3 Ways to Conquer Procrastination
“Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will – tomorrow!” – Gloria Pitzer
Ah, spring time. People feel motivated to get out and get things done. But not you. You are a procrastinator and to you spring means more chores to add to your to-do list. You’d rather put things off until tomorrow.
You were the student who started your book report the night before it was due. You spent an extra year in college because your term assignments were never in on time. Today you are the adult who puts in long hours at work. You hope your boss believes the late hours are part of your work ethic. The truth is you hate to tackle those reports so you struggle to get through your workload.
Feel My Pain
Fears of failure, success or rejection are the leading reasons most people procrastinate. You don’t know if that describes your reluctance. All you know is that procrastination is a bad habit that has not served you well up to this point. You are always playing catch up because whatever you put off today just adds to your list tomorrow.
There is a voice in your head constantly nagging you to get started. Roll up your sleeves and do the chore whether you like it or not. You want to change. But how do you get started when you don’t want to do it in the first place?
1. Anchor in Motivation
Negative self-talk like, “I don’t want to do this” or “Do I have to do this” is counter –productive. Certainly not motivating. Changing your self-talk to “I want to do this” or “I choose to do this” is an easy way to start. Use the *NLP technique of “anchoring” to install feelings of excitement, success, motivation, pride and other positive emotions to a sight, sound or part of your body. Your ear lobe for example. Now any time you start a task that is distasteful to you, touch your earlobe. This will trigger those positive feelings you installed. You will automatically feel motivated to begin.
2. Give Your Task a Timeline
Research suggests that the unconscious mind nags until you make a plan, timeline or deadline. Once the task has some structure your unconscious is satisfied that it is done and you will relieve some of the stress.
Spring is also tax season so let’s use that example. It is a complex, overwhelming task you dread doing. It usually means an all-nighter just going through your piles of papers, notes and receipts. Pledging to start your income tax preparation today will satisfy the first step in structuring a plan. You have given a timeline.
3. Start With Small Steps
Deconstruct any project into smaller tasks that you can complete in a reasonable time. Let us apply this to your income taxes. You have approximately four weeks before the filing deadline. If you break it down to weekly tasks it will look something like this:
· Week one – gather all receipts. Do a thorough search. Place them all in one stack, box, or folder. Task completed.
· Week two – Separate and put receipts in tax categories. Example, income, business expenses, charitable donations, etc. Task completed.
· Week three – Total items in each category. Look for any receipts you may have missed. Task completed.
· Week four – Transfer your totals to your tax form. Complete and mail in your tax return.
Feel My Pleasure
Taxes done and filed on time. You feel a sense of pride and relief as you check “file tax return” off your to-do list. Best of all you now have a plan to overcome procrastination in all your future projects.
* Learn more about Anchoring (NLP) at Wikipedia.org. View Anchoring (NLP) videos and demonstrations on YouTube. NLP is the abbreviation for Neuro Linguistic Programming.