Procrastination is the biggest killer for productivity yet so many of us struggle with it.
For example, you may have a huge deadline due but instead of doing your work, you’re browsing the internet for hours. Or you know you should hang that picture frame that has been staring at you for the last week but instead you decide to watch a TV show you love. Or you know you need to go workout but instead you tell yourself that it’s too cold and tomorrow you’ll run a little longer instead.
When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing. And when it is too late to do them, we panic and wish we got started earlier.
In order to stop procrastinating, we need to understand why we do it in the first place.
Here are four reasons I’ve identified that fuel my lack of action:
- Procrastinate for perfect: Telling yourself you need more time, resources, energy, a better plan, whatever to get it done.
- I will do it better later: You work best under pressure, right? Not really, but it may be the only way you’re used to getting things done.
- Productive off putting: Taking care of all those other things you’ve put off in favor of what you need to get done.
- Maybe, maybe not: Continually question a decision and can’t move forward.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
So, how do we overcome procrastinating? Try one of these 9 suggestions:
- Remind yourself that there’s always more to be done than can be done. Then ask yourself if you’re getting the right things done.
- Make a smart to-do list by including only the items that you’re avoiding, not the ones you know you’ll do anyway. Then set deadlines.
- Break the task down to lessen the sense of being overwhelmed. Once you start to enjoy a small accomplishment or two, you’re more likely to finish
- Eliminate temptation to do something else (log off Facebook and put your phone in the other room)
- Bargain with yourself. If you finish making those sales calls now, you can read that new book by the pool later.
- Focus on the success you will achieve and the joy you will feel.
- Come up with a consequence that will stop you from procrastinating. If you don’t finish writing that business proposal, you have to go without eating out for a month.
- Ask someone to help you complete the task. Why are we so afraid to ask for help?
- Make your intentions known. This will add pressure, and for some of us, avoiding the embarrassment of not achieving a set goal is the greatest motivator.
Books I would recommend to read if you’re serious about kicking your procrastination habit:
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
The legendary Eat That Frog! (more than 450,000 copies sold and translated into 23 languages) provides the 21 most effective methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more. This new edition is revised and updated throughout, and includes brand new information on how to keep technology from dominating our time.
The Now Habit by Neil A. Fiore
The Now Habit offers a comprehensive plan to help readers lower their stress and increase their time to enjoy guilt-free play. Dr. Fiore’s techniques will help any busy person start tasks sooner and accomplish them more quickly, without the anxiety brought on by the negative habits of procrastination and perfectionism.
Procrastination by Jane B. Burka
Based on years of counseling, psychologists Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen offer a probing, sensitive, and sometimes humorous look at the problem that troubles everyone. Revealing the reasons we put off tasks-fears of failure, success, control, separation, and attachment-the authors outline a practical, tested program to overcome procrastination. Candid and understanding, Procrastination is a must-have today for anyone who puts everything off until tomorrow.
20 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Motivated (Infographic)
Motivation is something we all strive to have, but can also be one of those feelings that’s hard to keep. Whether we’re attempting to reach a new fitness goal or trying to stay motivated in our role at work, sometimes that motivation just isn’t there. You feel motivated for a while – you’ll listen to podcasts, read books, keep yourself accountable – but then it’s lost. You feel so much energy at the start, then feel yourself slowly losing that inspiration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. (more…)
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If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals. (more…)
8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About These 4 Motivation-Boosting Techniques?
If you’d like to learn how to increase your motivation so you can get more done during the day, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you heard the questions: “What drives you” or “What excites you?” These questions may come from well-meaning people but they make one problematic assumption – Our motivation depends on something external. As a result, instead of actively building structures that motivate, we find ourselves aimlessly looking for some outside factors that will motivate us. Instead of asking: “What motivates me?” We should be asking, what am I doing to remain motivated? The answer to this question lies in the doing, not motivation itself. (more…)
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