How to Stop Procrastination

Mary found out earily that she can avoid doing any particular task in class if she simply said “I don’t know”. Her teacher did not challenge her either.  These three words also worked well in group work.  No one challenged her.  By simply feigning a lack of knowledge, she had given herself freedom from doing many things. At home, the situation was a little different. In order to get away from doing any chores she created a number of excuses. One time it was due to some ill feeling, or that she thought the chore was beneath her. She argued that Jan and Jeremy, her younger brother and sister, should start doing those chores.  

Mary was not aware of these negative actions. She simply thought they were normal. Everyone does it. What she did not notice was that she was getting really good at procrasting.  She did not notice she was losing interest in many things she onced enjoyed and worst her grades were failing. This was certainly not a good position to be in. She was soon labelled rebellious, lazy, and aggressive. Not a good label. Mary needed rehabilitation from that label, if she ever realized it.

Image: “Beatrice”, painting by Marie Spartali Stillman (source).

Procrastination is a bad habit. 

Like Mary, most procrastators are very good at avoiding what needs to be done. However, procrastinators should really exam why they feel the need to avoid what they should be doing. If you are one who procrastinates, you should consider that you may be avoiding what needs to be done because of your fear of failure. Maybe, you have experienced failure in the past. Your “new” excuse of procrastination now does not help you build your good characcter. Instead you end up missing out on many things, new experiences that could help you grow, learn and enjoy life. You will definitely have to change your mindset if you want to have a fulfilling life.

It will not be easy changing your mindset for it means you will have to remove yourself from that familiar comfort zone of excuses. This means no more saying things like, “I don’t know“, “I am feeling ill“, “ It doesn’t matter“, “I need to do this first“, “I need more information“, “I have too much to do already,” “I am feeling overwhelmed“,”I forgot”, “I don’t feel like doing it”, “I don’t need to know this right now”… The list can be long. So start thinking of the many excuses you have used in the past to avoid what you should be doing. You will need to avoid saying them altogether. You need to avoid paralysing your mind and this is a sure way to do it.

Defeating Procrastination

You can defeat that dangerous “procrastinator mindset“. By now you would notice that procrastination is beyond the popular excuse of laziness.  Therefore your excises to overcome procrastination begins in your mind. Begin your exercise by take a note of all the things you should be doingand you have avoided. These are the first list of things you should get done. It is now your responsibility in getting them done without any of your regular excuses.

Next, you should map out a plan to get the various tasked completed. You should consider in your plan obstacles that could cause you to fall back to your previous mindset and abandon your task. Don’t forget to include a time frame for each task. Try to stick to the time frame and avoid any excuse that could cause you to renege on your goals.When a task is done, check it out, congratulate yourself, and perhaps celebrate little.

Another thing you can do to ensure you commit to your new mindset is by keeping a journal where you would record a list of tasks you must complete to date. Now, keeping a journal could be enjoyable. It forces you to be honest with yourself concerning your tasks. You can document how you manage to overcome temptations along the way; reason why you did not complete a given task, and the excuse you made. A journal will help you understand the extend of your procrastinating habit. This will help you find ways to complete tasks and it can be a pretty good motivating tool and confidence builder.

Your state of mind affects your success. A happy mindset is rewarding. Challenges are never a set back. However, don’t forget that your body could also contribute to the feeling of procrastination.  So eat well and remember you can get ahead easily if your body is fresh and well rested.

Does and Don’ts of Procrastination

Finally, here are some DON”Ts and DOs concerning procrastination. The following list will help you get ahead.

  • Avoid multi-tasking. Procrastinators are more likely than others to avoid work if they are engage in too much tasks at once.
  • Do break up the task in easy to accomplish pieces and within realistic time limits.  Congratulate yourself when it is one.
  • Do commit to the task. You should therefore not postpone or delivery completion.
  • Do get rid of any distractions. Create workstations that are free from clutter and intrusion while you are at work.
  • Do keep a positive mindset. Associate yourself with positive people, read positive books that motivate you to achieve your goals.

Keep moving forward, don’t let procrastination keep you back.