Yesterday you said Tomorrow………………………….
Procrastination – Have you ever noticed how like wealth, even time is distributed unevenly among us? Off course, nature gives us equal hours every day, no matter who we are; but some people have time to work, enjoy leisure activities and spend quality time with their friends and family, whereas others seem to be impoverished with no time for anything.
But unlike the money situation, here we are directly responsible for our lack of time. Poor time-management and procrastination are two thieves of time, and when they join hands with laziness- they become deadly combination.
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy”, said Wayne Gretzky.
Your grow up hearing proverbs like ‘A stitch in time, saves nine’ or stories of ‘The ant and the grasshopper’, The hare and the tortoise’ and ‘The three fishes’ which tells us that procrastination can be our worst enemy. You may never have heard success stories which is based on procrastination because procrastination has never helped anyone win a race, save life, be successful or get a promotion.
Though everyone agrees that we should not procrastinate, often the task of putting a stop to procrastination itself is postponed to tomorrow- and you can guess the result. That is the clue to the direction in which we are moving. The trick is to learn the Power of Now and start immediately. Until you lock the monster procrastination in a door-less dungeon, you will never get things done on time; besides, you have so many things incomplete that you will never be able to enjoy your life either.
16 Best Ways for Past Procrastination
It is not enough to know why you should push past procrastination, but also how to push past something that holds you back so often. Let’s explore this topic a bit more ‘NOW’.
- Begin Now – if you say later, it may never happen.
- Buy a planner/organizer – a written plan will stare back at you when incomplete
- Make a list – write down your goals, pending work, important tasks on hand and objectives
- Procrastinate – you have to put off things that are not important or do not require your immediate attention
- Motivate – you have to motivate yourself to get going. Keep thinking about the results and success.
- Prioritize– few tasks will need immediate attention whereas others can wait. Create a hierarchy model to work on priority basis.
- Be prepared – it is easy to give excuses to not complete the task after pushing yourself to start. Get everything ready before you begin.
- Be your boss – when you start breathing down your own neck to complete the task on hand, it sure will get done.
- One Bite at a Time– this is how you eat an elephant.
- Freedom – once you finish the task, you have your freedom.
- Self-Awareness – knowing your personality type will help you deal with procrastination.
- Focus – know how to deal with distractions.
- Block Negative Chatter – negative mind chatter can be dangerous to your performance.
- Stop Daydreaming – daydreaming can take you away from reality.
- Treat yourself good – sometimes you have to forgive yourself, and sometimes you have to reward yourself.
- Be your critic – evaluate yourself and your performance without being biased.
#1. Begin Now Procrastination
Let us understand what does the word Procrastination stands for before we start to push ourselves past it. ‘Pro’ in Latin means ‘in favour of’ and ‘Cras’ is Tomorrow. So we understand that procrastination is nothing but being in favour of tomorrow which never comes.
Buck up and say I am going to do this now.
You can never have yesterday, nor tomorrow. All you have is present, where you can make a difference. Begin ‘Now’ so that your tasks do not get put off for tomorrow which means it will never happen.
#2. Buy a planner/organizer
It is always welcome to know what you have to do for the day rather than start off on some task randomly. Write down all the tasks you plan to complete in a day. When you fail to complete the tasks, the written words will stare back at you, whereas your thoughts or ideas can get lost during the day.
Make sure you fill your planner and keep referring to it throughout the day. Keep it with you all the time.
#3. Make a list
Apart from the everyday organizer, you have to write down your goals, pending work, important tasks on hand and objectives which you plan to achieve in near future. Refer to this list so that you can plan your day dedicating certain amount of time to achieve your long-term goals as well.
Follow your time-table religiously, because once you put it off for tomorrow, it becomes quite difficult to start once again. Say no to procrastination the first time.
That would shock you for sure, but know that it is important that you put off things that are not important or do not require your immediate attention for tomorrow or later.
Find out who is the thief of your time throughout the day. It could be mindless surfing on social media, cat videos on YouTube, some more dangerous videos which can disturb your mind as well, chatting with friends, lazing around, Idiot box or any other thing that does not take you anywhere in your life. Procrastination can help you keep away from them for today so that you can concentrate on important things that need your attention.
Imagine you are lazing on your favourite couch watching a match on Sunday, but you have to mow your lawn as well. What is going to pull you from your comfort zone to burn your skin in the sun to cut some useless grass, which you watered and grew in the first place?
This is when motivation comes to your rescue. You need to explain what effect the results are going to have on your life. How your wife is going to respond to your work, what benefits can come with it – these thoughts will help you to keep you going. Escape from the continuous nagging can inspire you to get away from the couch as well.
