Lately, I feel like I’ve been distracted by anything – ooo look, a butterfly – and I found myself procrastinating. Dangerously.
Then my workload exploded, last week’s post became as relevant as ever, and procrastination caused more pain than simply doing what I needed to do.
I actually wrote this, “Procrastination is self-sabotage” and put it in red at the top of my to-do list. Every time I caught myself fluffing (helloooo Instagram) I would force myself to look at it.
Procrastination is behaviour I’m making a conscious effort to identify and change. I think it’s something we all struggle with – and if you don’t, then my hat is off to you – and so here I’m sharing some thoughts and tips on how to beat it.
Procrastination is a source of unnecessary stress
For some reason I enjoy working under pressure, and so to make that happen I either increase my workload or I procrastinate until my deadline is looming. But motivating myself to work via deadline stress is not healthy. This article by Muse Magazine shows some studies that link procrastination to mental health. It’s eye opening; we joke about procrastinating, but the potential negative consequences of it reinforces that it’s a habit to kick.
Pinpoint the source of your procrastination
What makes you procrastinate? Understanding what makes you avoid or put things off will help you change your behaviour. The Conversation discusses some interesting sources of procrastination, and some of their points made me cringe because they rang true.
Next time you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself why. Identify some things you can change up in your work methods so that you can swap out procrastination for getting stuff done.
After having a think about the sources of my own procrastination, I’ve decided to:
- Work in shorter bursts but with more focus
- Write on my to-do list only the things that need to be done
- Tackle difficult tasks in the morning; this is when I work best
- Put my phone somewhere away from me
Use your time with more intention
This isn’t about being go-go-go all the time. To work at full capacity continuously you’re either a machine or you’d probably approach burnout.
Instead, it’s about using your time with more intention. It’s about knowing how to focus when you need to, and balancing work with rest to achieve the outcomes you need.
Instead of aiming to feel busy, stressed or using adrenaline to get things done, I want to shift my focus to slowing down, using my time with more intention, and enjoying the journey towards hitting the goals I set.
At the end of the day, that sense of accomplishment is a far better feeling than the guilt of avoidance. Get stuff done, and you’ll wonder why you procrastinated in the first place.
Trust me. Future You will thank Present You.