I’m a Big Fat Procrastinator!
As a life coach, I probably shouldn’t admit this to you, but I made a commitment to be transparent so here it goes…are you ready? I am a procrastinator. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t catch that? I’M A BIG FAT PROCRASTINATOR!! It is something I have struggled with my entire life and something I have only been able to overcome in small spurts. The roll I was on has come to an end and Procrastination is rearing its big, ugly head. I don’t know why I do this to myself.
I know what it looks like to schedule my day and manage my time. I know the freedom I feel when I am completing tasks and following a routine. The payout is always greater than the sacrifice and the stress and anxiety that comes with procrastination is never worth it in the end. So, I have perused old journal entries, coaching sessions and self-help books to remind myself that procrastination can be overcome. Here are just a few ways to help you get started:
Work Backwards: Visualize the end result you desire. Whether it’s a project for work or an organized closet, close your eyes and see it. See every detail. Now, what feelings fill you up as you envision your completed project? Success, freedom, accomplishment, pride… whatever they are for you, hold onto them—anticipate the achievement you are striving for. It will help motivate you as you take your first steps toward the finish line.
Take small bites: In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Be realistic. This right here is the number one thing aiding in my personal procrastination. It’s as if I think I need to save the world in one day to be successful. You and I both know that isn’t the case. By setting our expectations too high we can easily become overwhelmed and walk away entirely. If the task you are procrastinating is daunting to you, take a step back and figure out why. Maybe you need to break it down into smaller tasks, or maybe you need to enlist some help. Either way, don’t let the enormity of a project or goal stop you in your tracks. Continue to find ways to work toward your goal, and be willing to break your large goal into smaller more attainable ones. Just like climbing a ladder one rung at a time, eventually you will make it to the top but you won’t be able to do it in one leap.
Hold yourself accountable: Whether I tell the whole world or one close friend, it always helps to know that someone is expecting me to follow through. But remember: at the end of the day you are in control of your destiny, no one else. At some point, you are going to have to toughen up and hold yourself to the standard you are capable of. Don’t sell yourself short. A little faith in yourself can go a long way. (I need this reminder regularly)
Start somewhere: Make a list, write out your goals, create a timeline or jump right in. Whatever works best for you, take the first step and run with it. When I am really stuck in procrastination quicksand, I tell myself I am going to go full steam ahead for one hour– do as much as you can in one hour. If at the end of that hour you are ready to stop, call it good. But, usually, once the hour is up the procrastination monster is slayed and I am in full blown work mode. Never underestimate the power of an hour.
When you hit a slump: Take a break. Regroup. Look at the project through different eyes (a coworker or close friend may see things you’ve missed or point out beauty lost on you because you’ve been looking at it for too long). We all need a little outside perspective sometimes to be sure we are on the right track and to pat us on the back when we’ve done a good job.
There are so many more ways of overcoming procrastination, but these are the four I go to first. These steps always push me towards accomplishment and break the procrastination habit when I apply them. And that is the key—you’ve got to start somewhere! So, pick a step, take a step and GO!
To your success!