Beat Procrastination with 5 Simple Questions
Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but when procrastination becomes habit it can be a real problem…
You see, I used to be a ‘chronic procrastinator’ for a long time, until I’ve learned (and developed my own) ways to beat procrastination and get more done.
Here’s what I recommend…
Every time you catch yourself procrastinating, ask yourself these questions:
(Don’t just think about them, but really do your best to answer them in order to stop procrastinating and start taking action).
Question 1: “What am I procrastinating on?”
The idea is to identify what exactly it is that you’re avoiding doing. Then, instead of thinking about all the details, the hard work, the problems that may get in your way, just focus on the end result….
See it in your mind as vividly as possible. If it’s a small task we’re taking about, picturing the end result in your mind can be quick and simple. If it’s something bigger you may have to use some kind of visualization technique.
You can meditate, write it down, draw it, say out loud, what ever works for you.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to beat procrastination and take action. If not, move on to step 2…
Question 2: “Why am I procrastinating?”
Acknowledge the fact that you’re procrastinating, and try to figure out WHY. Ask yourself…
What’s stopping me?
Is it because I’m afraid of failing? Why is that?
Is it because it’s a boring task? What makes it so boring?
Is it because I’m not sure HOW to do it? Why? Is there some missing information? Could I use some help?
The answers to questions like these can help you beat procrastination by overcoming its causes (or by simply ignoring them and taking action in spite of them.)
Question 3: “What’s in it for me?”
Think about the project or task that you need to get done, and come up with a reason YOU WANT to do it.
There is always a desired outcome, or an undesired outcome to avoid. Figure out what it is and make it big!
What will I gain from completing this task?
What will happen if I don’t do it?
What will happen if I don’t do it now?
If I really wanted to do it, what would be the reason?
Make an effort to come up with a powerful reason, one that touches you emotionally. It may sound odd, but try it. You may find that even for simple tasks there is some really powerful reason hiding, especially if you look at the big picture.
Some powerful reasons to beat procrastination may be :
“I will gain the respect of my family” or –
“I will finally be able to relax”.
Don’t try to fool yourself, though. That would be missing the point. You need to be able to actually FEEL it.
Question 4: “What’s the next action here?”
Sometimes a project or even a task can cause us to feel overwhelmed. We try to go over the actions that we need to take, then we start coming up with all sorts of questions and worries and end up doing nothing…
Trying to figure out the best, most efficient way to go about things is not always necessary, especially if it causes in-action. In other words – planning is important, but not if it causes procrastination.
When you find yourself stuck in the thinking and planning stages, instead of actually doing, it may be time to… well, just do it! Instead of going over all the steps in your mind and become overwhelmed, simply let go of all your worries, questions and excuses…
First, try to figure out the very first action that you need to take. If you can’t decide where to start, just start with something. Anything. Start with the tiniest, even silliest action that will give you momentum in the right direction…
You want to work out? Put on your sneakers, or do just ONE pushup.
Need to study? Just open the book and read ONE line, ANY line.
Sometimes in order to beat procrastination, you just have to take some action…
Stop planning, take some action, and things will take care of themselves. (After starting, you may get ideas and information that will help you create the plan.)
Most importantly, it’s likely that once you start taking action, you will quickly gain momentum, and before you even realize it you will be deep in action, unable to stop!
Question 5: “How can I make it more fun?”
Especially when it comes to tedious and boring tasks, by giving it some thought, you may be able to come up with ways to make it easier, more interesting, more amusing, more fun!
Sometimes it can be as simple as playing some music in the background or changing to more comfortable clothes. Often some company can help, so consider inviting someone to join you. It could also be where or when you do it.
Or – just do it with a song in your heart and a smile on your face…
It may sound idiotic, but seriously, sometimes you can beat procrastination quickly, simply by changing your attitude, or your mood. That is a whole other topic, but to give you an idea – try this:
Close your eyes, inhale deeply and hold the air for a second. Then open your eyes and release the air while laughing loudly…
Don’t you feel better now? You can do this in front of a mirror to enhance the effect even further.
Don’t procrastinate on using these techniques…
Do yourself a favor and put what you’ve just learned into practice. If you need to, read it again. Next time you run into a block, try at least one of these techniques to beat procrastination. The sooner the better.
If you haven’t yet, go ahead and download ‘101 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination‘ (free e-book download for Energy & Motivation’s subscribers).
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