to discuss whether or not you accomplished the things you set out to accomplish. This can be a friend, a mentor, or a paid coach. Members of the Making it Pay Lifestyle Course get daily reminders and check-ins on progress plus weekly coaching calls if they have questions. It’s a great way to surround yourself with a mentor (me) and like-minded people (the other course members) who can relate to what you’re going through and help you stop procrastination!
10. Reward Yourself
When you get through a day doing everything on your list, give yourself a reward of some sort. You can earn points and cash in the points to do something fun. It’s better to have an experience such as a massage or manicure than to reward yourself with food, so choose something that will nourish your body and mind!
Procrastination is often really just a sign of believing you need to be perfect, fear of judgment and doubt that you can do it right. When you set up your day to overcome those internal issues, you can stop procrastination in its tracks!