Procrastination! It is probably one of my worst habits. I will know I have to do something and ignore it until it becomes this big knot in my chest. It makes me miserable, snappy and affects my overall mood in everything I do. Till the thing, I am procrastinating about is no longer the worst thing.
I put this thought to my audience on Instagram and 96% of people said they felt the same. Honestly, I was shocked so many people have the same traits. It made me feel a little better knowing I am not the only one but at the same time it didn’t make me ‘feel’ any better in my self.
Some of you sent me the funniest stories of repainting your entire fence instead of doing the washing up… something that arguably is far harder in terms of physical effort but still, it seems more appealing than the thing you are putting off and I get that!!
I redecorated an entire room instead of doing something that could have actually made me money – why….!!
Even hearing how many people had similar feelings the same tight anxious feeling still existed.
The below advice is an accumulation of the responses I received on my request for how best to avoid procrastination, there were too many good responses not to share, so I have put it together in a list for you along with the links:
Set Small Attainable Goals
Break the overwhelming looming scary task down into bite-size pieces can help with procrastination. For example, writing blogs (hello!) is something I really procrastinate over.
Breaking it down into bite size chunks works quite well for me:
- Come up with the title
- List the main points (3,5,7 whatever amount you want to include)
- Put it in a draft blog (even logging onto my website seems to be something I put off!)
- Fill out the post text
- Source and upload images
- Post the damn thing!
Lists and give yourself a deadline
Write a daily to-do list the highlight the 3 things that are non-negotiable for the day get those done first, anything else is a bonus and if it doesn’t get done it can be migrated to the next day, and the next until it does become the priority for that day.
Don’t overthink it
Just throw yourself in and you will be halfway done before you realise. The more you think about it the more reasons you will give yourself to slip into that procrastination habit.
If you lose focus it takes 20 min to get back into it.
If you get distracted realise it will take you some time to get back into the flow – embrace it make yourself a drink, take a deep breath and start again.
Realise you work under pressure
Now I know this one is true – I am definitely someone who works better under pressure.
Every Uni essay I had to submit would be started 24 hours before it was due and hey I got a 2:1 in Law so I can’t have done that badly with this technique.
But there are some things that have no physical deadline and so this method leads to elongated procrastination.
If there is no actual deadline and it is a self imposed action you need to take to move yourself forward in life this could be starting a diet or healthy lifestyle. Doing something in business etc. the under pressure thing doesn’t work because you don’t have a date.
However if you tell someone it could be a friend or family member or like me 30k instagram followers you can bet I am going to do the thing if that many people are watching!
It’s the reason I always used to record myself in timelapse cleaning my kitchen. The motivation of ‘people watching and judging’ spurred me into action.
Reward yourself with a treat
What is something you love, is it an episode of Netflix, a hot cup of coffee and a few pages of a book, a chocolate bar, or a glass of wine and a bath. Reward yourself for doing the damn thing.
Recommended Books for Procrastination
Recommended Podcasts for Procrastination
Lucy Orton – Self Sabotage to Success
Working with a coach on Procrastination
This is actually something I am about to do – I have booked in time with the lovely Fran Excell who I mentioned above! She is a fabulous, kind and caring coach.
However, choosing a coach is a super personal thing and it has taken me about a year of knowing and following Fran to get the confidence to finally book in!
If I was hit by a bus…
And lastly take things into persepective – as morbid as it seems if you were to die tomorrow are you going to regret not doing the thing… Somethings the answer will probably be nope.
However if its starting a new business, trying something new or sharing your passion with the world that your holding back from because of fear of failure… chances are there would be some regret there if you didn’t at least try it.
What is the worst that could happen – like really. You fail and go back to doing whatever you did before is that really the worst thing in the world (I’m writing this as if I don’t struggle with this) but it is worth thinking about!!
This is not my area of expertise but it was mentioned a few times so I felt it was worth including. Apparently procrastination can be a form of ADHD – check out @IAmPayingAttention for more information on this.
Before you go: I recommend watching this TedX talk by Mel Robbins about How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over