Most everyone procrastinates. However, some of us are better at dealing with procrastination than others. You’re not alone if you procrastinate. The people who get things done are more effective at minimizing procrastination. You don’t have to remain a master of procrastination. You can choose to be a master of productivity!
Facts about procrastination (according to Psychology Today)
- 20% of people identify themselves as procrastinators
- procrastination is a form of self-sabotage
- procrastination can become a profound problem with self-regulation
- procrastination is not a time management problem, it’s a self-image problem
- procrastinators are made, not born. Procrastination is often learned from our family of origin, it’s often a response to an authoritarian parent and it can be a form of rebellion.
There are 3 types of procrastinators
- Arousal Types: thrill-seekers who leave things to the last minute and get a rush from cramming
- Avoiders: those who avoid fear of failure (or success), they worry about what others think of them and prefer to be seen as someone who lacks effort vs someone who lacks ability
- Decisional: those who can’t make a decision. By not making a decision, we absolve ourselves of responsibility for the outcome
Costs of Procrastination
- Health: procrastination compromises our immune system and generates gastrointestinal problems
- Insomnia: as we lay awake and worry about what we’re not doing
- Stress: as we worry and beat ourselves up for procrastinating
- Relationships: procrastination shifts the burden of responsibility onto others (ie. co-workers), which creates resentment, destroys teamwork and ruins morale
8 Unique Cures For Procrastination
- Put your procrastination to good use. Consider what you do when you procrastinate. You perform one activity in lieu of performing another activity that you should be doing. Create a list that includes a couple of reasonable, but awful, tasks that you can add to your to-do list. You’ll then procrastinate on those tasks and perform the tasks you need to accomplish.
- Get to a new location. Head to the library, park, or coffee shop. You could even move to a different area of the house or find a vacant office at your workplace. A change of scenery can often minimize the tendency to procrastinate. Part of your brain associates procrastination with your usual hangouts, like your desk.
- Use a timer and a very short time frame. Getting started is often the most challenging part. It’s surprising how easy it is to complete a task versus taking the first step. Set a timer for two minutes and see how much you can get done. Two minutes is too much? Try one minute. Have a list of steps and begin on the first one. When you have a list, you won’t waste any mental energy trying to figure out what to do first.
- Try working at an unusual time. Get out of bed at 5 AM and see how much you can get done before your normal wake-up time. Try staying up late and see what happens. Shake up your routine and you’ll be less likely to engage in your old habits.
- Focus on enhancing your mood. You procrastinate when you feel bad, and the thought of performing the task makes you feel even worse. You’ll do just about anything that you think will make you feel better. Work on enhancing your mood and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
- Give your friend money. You may have enlisted the assistance of a friend in the past, but did you do it in the most effective way? Instead of telling your friend that you’ll give her $50 if you don’t complete your to-do list by Friday, give her the money upfront. You only get your money back if you’re successful. It changes the dynamic significantly.
- Give yourself a big reward. Make completing the task as positive as possible. Instead of viewing a task as painful, you’ll begin to view it as desirable. Promise yourself a day off, a meal at your favorite restaurant, or a massage.
- Take on the bigger task of shifting your self-image. If telling yourself, “I’m a procrastinator” sounds familiar, it means this is how you identify yourself. If this is the case, the cures above will help you temporarily but will not likely create long-lasting, permanent change. Instead, you need to shift your self-image by adopting a new image of yourself and acting in alignment with this new image.
- Ask yourself: “who do I have to BE to live the life I want?” and “who I have to BE to produce the results I want?”
- Create a new way of being for yourself. Instead of telling yourself “I’m a procrastinator”, re-invent yourself as, “I’m productive (or committed, or dedicated, or disciplined).
Don’t let procrastination continue to be the thief of time! Take on new behaviors in the short term and for the long term, work to shift your identity. Shifting your identity will address the core issue at hand, it will make you a master of productivity and will give you long-lasting change that will impact every area of your life and business!
If you’re ready to stop procrastinating, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca
Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.