If you’ve found yourself putting off important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. In fact, many people procrastinate to some degree – but some are so chronically affected by procrastination that it stops them from fulfilling their potential and disrupts their careers.
According to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, a prominent writer on the subject, procrastination occurs when there’s “a temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” That is, when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.
Let me share tricks to help you deal with procrastination better
Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating
Prior to making changes to a behaviour or habit, you first need to recognize it. Here are some questions that will help you with that.
- Do you fill your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List?
- Do you read e-mails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them?
- Do you almost immediately go off to make a cup of coffee prior to starting a priority task?
- Do you leave important items on your To Do List for a long time?
- Do you wait for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand?
You’ve got the idea…
Step 2: Break it into small steps
Now that you’ve envisioned the task, dealt with what’s been holding you back and fixed your destructive thinking, it’s time to take the next step Decide when you’ll get started and figure out a game plan. Write it down, schedule it and commit to it.
Then draft a road map, plotting out each part of the task, including details such as where and when you’ll be working, who you will talk with and what you’ll talk about and how long you expect each part to take.
Step 3: Anticipate roadblocks and plan tactics to deal with them
Imagine challenges and obstacles that are likely to pop up along the way. For example, other projects with shorter deadlines might land on your desk. How will you tackle such challenges in order to keep moving forward with the big task at hand?
For every such scenario, have a tactic ready for sticking to your original plan. You may also want to find someone to support your efforts or to mentor you on a regular basis.
Step 4: Resist and be resilient
As you move through the task, you’re likely to experience obstacles in the form of excuses, bad moods and discouragement. This is where stubbornness comes in handy. Move on and continue to deal with any emotions that surface. Remind yourself that you can do this, and you’ll feel better once it’s handled.
Confronting your tasks and finishing them will simplify your work life. You’ll cured of paralysis by analysis. Your self-confidence will increase and you’ll get better and better at tackling tasks you perceived as unattainable.