Some tasks needs completion immediately, where as some give you breathing time. Prioritize your tasks to form a hierarchy model for completing them. Do not just take time into consideration, but also the impact of the incomplete task on your life.
When you step out of the procrastination mode, many pending important tasks will start fighting for your attention. Give time to decide which task goes where on the priority list. In this era it is not the hard work that makes the difference but the smart work which gives you desired results.
#7. Be prepared
It all starts in our childhood. Remember those days when finally your mom sat you down to get the homework done only to realize that you need to sharpen the pencil. So, out you go to sharpen your pencil with the sharpener, but get distracted by something. At times, you may never get back to doing your homework at all.
This can happen all over again today. It is easy to give excuses to not complete the task after pushing yourself to start.
Keep everything you may need at hand before you begin. Be it information, working materials, papers, pens or your charged up laptop, let it be there for you access when needed. Once you start, do not stop until you reach your deadline.
#8. Be your boss
When you are given a deadline by your boss to reach, you do it more diligently than you would do if no one is keeping tabs on you. With task that you have no one watching over you, you need to be your own boss and start breathing down your own neck to get it complete before deadline.
You can use this as a practice session for the time when you will really be a boss to others to get the task done. You need to criticize, appreciate and reward yourself to give that extra push that gets the work done.
#9. One Bite at a time
There is weird quote that says, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!” Now you don’t have to wonder why someone would eat an elephant because that only tells us metaphorically that taking one step at a time we can get bigger tasks done without being intimidated or overwhelmed by them.
We often procrastinate over tasks that look too big to handle all at once. The enormity can make you shy away from trying it in the first place. If your closet is too messy to be cleaned all at once, handle one shelf at a time. Do not try to clean it up all at once. Breaking bigger task into smaller chunks not only makes the task easier, but it encourages you to start.
Though you appear to be free when you are not working, you really do not enjoy your time since the pending work keeps nagging at the back of your head. The real freedom comes when you complete the have-to-do job before deadline.
Do not fill your tomorrow with so many things that you start dreading the sunrise. If possible stay ahead of your schedule so that you can enjoy some free time tomorrow. You will be free of worry, guilt, fear or nagging. Stop procrastinating to enjoy real freedom in your life and let this thought inspire you to work hard today.
You may never realize how important self-awareness is to your success in life. When it comes to procrastination, you should be aware of your personality type to make plans. If you are the person who works best in the morning, keep the early hours for the tough task.
If you are a night owl, finish easier jobs during day so that you can concentrate on important things before you hit bed.
Moreover self-awareness holds reality to your face, so that you will know where you stand, where you want to be, what you should do to get there and many other aspects of your life. When truth stares you in the face, it is easy to stop procrastinating and start working.
When it comes to staying focused on task at hand, our tech savvy generation has bigger challenge; what with our smart phones alerting us to the messages, calls, social media posts and many other such distractions all the time?
You have to tackle distractions strongly to complete the task at hand. Try apps which will rescue you from getting distracted from your work. This is the best way to use your smart phone.
#13. Block Negative Chatter
The fear of failure, imperfection or overwhelming things stating at you can start off negative mind chatter which can stop you from taking the first step. This is easier said than done because most of the time we are not even aware that our mind is chattering negative things which is holding us back.
Though this is the toughest thing you have to do, change negative mind chatter to positive one. You will be surprised how simple words like ‘have to’ can contribute to procrastination. When you say ‘I have to’, your mind registers that you are being forced. ‘I can’, or ‘I will’ will make you feel you are making your choice.
Rephrase your sentences and change them into positive motivators.
#14. Stop DayDreaming
Daydreaming creates a comfort zone of fantasy land where you have everything. But there is no way you can stay in a fool’s paradise forever, since reality comes knocking at your door sooner or later.
Daydreaming can steal away lot of your time. But many people use daydreaming constructively like meditation to realize their wants and needs.
#15. Treat yourself good
You may never realize the joy of appreciating, loving and forgiving yourself. We all seek love and appreciation, and that is not just from outside world, but from within us as well. People who really love and respect themselves are not much bothered about what others think about them.
Treat yourself with respect love and care. Forgive your past procrastinating behaviour, and reward any change you see within yourself. Unless you move past crying over the past, there is no smiles for you in your future as well.
#16. Be your critic
Loving yourself does not mean that you take a biased stand and defend your shortcomings. At times you need to be your own critic as well. You have to evaluate yourself and your performance without being prejudiced. Only when you become aware of the shortcomings that you can find a remedy for it.
Check out what prompts you to procrastinate important work? It is the idiot box? Friends? Online gaming? Internet surfing? Do not try to defend yourself by justifying the action that is causing you to procrastinate important tasks on hand. Try to overcome the temptation to waste away your precious minutes.
Time to stop reading how to push past procrastination and get back to work! Now!