If I could give you a surefire way to eliminate procrastination, well I wouldn’t post it online. I would patent it and sell it, and be a millionaire. I, as many others do, struggle with procrastination when trying to write. It is easy to daydream or start browsing social media when I should be writing. I constantly find other things I need to check “just real quick” when writing, but that of course ends with a long delay. Sometimes I get so frustrated over all I have to do, that I don’t do any of it, and end up procrastinating.
I’m not the only one who does this though, apparently its very common, but still unhealthy. Psychotherapist Jude Bijou explains in her book, “Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life” that procrastinating can be very stressful for us. “We usually procrastinate to avoid a task that’s unpleasant or daunting, but when procrastinating starts to interfere with performance at work – by causing us to feel worried, fearful, and stressed-out, or by causing others to feel anxious because we are holding up progress – then it is time to stop putting the task aside and get on with it.”
Bijou says that there are a few steps you can follow to help keep you from slowing down the whole office.
Step 1: Identify the Situation
Knowing what you need to get done, and all the details will help keep you focused. If it helps, write it down on a calendar, a to-do list, or a notepad. Sometimes writing it down can help you focus on what needs to be done, and can keep you on task.
Step 2: Pinpoint your Emotions
This translates into, “Why don’t I feel like doing my work?” Typically procrastination comes from 3 core emotions: anger, sadness, and fear. Anger that you are having to do the work in the first place, maybe you are having to cover for coworkers, or you having to work on a day off. Sadness can come from general depression or a sense of being overwhelmed. Fear can be related to not knowing your objectives, or not being comfortable with the subject matter that you are working with. Many people fear failure, which leads them to putting off a project entirely.
Step 3: Deal with your Emotions
Once you have determined which emotion you are feeling, you need to deal with it. If you are angry about an assignment, afraid of failure, or feeling overwhelmed, you need to find a solution. Talk to your boss, a friend, punch a pillow, cry in the closet, do whatever it takes to get it out of your system.
Step 4: Do Some Planning
No business has succeeded without some sort of plan. Planning is essential to getting your work done in a timely manner. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to get your work done. Create a timeline and list of items that need to be completed.
Step 5: Find Some Truths
Figure out what thoughts are sabotaging you and stop them. Simply put, stop lying to yourself. Stop giving yourself excuses. It is easy to tell yourself that you don’t have time, or you have something else you need to do, or my go to “I deserve a night off.” Sometimes you just need to tell yourself the cold hard truth.
Step 6: Break your Goal into Small Doable Steps
During your planning stage (step 4) set small goals for yourself that you can shoot for while working. If you set small acheivable goals you will constantly be mentally rewarded for your work, which makes it easy to continue working and finish your tasks.
Step 7: Anticipate Roadblocks
You can’t stop every interruption when you are trying to work, but you can try to plan for them. Anticipating these roadblocks, whether it be a meeting, phone calls, or a desk lurker, can help you set aside extra time needed to get jobs done without having any delays. Expecting some delay is smart, and can save you some pain in the future.
Whether you follow all these steps or just a few, remember to always remind yourself how good it feels to be finished with a project. When we finish a tough job, we get a sense of relief and self gratification that makes your day that much better.