Procrastination can be downright debilitating. If you don't tackle it quickly, you can lose countless minutes, hours, and even years! Before you know it, you're wondering where all the time went because you have nothing to show for it.
Unfortunately, procrastination is sneaky. Sometimes, you mean to get a certain task done - really, you do - but when you look back at the end of the day, you realize that you never got around to it. You're not sure why. You know you had a good reason to put it off, but you can't remember what it was!
Sometimes, it's real easy to mistake procrastination for rationalization. In other words, you come up with a rational reason why you can't do something today. Maybe it's because it was too hot outside, or because you had to check your email, or because you had to watch that TV show before you ran into someone who spoiled the cliffhanger ending for you. You use reasons like these to take the blame off yourself. It's not your fault that the task didn't get done. Instead, rational reasons X, Y, and Z are to blame.
However, one of the worst things about procrastination is that it spirals out of control easily. The more you put off today, the easier it is to put off things tomorrow. If you don't break this habit quickly, procrastination will take over your entire life!
So how do you fight procrastination?
The next time you come up with a reason not to do something, ask yourself if it's a legitimate reason or if you're just looking for an excuse not to tackle the task. Ask yourself if the task really needs to be done, and if the answer is "yes", go do it - no matter what reasons you can come up with to skip it.
Or, if you keep putting something off because you don't know what to do next, get organized. A lack of direction can easily turn into procrastination. Instead of letting procrastination take over, make a decision about what needs to be done next and do it. Even if it turns out to be the wrong decision, you at least accomplished something.
What if you're having trouble with a huge project, like building a house or writing a book? You may not have a lack of direction, but it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you have so many things to do. In the end, you're just as lost as someone who literally doesn't know what to do next!
To prevent procrastination from settling in, break your huge project into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then, tell yourself that you're not allowed to do anything else until you've accomplished at least one thing on your list. By doing a few tiny tasks each day, it won't take long to make giant strides!
Sometimes, procrastination is covering up a fear of failure. You're so scared to screw up that you prevent yourself from ever getting started. Fortunately, difficult tasks rarely turn out to be as bad as they seem at the beginning. It's almost always worse in your imagination than it is in real life, so ignore your fears and move forward!
No matter what's been holding you back, once you've completed the task, reward yourself. You deserve it! After all, not only have you accomplished something important, you beat out procrastination to do it!
Just remember - it's easy to fall victim to procrastination, so don't feel bad if you have to fight it on a regular basis. But with the right action plan and the right mindset, you can stop it in its tracks!
Here's something I learned:
When you get real clear about what's truly important to you and what you really want next in your life, your tendency to procrastinate quickly becomes a thing of the past, regardless of how big a procrastinator you might be right now... Really!
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