Procrastination is a problem for millions of people. Whether you are putting off doing some work that you do not enjoy or staring at that pile of laundry that just continues to grow, there are ways for you to break out of procrastination mode and into action. Here are some motivational tips for procrastinators that will set you on the path to productivity.
Make a List
It’s a simple idea, but making a list will help you increase your productivity. Famed speaker and personal development pioneer Zig Ziglar once said, “Goals enable you to do more for yourself and others, too.” When you think about it, that’s all a list is: the goals you want to accomplish in a given period of time. If you feel like you always make lists but never complete them, then try making a list of the simplest things you do every day. Have you taken your morning shower? Cross it off the list. Did you brush your teeth? Good. Check that one off, too. Seeing that you have completed even the smallest, most routine activities will give you a feeling of accomplishment and set you up for further success with more difficult tasks.
Don’t Allow Yourself to Put Off Daily Lists
Once you have mastered the art of making lists, the next challenge is regularly completing them. We all know that unexpected demands on our time tend to pop up at the worst possible moments. Staying current with your daily to-do list will help you be better prepared to handled such situations. If you suddenly find out at the last minute that your boss has requested a meeting with you that is expected to consume the entire last hour of the work day, you will be much less stressed if all of your daily reports have already been completed and filed. Walking into an end-of-day meeting with the manager is much easier to do when you know you don’t have to rush back to your desk and finish the rest of your work before you leave.
Devise a Realistic Plan
One reason that some procrastinators are not productive is that they tend to overwhelm themselves with ambitious plans that immediately set them up for failure. Establishing a course of action is important when you are trying to get more done, but it is critical that you be honest with yourself about what you will be able to accomplish. You can definitely paint the family room, wash the car, do all the laundry, and make your daughter’s Halloween costume. You just can’t do all of that in one day. It is understandable that you might feel guilty for having let so many chores remain undone, but you will get more completed in the long run by giving yourself permission to take things one step at a time.
Make the Clock Your Friend
People tend to think that productivity only occurs when someone spends long hours on competing a chore, but small spurts of accomplishment can lead to great success. If you are struggling with procrastination, try setting a timer for a small amount of time such as 15 minutes. Spend that 15 minutes focusing on completing one task or even a few very small ones. Doing this will almost make being productive fun. It’s like a game for yourself. After you have completed one of these 15-minute sprints, you very likely will want to challenge yourself to see if you can do more the next time. You may even try reducing the amount of time to really see what you can do. Not only does this help you be more productive overall, it can give you that same sense of accomplishment you felt when showered and brushed your teeth earlier.
Figure Out Why You Tend to Procrastinate
It is easy to say that procrastination stems from pure laziness. While that may be true for some people, it is not uncommon for a lack of productivity to be a symptom of a much deeper issue. What if I try to accomplish a goal but don’t quite make it? What will everyone think? How will I pick up the pieces and try again after such a setback? These are all questions that people tend to ask when they are talking themselves out of doing something. Some believe that this fear of failure is rooted in the ancient parts of our brain. The instinct that kept our prehistoric ancestors from taking dangerous risks and therefore kept them alive is the same one than tends to hold us back from trying things that may not work. If you are saddled with a fear of failure, it is critical that you recognize it, acknowledge it, and take steps to defeat it. As pioneering businessman, Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
The reasons that people procrastinate are varied, and there is surely no shortage of things to avoid doing. But there are ways to combat procrastination and move forward. If you find yourself lacking motivation or simply do not know where to start, try some of these tips and remember to congratulate yourself for all of your accomplishments.
Featured photo credit: Sander Smeekes via unsplash.com
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