How can I stop procrastinating?
Today, I got a lot of stuff done, but I was procrastinating. I only had one really important task on my things to do list today and now it is going to be the last task I accomplish. If you are a busy person, you can perhaps relate to this. For those who are familiar with the Eisenhower prioritization matrix, I completed tons of Quadrant 2 and Quadrant 4 items, i.e. the items that are important but not urgent or neither important or urgent. I was tackling tasks as a way to procrastinate from the one item I wanted to accomplish today, write a blog for this website. Now I find myself doing that one item at 10:00PM EST. This is ludicrous. My only important task for today is the last task I’m going to complete tonight. Because I procrastinated all day, I decided to write this post and provide you 10 ways to beat procrastination.
It’s been a long time since I’ve found myself in this predicament. I am one who typically avoids procrastination. I won’t even begin to analyze why today was different, but I’ll tackle that another time as I have to get this article published before midnight. This made me curious about how many people are chronic procrastinators. According to some cool statistics about procrastinators, 26% population admit to being chronic procrastinators whereas roughly 20% of population is affected by procrastination. I think the 20% seem low, but I’m just guessing.
My actions today was puzzling as I have learned to hold myself accountable to my word about my affairs. I am really good at being accountable to others, and it has taken me many, many years to learn to honor myself the same way. I use to put my priorities second to everyone else, but not now. This brings me to the #1 way to beat procrastination.
10 Ways to Beat Procrastination:
1) Honor your word to yourself. You must do for you what you say you are going to do for you. You cannot waiver and allow yourself to put off your important tasks, particularly if you are a hard worker that would not accept that in the work environment. Hold yourself accountable.
I was well aware I was procrastinating all day. I decided instead of writing the post, I would plant flowers, go internet shopping for living room rug, watch HGTV, have a long conversation with my niece about goals, prep the living room to paint next weekend, plan my father’s 90th birthday party, and do some support tasks for my online affiliate marketing business. One would think I was productive, but I know, unless I accomplish my important tasks, Quad 1 on the Eisenhower Matrix, then I am really not productive at all.
What I should have done was:
2) Just do it. I should have tackled it in the morning. It is best to get your important tasks done as early as possible, before checking emails and texts, and definitely before getting on a leisure call. Had I adhered to this rule for avoiding procrastination, I would have gotten off to a great start and at least outlined the post and gathered relevant ideas while having morning cup of coffee.
Once I realized that half the day was gone and I had not tackled the important task because of procrastination, I should have tried the following:
3) Use those other tasks as a reward to getting the important task done. I should have decided not to go get plants until I picked a topic and completed the first paragraph. If I had done that, I would have definitely been finished by now. I have 50 minutes before midnight. This is avoidable pressure.
4) Combine what you have to do or what you are dreading with something you enjoy. I could have brainstormed about my post with my niece while we were talking, or I could have searched for photos for my post while I was half-way watching TV.
5) Avoid pitfalls and comfort zones. I should have packed my laptop up and went to the library. Every time I went in the kitchen, I would eat. Every time I went in the living room, I kept thinking of ways to rearrange it; then I would explore designs and search for items online. My house was the trigger for procrastination today.
Well you may be thinking that I am full of answers about what I should have or could have done. If only I had implemented them sooner. I am well aware of how to avoid procrastination and the pain of giving into procrastination. As a result, I want to share with you a couple other ways to beat it:
6) Develop a daily routine and habit of getting important tasks done early when possible.
7) Don’t over commit yourself. Focus only on the priorities of the day.
8) If TV is your distraction, record your favorite shows to watch at a later time.
9) Create a consequence that is immediate for not starting the task early.
10) Ask for help. Find someone who can help you get started or motivate you to get started. Don’t fight alone.
I hope you can learn from my day. In the end (11:52 PM EST), I beat procrastination with 8 minutes remaining but it came with a price, another late night writing when I should be in the bed. I hope these tips help you to avoid playing around with procrastination.
Let me know in a comment below what do you do to avoid procrastination and late nights?