Do you ever have to do something and can’t bring yourself to do it? Every time you even start to think about it, do you automatically think about something else? Do you ever find trivial things to do in order to avoid what you really need to do? Do you ever sit and stare at what you need to do, but can't bring yourself to do anything constructive toward starting?
Procrastination can creep into your life so gradually that you might not even notice it. It can start with you not doing some little thing because it just isn't the right time or you don't feel like doing it right now—and procrastination has a foothold. Then another thing comes along that you don't feel like doing and you put it off, too. Now you have two things, which by themselves might seem small, but together they’re big enough to create an area of "resistance" within yourself to finishing either of them.
If you continue to procrastinate on new items, which you don’t “feel” like doing, you risk becoming overwhelmed by the thought of starting any of them. Now you can’t face any of them.
You’re in the advanced stages of procrastination. Your energy level seems to drop whenever you’re in the vicinity of your unfinished tasks—it’s a major effort to begin any of the items—or you might find yourself looking for any excuse to avoid what you need to do and end up working on totally unrelated items.
Procrastination has taken over. You might feel helplessness, anxious, or guilty. It’s probably little consolation to know that millions of other people suffer from procrastination, too.
As a time-management expert, I’ve studied procrastination and have tested various techniques to deal with the phenomenon. Here’s a list of the most practical ways to get yourself focused and overcome procrastination.
1. Make a list of what you need to do. This will keep you organized and help you to see things in perspective.
2. Check over the list to see which items are most important and number them according to their urgency.
3. Give yourself time limits. Without a date, you’ll procrastinate.
4. If it’s a project, break it into small parts and focus on finishing the first part. By finishing part of the job, you have a momentum that will keep you going on the other parts of the project.
5. Reward yourself every so often when you finish something (don't overdo it).
6. Visualize the end result and keep yourself motivated by thinking about how good you’ll feel when you finally finish what you’ve been putting off.
7. Start. No matter what—start. If you have to make a phone call, pick up the phone. If you’re holding the phone and are ready to call, you're more apt to make the call than if you just sat there and thought about calling. If you need to write an email, put your hands on the keyboard and start to write. Don't wait for the brilliant thoughts to come pouring into your mind, just write something. After you write the first draft, you might find that it’s good enough for what you need. If not, at least you've got a momentum going and can edit your copy until it’s good enough for what the job requires. Quit waiting for the perfect moment—just start.
There you have it—some of the more valuable tips on how to overcome
procrastination. The rest is up to you.
Peter "TheTimeMan" Turla, www.TimeMan.com