Have you ever said you were going to do something and then did everything in your power to not do it? Chances are you have and you are not alone. This delay or act of not doing something is referred to as procrastination and could be caused by several factors including: a lack of motivation, poor planning or even fear. Procrastination is something that affects everyone sometime in their life, more often than not. It’s funny how important cleaning your room (something you normally dread) becomes when you need to study for an exam or complete an assignment; you shift your focus and look for every excuse that will help you avoid doing what it is you said you would do.
Think about it. How would you feel if you told someone you would do something and left it to the last minute, or worse how would you feel if you all you ended up doing instead was waste valuable time and not complete the task at all? I have done this too many times in the past and wrote about it in my recent post entitled: The Importance of Following Through.
Break it Down
When thinking of how to complete a task, some people tend to look at the big picture and the task as a whole and quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged. An interesting and important concept that I learned from Anthony Robbins Personal Power II series is that every action is based upon which option helps you avoid pain and gain more pleasure, at that moment in time. So when people procrastinate, they tend to associate fear to the task and feel overwhelmed, i.e.) they view it as more painful to complete the task, then they do pleasure. They start to think of other things that would cause them more pleasure and less pain, thus avoiding the task at hand. The more manageable way to complete any task is to break it down into smaller, less daunting subtasks. Make sure to take it one step at a time and reward yourself along the way.
Make a schedule
Now that you have established your subtasks, make a list in your calendar or planner, either paper-based or digital to organize yourself and give yourself a visual of what needs to be done. Some of the apps that I have found helpful and use on my phone are Google Calendar, which allows you to enter tasks with reminders and Color Note, a sticky note apps that allows you to add customizable (to-do) lists/widgets to your home screen.
Focus and Relax
In this technology crazed world sometimes it is nice to just unplug and ignore the hustle and bustle of social media. For the past week or so I spent some time on my well-being by meditating, reading a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and just taking some time to relax. I can honestly say that I am feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or need to recharge your inner self, take a step back to relax and in turn rejuvenate yourself.
Next you have to think about your goal/task and embody the way you will feel once you have completed your task. If you are looking for some unique motivation check out Eric Thomas aka ET the Hip hop Preacher. I started watching his videos a few years ago on YouTube. However, it wasn’t until this year that I actually used what he had taught me. The series that I am recommending is his (Thank God it’s Monday) TGIM series. He is not only motivational, he is also relatable and does not sugar coat anything!
Increase Your Productivity
Once you have recharged and are motivated, you are ready to get to work! If you need some help, there are many apps that can help you with your productivity, such as the ever popular Pomodoro. This timer based app enables you work productively in 25 minute intervals and then rewards you with either short or long breaks, 5 to 10 minutes respectively. For those who start surfing the internet unnecessarily and find it hard to avoid online distractions, there is a more intense version called Strict Workflow. This is similar to the traditional timer but it denies you access to certain websites i.e.) social media sites, gaming sites, etc., until you have earned a break. Kanban Flow is another great tool that is helpful in increasing your productivity and keeping you on track to meet all of your deadlines.
Start and Finish
Now that you have a toolbox that you can utilize, you should feel more prepared and establish what you need to do. The only thing left to do is start! Once you finally complete the task, you will feel so much better and relieved. This means that you will be less stressed and have time to do other things, with ease and without guilt. So fight the urge to procrastinate and pass by the delay and excuses and just do it. Once you take that initial step to completing that task or goal, you will start to enjoy the work. You will also have more confidence in your ability to deliver and feel happier. Procrastination means the difference between success and failure, when you procrastinate, all you do is waste precious time that you can’t get back.
From the words of Tony Robbins, “We can do whatever we want, but what counts is what we WILL do.”.
Go forth and achieve your dreams.
Stay strong and beautiful!
How do you get motivated? How do you beat procrastination?