Find yourself putting off tasks? You might be a procrastinator!

I’m a “get it done” kind of gal. I don’t like things hanging over my head or on my what seems to be a never-ending To-D0 list. I am organized and I do accomplish a lot in one day.

So I would not classify myself as a procrastinator, which brings me to my next point. Have you ever read the definition of procrastination?

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“To keep  delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring. eg. I know I’ve got to deal with the problem at some point – I’m just procrastinating.” 

How can procrastination impact our lives?

Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.

So what do you think? Any of that hit home with you? Let’s face it we all procrastinate at times. We really need to clean the house, get the laundry done, make that phone call, write a report or clean out the cellar.

I don’t know about you but I know I can find plenty of other things that are more enjoyable to do. Right?

How often have you heard someone who has fallen off their workout routine say, “I need to get back to the gym” Or how about, “After the holidays I am going to cut back on sugar and lose weight?” We often say, “I will start tomorrow” or “When things calm down.”

Using excuses to justify your procrastination

We justify with excuses like “After my birthday I will cut back on sugar”. Unfortunately for most we come up with another excuse and justify it to make ourselves feel better.

By doing these things we are not able to move forward.

We are stuck in our own way and just keep putting things off. When we make excuses and keep putting off things we are not doing ourselves any favours. Lets use losing weight as an example; you plan to start cleaning up your diet, then you get invited to a party which has lots of drinks and sweet treats. Instead of having a small portion of the one thing you really want, you over indulge and put off your goal of losing weight. So you put off something that is challenging to you for something that gives you instant gratification.

Are you any closer to your goal of losing weight?

If you do this too often you will find the 15 pounds you wanted to lose will turn into 30 pounds. Every moment you don’t move forward you are taking two steps back.

Take a proactive approach to anything you do

Things can be even worse when we procrastinate about bigger things like going to the doctor, scheduling that long overdue dentist appointment, or that scheduled maintenance on your car. What about pursuing that promotion at work or that interview for your dream job.

In these cases, procrastination can be a form of self-sabotage. It keeps you stuck, wastes time and creates stress.

By going to the doctor, dentist and maintaining yourself and your car you are being proactive and keeping things healthy and maintained –  so you have noticed if there is a problem brewing. By getting the courage to go after that promotion at work or chase after your dream job you are living your life to the fullest.

Don’t wait, don’t put it off, go for it now. You don’t want to look back 10 years from now and wish you did it.

putting off tasks_2

What can you do to stop procrastinating?

Get real honest with yourself dig deep and ask yourself, Why do I keep putting this off? What is stopping me from reaching my goals? Are you
making excuses?

1) Make a To-Do List

Write things down in the order in which they need to be done. Not only will this keep you on track for the day but you will also feel like you are accomplishing more as you see the items checked off as you go.

2) Do the hardest tasks first

If you schedule the hardest or most unpleasant tasks first the rest of your day will be a breeze. Get it over with early in the day while you have the most energy and move on to things you like later in the day.

3) Give yourself a deadline

Setting a goal to accomplish a task with a deadline will certainly motivate you to get it done. Write your task with the time frame on your To-Do list and reward yourself when you accomplish it. Doesn’t have to be a huge reward. A yoga class, a manicure, a coffee break, whatever works for you.

4) Face your fears

Stop avoiding things that are unpleasant and address the real issue at hand. Figure out what is stopping you from moving forward. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

5) Tell a friend your goal

When you set a goal with a time frame and write it down tell a friend and have them hold you accountable.

6) Avoid distractions at all costs

Put the phone down, turn the TV off, stay off the computer. It will all be there when you finish the task at hand.

7) Let go of perfection or you will drive yourself crazy

Don’t multi-task!

Do your best that’s all anyone can expect, after all no-one is perfect. Do one thing at a time because multi-tasking is overrated.

Multitasking can actually be a distraction to keep you from accomplishing your goals. If you are on the phone, checking your email and trying to write a report you are not giving 100% to anything. Focus on the task at hand then move on to the next.

Focus on the end result: just think about how you will feel if you accomplished all the things you have been procrastinating about. What a good feeling that will be!

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.

Remember we are all human and no-one is perfect!

At times we ALL procrastinate. Just by recognizing the fact that we are putting off tasks is a start. Procrastination can be a form of self-sabotaging and can be very harmful in some cases. Keep a handle on it and ask for help from a family member, friend or coach so you don’t end up being stuck. After all moving forward means change will happen and that can be scary. Sometimes we just get in our own way.

The takeaway

On that note I am going to leave you with two things to think about. “It is only through change that we grow” and “Tomorrow is not guaranteed”.  So what are you waiting for? Time to get going!

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Get Healthy. Find Balance. Be Happy.

Connect with Expert Holly Walsh

References:

Procrastination Definition Cambridge Dictionaries Online

4 Reasons not to Procrastinate. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015.

Procrastination: Ten Things To Know. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015.

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