Over time we have developed habits to deal with many areas of our lives. What thoughts we think, what we do, how we do it or if we do it are all indicators of our habits. All repetitive activities seem to generate a habit.
What about the “procrastination” habit? Basically, procrastination is defined as avoiding doing a task that needs to be done…putting the activity off until tomorrow.
When you create a “procrastination” habit, you reduce your ability to function effectively. This habit is controlling you and can be a hard habit to break. If you believe that procrastination is an issue in your life, what would it look like to no longer choose to resist doing something?
Use the 4-step process below to help you stop resisting what is important for you to do…one small step at a time.
Step 1: Evaluation
Generally, most of us don’t procrastinate with everything we do, rather we have select areas that we are more apprehensive about and resist handling them effectively. The resistance could be in the form of just not doing it or doing the activity at the very last moment when the pressure is on.
Take the time to do some honest self-assessment around the areas of procrastination in your life. Remember, you probably don’t procrastinate around everything you do, so create a list of those areas that you resist…and how you go about it. For example, you resist completing a report at work (your issue) and you wait until the last moment (how you procrastinate). Look to see if there are any themes in your procrastination as it will help you better understand what is motivating you to procrastinate.
As you create this list, eliminate the need to judge yourself. This is an assessment and judgments will block your ability to make any changes.
Most of the time people procrastinate because they are fearful of their performance, have not judged correctly how much time an activity will take, have too many activities on their To Do lists, or get overwhelmed by the project and don’t know how to break it down.
Step 2: Selection
Overcoming the procrastination habit takes time. It’s best to start slow. Choose an area that can be managed. Keep it simple so you are successful in your quest to decreasing your need to procrastinate.
For example, what if you procrastinate around paying the bills? What could you put in place that would help you handle this issue more effectively?
Here is a simple system to handle the bill paying process:
-When bills come in, where do they go? Choose one place to put the bills immediately.
-How often do you pay the bills? Choose a weekly, every two weeks, or monthly system…whatever system that allows you to be on time with paying the bills.
-Select a day/time that you regularly sit down to pay your bills. Put this time in your calendar. Choose a time that you can actually perform the work. If you have children, choosing Saturday afternoon may not be realistic, whereas, Monday night at 8:00 pm could be perfect.
What if you are trying to do too much?
-Select 3 “must do’s” each day and tackle them first.
-If you have more time, add 2 more tasks and complete them.
-Over time you will see a list of activities that keep being pushed forward to another day. Now is the time to evaluate whether they are important to you or you need to let them go. If they are important, can you delegate some of your tasks to someone who would be willing to assist you?
Step 3: Share It
Tell others what you are trying to do…and ask for their support. Think about how they can best support you. I find that when I reach out to others I receive some great ideas that help me be more effective with my commitment. Maybe you can find another “procrastinator” and buddy up to support each other in change.
Step 4: Celebrate
Reward yourself for accomplishing what you set out to do. Know before you start what you will reward yourself with. As soon as you accomplish your small goal, celebrate by rewarding yourself.
Make sure the reward is something you like to do. Time is always an issue for most people, so your reward needs to be realistic…something you can do in an hour. Take a bubble bath, buy a new book, or make time to read your favorite magazine.
There really isn’t a tomorrow, only a today. Choose what is important to you today.
Remember, small steps are wonderful and bring more energy into your life. This is your personal journey in creating more joy in your life.
Copyright (c) 2008 Pat Brill