Do you know when you’re procrastinating? Is a little voice inside you saying just get the thing done already?
Our minds are geared towards avoiding what we perceive as painful, making it challenging to rouse energy to start on the path of tackling a project that feels difficult. Making matters worse, we can be so hard on ourselves for not starting that it propels us into shame, guilt, and mental-flagellation.
Be kind to yourself. Understand that avoidance has nothing to do with whether you’re a good person. Stop saying you’re lazy, awful, or un-disciplined. None of this self-talk will help you stop procrastinating; it will just make it worse and keep you on a spinning wheel.
Forgive yourself. If you delay a task and you feel bad about it, don’t beat yourself up with resentment. Get in the habit of extreme self-compassion and allow the next time to be a fresh start.
Examine your emotions. Dive in to the feelings that the task brings up in you. There’s a reason you’re avoiding it, so peel back the layers. What does it bring up that you might be evading? Write the thoughts down and get to the root of what makes the task seem like such a mountain for you.
Consider how you feel about your ‘future self.’ Some people are better at imagining who they will be after they finish a goal than others. If you see your future self as more of a stranger, who isn’t a part of who you are now, it will be difficult to believe that you can approach jobs in the present. Psychologist Dr. Hal Hershfield has done studies on this, which may be worth looking in to.
Understand that you’re not going to feel like starting. Many tasks don’t contain immediate gratification or pleasurable pay-off. Small steps are key. Don’t overwhelm yourself with big details. Set up fun reminders to boost your positivity about the goal and break it into very small bit-size pieces. When you accomplish a piece, give yourself a reward! Teach your brain it’s okay to be scared, or fearful of the task, but it won’t kill you. Resistance and discomfort are normal but starting is in your best interest and in service of your wellbeing.
Stay focused. If you’ve set aside time to fulfill a piece of your task, eliminate distractions. Write down your common triggers so when they pop up you’ll see them for what they are. When you finish a part of the task, look at the next step towards your goal and plan for when you will do it.
All in all, when you delve into your habits of procrastination and figure out the why’s and the how’s of your behavior, you can begin to apply strategies that feel really good to you! Huzzah!
Share your experience with procrastination in the comments.
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Photo:Pedro da Silva on Unsplash
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