Have you ever experience this?
You arrive to work, you know you need to call someone, write a report, finish a presentation, but instead, you suddenly find yourself browsing the internet for more than an hour?
Or maybe you arrive home, you know you should clean your kitchen, but you find yourself watching TV until it´s too late to do it, so you agree it´ll be better to do it tomorrow.
If you ever experienced something like that, you are dealing with a devil called – procrastination.
In this article I am going to share with you 5 best strategies on how to easily beat procrastination, so you´ll never put away anything, that brings you nothing but more stress, anger, and disappointment.
But, first, you need to realize…
The good news is that you´re NOT a procrastinator.
I know, you may think I am crazy, since a few lines above I said, you have definitely a problem with procrastination.
Don´t worry, I am not crazy (yet).
You are not a procrastinator, you have a habit to procrastinate. Every habit consist of 3 parts:
When it comes to procrastination, the trigger is always stress.
You come to the work, you are stressed about the traffic, you find out you need to make 15 phone calls, you need to go to see a boss, and more and more…
Suddenly, with all this stress your brain has to make a decision.
A decision whether to deal with all of this – the HARD way. Or Postpone it, and do something different – the EASY way.
In the majority of cases, the brain always chooses the easy way. Why would you want to deal with all of these tasks, when you don´t have to, yet?
And the last part – a reward for you is a few minutes (or hours in some cases) without stress. Having fun, doing something more interesting.
This is how the habit loop looks like. And in the next part of this article, I am going to share with you 5 best strategies for breaking the cycle of procrastination once and for all.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you fail to plan, you´re planning to fail!”
And in procrastination, it´s more than 100% true.
What is the time, you´re most like to start to procrastinate? In the majority of cases, it´s when you feel uncertain. When you don´t know precisely, what to do, when to do it and why to do it. Your brain starts to think…
Let me give you an example:
One of the most frequent time for people to procrastinate is when they have to learn for a test. When I was in a high school and college, I´d rather do the dishes, throw off and then get back all my clothes from the closet, just to delay the moment, I´ll start to learn.
The mistake was, I didn´t have a precise plan where to start, what chapter is more important, how do I learn. Do I take notes? Do I read aloud? I had no idea.
For taking action your brain needs to see exact steps that lead to your goals.
It needs to see, that by following all those steps, I will 100% get what I want. And if you haven´t planned your goal-chasing process or your upcoming day, there is a high probability you are going to procrastinate most of your precious time.
…make a plan!
The second part is easy, but yet, not many people follow it. Visualize your day.
When you´re done planning your day, sit down, close your eyes and visualize it.
Try to be as specific as you can. Think about your morning routine, think about your first big task of the day, what are you doing, how do you feel, what might distract you and how you overcome it?
Simply by following these 2 rules: planning and visualizing your day specifically, you rapidly decrease your odds to procrastinate.
I like to do it the night before. Someone like to do it the morning, right after waking up. Actually, it´s also great to do it even in the middle of the day, when you start to think about putting away your tasks.
Please, don´t underestimate this step. Many people have a bad perception, that something so simple, can bring them so big results. The truth is, the simple solutions are always the best!
Nothing helps you more to NOT procrastinate than sharing it with someone else. It´s not a coincidence when you decide you´re going to start to go to the gym that the first advice trainer gives you, is to find a workout buddy.
One of a few things people want to do more, than putting away difficult things is to avoid public humiliation. They don´t want to be embarrassed in front of others.
We all know how it feels. No wonder you want to avoid it. So, why not make this BAD feeling to work for us?
Simply, tell someone your intentions.
Should you finish your presentation tomorrow? Well, tell it to your colleague, friend or your partner.
Should you go for a run tomorrow, but you know, you won´t be in a mood for it? Tell it to someone. Or even better, ask them to go with you.
In a recent winter, I started with cold hardening, which I highly recommend to you. It has a tremendous amount of benefits.
So, as I started, my friends start to do it with me. It was pretty easy to show up every time. They kept me accountable. I didn´t want to insult them, by not showing up. I didn´t want to look weak, or lack of integrity.
But, as soon as any of my friends weren´t available and I should go to harden all by myself, all kind of excuses started to come up. It´s a long ride, I don´t feel well today and so on and so on.
So, my suggestion to you is to always find a „training buddy“. Someone, who you could share your intentions and your plans with, which keeps you accountable, and don´t let you to rather starring at a wall, computer or blank piece of paper than doing what you suppose to.
When it comes to setting goals, I am a fan of setting smart goals. I think every goal should be:
Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bounded.
The reason for making this kind of goals is simple: To not become overwhelmed so you rather choose to give up.
But, the other side of those goals is that when you set really small goals, you are more willing to procrastinate, because your brain thinks:
That´s the reason, I always tell people to start with your BIG outcome. Something, what makes you start in the first place. And then, divide this goal into smaller, more actionable steps (a.k.a. SMART goals).
For some people, the big outcome is a vision of a new house, for some people, it´s seeing themselves as an Olympic winner, for others, it could be to help 1000 people all over the world.
When it comes to procrastination, BIG outcome keeps you on a track. So, when you have a devil´s thought of put away your task again, simply remember what´s your big payoff, and why did you start to pursue this goal in the first place.
Then, when you see how big it is, your brain quickly understands, you have no time for funny videos right now.
Remember, right now, you´re the youngest you will ever be.
Many people live their lives, as they´d live forever. Yet, life isn´t as long as many of us think. You, me, no one knows, how much time we all have.
And still, many times you choose to just waste time. This precious time, some people don´t even have. According to research, every year 100 million people dies. A lot of them are young, full of wasted opportunities.
I don´t want to be negative! I just want to show you, a realization that your time is limited.
When you think about it, and you realize…well, I am not going to live forever. I should spend my time wisely. Do something that matters. Spend my time with people I love.
The day, you´re willing to admit you already wasted so much time, that many people who were not so lucky would give anything for it, the procrastination won´t be so big problem for you anymore.
Tony Robbins once talked about his rocking chair exercise. And want you to try it:
Simply imagine, you are 85. You´re sitting in a chair, thinking about your life.
What do you see? Do you see a bunch of regrets? Bunch of wasted time and opportunities? Do you see a life full of happiness and gratitude or anger and sadness?
Simply by doing this exercise, you´ll realize what´s good in your life, what ´s bad, what should you change and what goals to pursue (if you need a step by step guide – here´s a Free training I created for people who want to reach their goals ASAP).
So, find 5 minutes right now, and simply imagine yourself sitting in this chair, and review your life. Do you see a lot of procrastination? If you do, use 5 steps from this article, and finally win your battle with procrastination once and for all.
Procrastination is a problem you, me, every single person on this planet deal with. Who says he/she ´s not, is just procrastinating to admit it. 😊
A great finding is, you´re NOT a procrastinator, you have just a habit to procrastinate. By understanding a „habit loop“ you can deal with procrastination more effectively.
But, it´s not enough. Your brain needs to see exact steps that lead to the desired outcome.
Yet, when we see it, we should have a person, who we share our plans with, who simply keeps us accountable and not let us choose the easy way, over the right way.
And last but not least, you´re not going to live forever. So, keep it in mind the next time when you´ll have an idea to waste time.
Unless you know exactly what your goals are, and how to get there, I am afraid you´ll be procrastinating.
If you don´t want this to be your case you can check out below, Free Training I created for people who want to step-by-step guidance for learning 4 necessary skills for reaching their goals without wasting any other minute.
Leave a comment below – What´s the BIG outcome that´ll keep you focused and helps you crush the procrastination once and for all?