How To Stop Procrastinating and Get the Job Done
I have a confession. I am a procrastinator. If there is something that I do not want to do, I can find 100 different reasons to do 1000 different things to avoid one simple task. Clean out my make-up drawer? Rearrange the shelves in my garage? It usually starts with ignoring the issue until my self-esteem begins to take a hit. When we procrastinate over a long period of time, it can lead to low self-esteem.
How can we overcome procrastination?
How To Stop Procrastinating
Identify the Problem
Are you avoiding the task because it is boring or in a part of your house that is separate from everyone else? When my garage doors are open, I can watch people walk by with their pets on a leash, and it makes me feel joyful. But, when the doors are closed and I attempt to work in the garage, I feel like I am in a dark well. That was my first step to conquering the garage shelf issue.
I opened the doors, turned on the music and asked for help. Part of the challenge is that I can’t pull down the heavy ladder on the attic door and carry up even heavier boxes. But I know someone who can, and I enlisted their assistance—another source of procrastination I overcame. The chore was over in an hour, and it was not as hard as I thought. Of course, I was not the one who smashed my finger in that heavy fold up ladder connected to the door, connected to the attic. Yikes!
Create a To-Do List
When you make a checklist of everything that needs to be done, the task does not seem so overwhelming. You can mark things off over a week, a month or a year. Even though a year feels quite long, some people need that timeframe. Once it is written down on paper and posted somewhere that you can see it on a daily basis, you are more prone to take charge.
There is an art to creating and keeping a to-do list. The list should have tasks in priority and a time frame of completion. You can continue to add to your list and delete as you accomplish each goal. You may even want to list actionable steps and who to contact for items requiring another person, such as a plumber, electrician or handyman.
Disconnect from Technology
While technology can potentially make our lives easier and more interesting at the touch of a button, most people can quickly get distracted by looking at their social media feed rather than completing an overdue project. One incoming text from a friend or family member can derail an entire venture. Multiply that text by 3 or more, and you will waste an entire afternoon responding to non-emergency texts.
Put your phone on “do not disturb,” turn it off or place it in a drawer in another room. You can check it from time to time, but make a commitment not to respond to unnecessary texts until your project is complete.
Focus On the End Result
If you are putting off dental cleanings, eye exams or routine doctor visits, consider the alternative: cavities, poor vision and high blood pressure as opposed to catching an issue early and avoiding bigger issues. If you are interested in losing the four extra pounds you gained over the holiday, putting off exercise or a trip to the gym can lower your self-esteem and establish a habit that will be harder to change as time goes by. Sometimes you just have to start.
Like it or not, whatever you are avoiding can be over if you just take the next step. Mel Robbins, someone I follow on Instagram, calls it a “Five-Second Rule.” Rather than putting something off, she counts down from 5 to 1. She uses this for getting out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button, or writing—she just starts. She says if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you have to move within five seconds or your brain will kill the idea. I have tried this on multiple occasions and found it highly effective.
Sometimes I just have to own it. If I know I’m not going to do something and it’s rattling around in my brain, it’s often better for me to pay someone to handle it. For example, I have a kitchen cabinet that constantly loses a screw. My son has attempted to fix it on a number of occasions, but you often get what you pay for, and after multiple attempts, it never got fixed.
I hired someone to come over and finish up some odd jobs, including this cabinet. Now every time I reach down for dish detergent or a new sponge, I don’t cringe because I know the door is no longer going to potentially fall on my foot. Problem solved. Whatever it is… just do it and get it over with. You will feel better and have more time to concentrate on the things you enjoy.
For more inspiration around how to stop procrastinating, you may also enjoy Organize Your Life: Eight Planning Tips & Tools. Be sure to check out The Protocol School of Texas. Read Diane’s posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
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