Why do it today when I can do it tomorrow? Sounds familiar? Human beings are programmed to procrastinate, i.e. that is just the way our brains are wired. Deadlines make us nervous, yet we love engaging in a race against time. I’m sure you have heard the story of the rabbit and the tortoise, where the moral is that slow and steady wins the race. Procrastination is being lazy, not slow and steady. When we procrastinate, we in fact depict that rabbit who became complacent because he underestimated his competition. Time is our opponent while we procrastinate; we think that it moves too slowly to defeat us, though that is obviously not the case.
People who avoid procrastinating are the ones who get work done and succeed in life. You will get nowhere if you keep putting off your dreams and responsibilities for another day. Honestly, there is no right time for doing something; it’s literally now or never. Take the initiative today and beat procrastination with these ten strategies:
1. Identify the Symptoms
The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. Symptoms of procrastination include repeatedly spacing out, keeping oneself occupied with menial tasks, ignoring the guilt in the pit of your stomach, and telling yourself that you are waiting for the right moment.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Focusing on the present is an effective strategy for eliminating the urge to procrastinate. Do not think about the past or future; simply concentrate on ‘now’. Tackling everything before you will become easier when you escape the concept of yesterday and tomorrow.
3. Cut off distractions
If something in your surroundings is keeping you from concentrating on an important mission, you either put it out of sight or run away from it. The distractions will still be there when you are done with the work, so you can catch up later.
4. Pick your own deadlines
When you receive a deadline, overwrite it with a tougher one. If you have a week to complete an assignment, tell yourself that it’s 3 days. Giving yourself some tough love helps a lot.
5. Publicly commit to a task
You may tweet or post about finishing a task within a short time frame, and have people on your back to judge you. The possible embarrassment or disappointment from losing your own bet might be the motivation you need.
6. Request a Pep Talk from your Bestie
Having someone to believe in you and cheer for you is another antidote for procrastination that works. Sometimes a simple ‘you can do it’ is enough to lift one’s spirits and encourage them to take the first step.
7. Face your fears
Many of us delay our goals because we are too afraid of failure. The only thing that is worse than fear is never trying. Just do it and see where it goes. If you succeed, great; if you don’t, at least you won’t have regrets. Regardless of the outcome, you come out a winner because you faced your fear (and that is something bigger).
8. Do not aim for perfection
When a person is aiming for perfection, procrastination is expected because setting unrealistic standards tends to drain our energy before we actually start a project. Just do your best and do it now!
9. Be kind to yourself
People who are always doubting themselves are more inclined to procrastinate. Stop taking yourself for granted because there are other people for that. Believe in yourself and don’t care about how others shall critique your work.
10. Visualize Success
Manifest success by visualizing it. Imagine all the good that will come out of doing your work in a timely manner. You will have to consider promising prospects if you ever hope to make progress on your goals and responsibilities.