September 23, 2015

Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination

What is procrastination and how to overcome it?

Procrastination is not just something you ‘should’ overcome, it is something you must overcome if you want to be successful. All successful people understand how important it is to beat procrastination.

Wayne Gretzky, one of the most successful hockey players of all time, said, “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases, and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” In short, if you want to live your ideal life full of happiness and satisfaction, work towards overcoming it starting right now.

Why Procrastination Occurs

To put it simply, we procrastinate because there are other things we would rather do. Every moment we choose what we want to do, and the activity with the highest payoff for the moment often wins. It may be laying on the couch, it may be spending hours on Facebook, or it may be accomplishing a task that moves us towards our goals.

Some people think that procrastination occurs because of laziness, but in truth, we put off tasks we think we should do but don’t really feel excited about doing. Therefore, one of the biggest reasons we put off tasks is because of our emotions, not laziness.

Unfortunately, when we procrastinate on stuff that we really need to get done, we end up feeling stressed out, which can easily have a negative impact on our goals. That stress can also cause you to do poorly on the task you need to do, beat yourself up about it, lower your self-esteem, and ultimately cause you to give up on your goals. That is why it is so important to overcome procrastination.

Is Your Procrastination Trying To Tell You Something?

As odd as this sounds, I want to start off by saying that recognizing the desire to procrastinate can sometimes be a good thing for your goals. It can help you avoid wasting time on goals you don’t really want to achieve and, instead, focus on goals that will really make you happy.

For instance, if you are procrastinating on certain tasks for a certain work goal, then there may be something more going on than just finding something better to do. Your intuition may be telling you that the goal you are trying to reach is not actually something you want to reach.

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How can you know for sure? The trick is to be totally honest with yourself or this has the potential to turn into an excuse.

For instance, not exercising every day could easily be seen as a desire not to get healthier, but, that’s probably not true. On the other hand, not wanting to study for a certain class that you thought you should take, or write a new post for a blog that you thought might do well, may indicate that the end goal is not something you actually want to achieve.

If It’s Not Your Intuition, Take A Look At Fear

Fear and procrastination go hand-in-hand, but if you don’t recognize that you are really scared, then you can’t overcome the fear to overcome the procrastination. So, it’s important to decide if fear is the reason you are not doing what you know you should be doing.

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Ask yourself the following questions:

– Am I scared that my life will change too much?
– Am I scared that other people will judge me?
– Am I scared that it will be uncomfortable?
– Am I scared that I will fail?

If you think that fear is the issue, there are a number of ways to overcome it. Following are just a few you can try.

1. Visualize The End Goal

Visualize your end goal and the happiness you will feel when you experience it. Visualize how proud you will be of yourself and how proud other people will be of you. Feel the happiness and the excitement around achieving your goal, and let those positive emotions motivate you to take the next step towards it.

2. Visualize Yourself Overcoming Your Fears

Sometimes the fear of one task can override the positive outcome, so you have to tackle that one task before you can move forward. Again, visualization can help you see things in a different (and less scary) light.

For example, if a task requires you to talk to someone you’ve never talked to before, and that is so far out of your comfort zone that it terrifies you, then stop thinking about everything that could go wrong. Instead, visualize the conversation going smoothly and the outcome being great, no matter what happens. Allow yourself to be OK with whatever happens, and see yourself continuing to move on despite the outcome.

3. Recognize That Fears Are Often Unfounded

Many times we fear something that will never come true. In hindsight, nothing is really as bad as it seemed it would be. By remembering past times where you have experienced this lesson in fear, you may be able to see the potential a scary task may have.

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Tackle Overwhelming Situations

Sometimes fear is not really the culprit. Sometimes things are just too overwhelming and it becomes easier to do nothing than to do anything at all.

In that case, you need to take a look at how much you have on your plate and remove some of the tasks that really don’t serve you and your goals. Do this by listing out everything you need to do, and then deciding what is most important to move you towards your goals in life.

If you find that your list is still too overwhelming, it may be time to outsource some of your tasks to other people. Enlist the help of professionals, friends, or family who can help you tackle some of the tasks you must do.

Also, you may be trying to do too much at once towards your goals, so by breaking down tasks into smaller tasks, you will be less overwhelmed and more likely to tackle each step quickly and enthusiastically.

Go To Bed Feeling Accomplished

If all else fails, and you still find yourself procrastinating, it’s time to decide that you want to live each day feeling accomplished. The only way to do that is to do what you need to do, despite how much you would rather be doing something else.

There is nothing worse than going to bed feeling as though you didn’t make the most out of your day. Remember, you only get so many of these days to do things that make you happy. You only get so many days to contribute to this world! Keeping those simple truths in your awareness will help you stay motivated to accomplish your daily tasks no matter what happens.

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