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6 Ways to Beat Procrastination by Bev James


Whether its completing a project or everyday chores or finishing off something at work, most people are prone to procrastination even the most productive among us. To be fair, its an easy pit to fall into because at the time, it feels so blissful to postpone undesirable responsibilities in favour of doing something more enjoyable instead. Or does it?

While many of us might think we’re enjoying what we’re doing in this ‘free time’, it’s possible we might actually just be enjoying not doing what we’re supposed to do and because we’re conscious of that fact the whole time, those tasks can hang over us, making them all the more daunting, making us want to procrastinate even more. It really can be a vicious cycle.

Generally speaking, procrastination seldom pays off for anyone… so, the preferable alternative would be to complete tasks when we’re supposed to, feel accomplished, and then actually enjoy our free time – time that feels all the more sweet because we ‘earned’ it. So if we come to realise that procrastination is a bad idea, then why do so many of us do it?

Why we procrastinate

Procrastination usually goes beyond just laziness and can happen for different reasons. It might be because you’re intimidated by the task ahead or have a fear of the unknown. Perhaps you have a fear of failing or you’re a perfectionist feel you need more and more time to get it ‘right’. Perhaps there’s a fear of change and you are struggling to come to terms with a brand new task, which may be different to what you’re used to. Perhaps you lack motivation or perseverance or simply become distracted.

Whatever the cause, there are plenty of ways to overcome procrastination and boost your productivity.

Practical Solutions:

  1. Remove all temptations: We usually end up doing the same things when we procrastinate, whether that’s watching TV and playing on our smartphones, reading news websites or online shopping. Snapping yourself back from the temptation to drift is vital. 
  2. Schedule in your free time: When procrastination happens, we’re usually doing the things we’d do in our spare time. Instead, make a contract with yourself: commit to finishing a task first and then rewarding yourself with ‘me time’ later.
  3. Begin with the easiest tasks: When there are several things on the ‘to do’ list, some people often make the mistake of going straight for the biggest task first, and quickly getting overwhelmed. Naturally this results in procrastination. Instead, begin by ticking off the smaller tasks first. This builds up your sense of accomplishment, and by the time you reach the big or difficult tasks, you’ll be in a better frame of mind to tackle them.
  4. Break tasks down: If you’ve got an enormous task ahead of you, break it down into more manageable chunks. This is much more productive than attempting it all in one go, and then procrastinating instead.
  5. Forgive yourself: Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but beating yourself up over it isn’t productive either. In fact, it has the opposite effect. You’ll procrastinate even more if you focus on your failures, rather than your potential success. Forgive yourself, and start the task now.
  6. Maintain a positive mind-set: A positive approach makes a difference to everything in life, especially when it comes to the things you don’t like doing. Even the most tedious tasks have at least one redeeming feature, such as helping you in the long-run, or giving you a sense of achievement once it’s done. Remember how good you felt the last time you completed a task without procrastinating? Strive for that same feeling of accomplishment again and keep your eyes on the prize.

A more productive you

Procrastination can have a really detrimental effect on your life - it’s a VIP invitation for stress, and it can easily become a vicious, circular habit. Fortunately, it’s never too late to retrain your mind to think of ‘getting things done’ as a positive and uplifting activity, rather than something you instinctively want to avoid. Follow the above practical tips, and say goodbye to procrastination and hello to productivity. 

If you feel that Coaching could be a potential full or part time opportunity for you, or if you would just like to know a little more about what Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, please contact our Specialist Course Advisor, Jamil on 0208 996 4830 or email: Jamil@the-coaching-academy.com

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