Do you ever find yourself procrastinating things – even things you WANT to do but for some reason you don’t do them? Well, you’re not the only one.
Procrastination is like a bad habit, and I see 3 main reasons we procrastinate even when we’re excited about the goal.
Reason #1: We don’t know where to start
The task at hand feels overwhelming – like a big jumble of work – so we get confused and feel like we’re flappin’ in the wind. It’s hard to know where to even START when the task seems so huge.
Reason #2: We dread having to do something unpleasant
A great example of this is doing taxes. Doing your taxes causes displeasure therefore we put it off so we will not be in “pain”.
Reason #3: We’re afraid to fail
We want to do well so badly that we get frozen. The need for perfectionism keeps us stuck right where we are – doing nothing but thinking about what we should be doing.
Here are my 5 practical steps for overcoming procrastination:
Step 1) Make a decision
Pick one thing that you’ve been procrastinating and make a decision to START today. It all starts with a decision to take action on this task – we’ll call is Task #1.
Step 2) Think
Grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you can think of that will need to get done to accomplish task #1. After you make this list, add the order of the specific tasks – what should be done first, second, etc. You are prioritizing tasks and putting them in chronological order. For example, If your goal is to update the Home Page on your website, your list would look something like this:
Step 3) Plan
Now take that list and grab your calendar. This week, block out 2 hours for task #1. Next week, block out 2 hours for task #2. Nothing gets done until it’s planned into your calendar, right? So take it step by step and put each separate task in its own place. Go as fast or as slow as need to so your plan is realistic but a bit of a stretch.
Step 4) Be accountable
This is a huge step. It’s time to announce your plan to the world so you HAVE to do it. I do this all the time for new programs I am building or a new coaching group. I announce on my website that the new thing is “coming late September” so I’m too embarrassed not to do it. People ask about it and I HAVE to work on it or I look like a loser.
Social accountability plays a bug role in how much we accomplish. That’s why I have my own Coach and join a Mastermind group regularly – it’s how I get things DONE.
Step 5) Consequences
For this step, I defer to Timothy Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Workweek”. Tim says,
“‘Most people fail at… resolutions because there is no consequence,” he says. “If you don’t go to work, you’ll lose your job. But if you don’t stick to your diet there’s no consequence – other than staying fat.”
Tim tells us that you have to create stakes for your goal so you’re more likely to stick to it.
You already set up accountability in Step 4, so creating stakes ups takes things to the next level. Tim Ferriss suggests using a website called www.stickK.com. On it, you commit to a contract that will take money from your bank account to give to a charity you hate if you fail to meet your goal.
“So if you hate guns, you could donate to the National Rifle Association,” he says.
These kind of stakes are very powerful. You don’t have to use StickK. You could hand your best friend $100 and tell her what to do with it (something you would HATE using the money for) if you don’t achieve your goal by a certain date.
So tell me, what works for you?
In the comments below, please tell me about a specific time you procrastinated and how you beat it. I’d love to hear your tips!
As always, thanks for reading!
Waoh, you got me there Jane. I have been planning to set up my website for the past two years. I have done 3 photo shoots, hundreds of pictures of my designs etc, each time I tell myself that I am not ready. Meanwhile, its purely a mobile business for now and a website for online purchases will be the next ideal thing, however, a sister of mine launched her creche, since I saw the website I was blown off . I made decision that day and to commit myself I asked her to call the web designer and spoke to him infront of her, I listed all the websites that appealed to me, which I had been jotting down all over my books, I have contacted the firm, given them some ideas and within the next few weeks we will review and get cracking. Thanks Jane ,
Good for you!! I LOVE hearing that you are making progress. My motto is “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Thanks for sharing.