What is ProcrastinationProcrastination is defined as "to postpone needlessly". The key here is the word
Why do I ProcrastinateDifferent people procrastinate for different reasons and all of us do it to one degree or another. Here are some of the many reasons for procrastination:
- Fear of success
- Fear of failure
- Fear of doing something new
- Fear of change
- Fear of looking incompetent
- Poor ability to estimate the time different tasks require
- Dislike of the task
- Desire for immediate gratification
- Resistance or fear of authority
For the majority of people, procrastination doesn't drastically affect their success or their quality of life. However, a small percentage of all people procrastinate on nearly everything they have to do, using it as the default method of living. No matter what the task at hand, they put it off for later. These people are called trait procrastinators and they live in a constant state of backlog, almost never addressing any task or challenge until it becomes an impending crisis.
Overcoming ProcrastinationThe first step to changing a habit is becoming aware of when you're doing it. It is easy to know when you're putting something off because chances are you feel slightly guilty when you do it. Noticing when you procrastinate is as easy as being aware of what you are thinking and the language that is running through your head all the time.
The language that you hear constantly running in your head is called your self-talk. We all have it and you can't stop it from being there. It creates and fuels whatever beliefs you hold about yourself and life in general. If your self-talk says you are shy, you'll be shy. If your self-talk says you're confident, you'll be confident. So taking control of your self-talk lets you change your beliefs and, therefore, change your behavior, which changes your life.
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5 Simple Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done
Along with noticing the language of your self-talk, there are also physical and mental strategies to help you overcome the procrastination habit. Between changing your self-talk and using a combination of mental and physical tactics, even a long-time procrastinator can see improvement in their effectiveness.
Use these strategies to combat procrastination:
1. Begin to listen to and notice the words that are in your head—otherwise known as self-talk. It's these self-talk tapes that play over and over in your head that determine your success. If you have a tape playing that is negative and tells you to procrastinate, you must recognize it and change the language. When you hear your tape say, "I'll do that later," you must immediately hear it, stop the thought, and challenge that voice with something positive to break the cycle. Say something like, "No, we'll do it now so we don't have to worry about it later!" Say it aloud if you must, but the important thing is to notice the old tape, stop it as it is speaking, and replace the old thought with new and powerful language.
2. Step outside of yourself and talk yourself into completing the project. Vocalize to yourself as you would to a friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend who was putting something off. If your friend were procrastinating on this task, what would you say to him or her? Using this technique with yourself will help you step outside of yourself and see the situation objectively.
3. Vividly imagine the feeling you'll have when the task is done. Use your imagination this time, not to visualize, but to imagine the feeling you'll have when the task is finished. Creating the emotional feeling of being finished will help spur you into action because you'll be motivated to have that feeling again.
4. Visualize yourself doing the task easily and quickly. Your mind is very powerful. Close your eyes and actually see yourself easily, quickly, and happily completing whatever task you are putting off. Creating this picture in your mind prepares you to make the results happen.
5. Negotiate a reward for yourself after the task is completed. If you are motivated by rewards, negotiate a reward for yourself after you finish the task. It can be anything that motivates you, such as a half-day at the park or an expensive lunch. Choose something that gets you fired up as a reward to motivate yourself to receive that reward.