Instead of being lazy or disorganized, people usually put things off because they aren’t in the right mood to complete the task. Doing that places you firmly inside the procrastination cycle.
Since you’ve decided that you aren’t in the right mood to work, you distract yourself with other tasks — such as checking your email, checking the news, cleaning your desk, etc. — and by the time you come up for air, you feel guilty for having wasted so much time!
Tackling procrastination is a simple matter of taking control of your mood. With the right strategies in place, you can take the reins and get yourself in the mood to get things done. Here are some empowering ways that will help you to make this happen!
1. Figure out why you put things off.
When you aren’t in the mood to work, procrastination is telling you something important. It could be something simple, such as you need to take a break or get something to eat. It could also be something complex, such as you’re carrying the team on your back or you’re dissatisfied with your job. Whatever it is, instead of punishing yourself for procrastinating, take a moment to reflect and figure out why you’re procrastinating. This could end up being the most productive step you take in conquering your task.
2. Remove any obstacles.
Prior to getting started on a task, take a moment to carefully consider the obstacles that might get in your way. Then, develop a plan to ensure that they don’t. For example, you might have instructions for a task in your e-mail inbox, and if you don’t do anything about it, you’ll repeatedly go back to your inbox to look at them, only to get distracted by other incoming e-mails.
3. Get fully immersed, no matter what.
Sometimes it’s really hard to get started on something, even when it’s something that you love to do. You might be staring at a blank Word document or standing on the beach on a cold winter morning. That first step is difficult, but once you get going — typing that first paragraph or taking off on that first wave — your mood improves dramatically.
4. Break your big picture into smaller parts.
We often procrastinate because we feel intimidated by the size of a project. To minimize intimidation, try cutting holes in it. Find smaller pieces of the task that you can quickly and easily accomplish. Then the task becomes far more manageable!
5. Work in the right environment.
Even if you do everything else right, working in the wrong environment can make you succumb to procrastination. This means keeping yourself away from television, electronics, friends, and loud places. This isn’t what works for everyone, but you need to exercise discipline by working in the environment that’s right for you.
6. Celebrate your small victories.
There’s nothing quite like checking something off of your to-do list. To keep yourself from procrastinating, you need to experience this sense of accomplishment by tracking your progress carefully. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influences of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle challenges. This keeps you fired up and moving forward.
7. Get realistic about your goal.
Setting unrealistic goals for your day is a great way to become discouraged and to succumb to the negative moods that fuel procrastination. Setting realistic goals keeps things positive, which keeps you in the right mood to work.
8. Take control of your inside self-talk.
Saying to yourself, “I’m not going to procrastinate. I will not procrastinate,” virtually ensures that you will procrastinate. The trick is to shift your attention to something completely different (and positive). Instead of telling yourself not to procrastinate, think about what you will do and how great it’s going to feel to have it done. This way, your mind fixates on the action you want to take instead of the behaviour you’re trying to avoid.
9. Stop trying to be perfect.
Most writers for instance will spend countless hours brainstorming characters and plot, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the book. They do this because they know that ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and what we produce might not be any good.
10. Focus on results.
Don’t get swamped by the big picture! Don’t get averted from the path to creating your desired result! Concentrate on finishing what you want to achieve with the mentality of diligently succeeding with any challenging task!
While it may make you anxious to get started, don’t focus on that. Just think of how great it’s going to feel to get things done and how much worse you’ll feel if you wait until the last minute and don’t give it your best effort.Back to blog