- Recognize the Problem
Once you recognize procrastination thinking, you have a fighting chance to shift to a do-it-now thinking, doing specific actions in a reasonable way within a designated time-frame.
Unless you are aware of when and how you procrastinate, you are likely to remain in that rut.
So what is procrastination?
It’s an automatic problematic habit where you postpone a necessary activity until another day or another time. When you procrastinate you always sidetrack yourself with a diversion, such as texting, talking on the phone or wringing your hands in despair about the state of the world! You will almost always justify the delay, by telling yourself that you need to think more about this pressing issue. Once you realize what it is you do when you procrastinate, then you have the opportunity to deal with, and tackle this issue “head on”.
- Commit to a Productive Direction
A commitment is a pledge that you follow through responsibly. However, be mindful that you will always find an excuse to delay that vital first action step. This is where you make a commitment but then automatically find ways to delay.
The three steps outlined below should guide you towards becoming more proactive towards that necessary first action:
Writing down your exact plan.
- Outlining a very specific time to begin work on your plan and make that time as soon as possible.
- Committing to working on this plan for five minutes, after which you can decide whether to continue for another five minutes. The five-minute technique helps you get past being daunted by the process which will ultimately unravel your best intentions.
- Refuse to Accept False Excuses for Delays
False optimism feeds procrastination. You can routinely “con” yourself into thinking that later is a better time to start. This thinking takes many forms.
- Later, is that tomorrow will be a better time to do what you put off today. It rarely happens that way.
- Contingency procrastination thinking moves you to a complex new level, e.g. if you are searching for a new job you will tell yourself that you have not yet read the relevant books on how to create a great resume. Then you will either put off buying the books or put off reading them once you buy them…..
- You worsen your situation with a Catch-22 procrastination You tell yourself that the job market is too tight, so why bother trying? How do you stop this automatic negative thinking? Begin with awareness.
4. Build Foresight
Procrastination is partially due to a normal human tendency to go for what is easy and avoid complexities and uncertainties. We all have the capacity to go for what is easiest, as well as the capacity to plan and act towards reaching a bigger long-term reward. It’s up to us to make that choice. Accept the fact, even if you don’t like it, that to do better, you need to take a longer-term view and take the essential steps to reach your specific goal. Act on that belief and you will have fewer false rewards from time spent complaining, searching the internet or texting your friends!