Hamlet was not the only one who struggled with procrastination. We all have been there, done that. In fact, there would hardly be anyone who has never been guilty of procrastinating at one point or another in his or her life. This human flaw of inaction and deferring tasks to tomorrow or distant future is engraved deep into his psyche. However, beyond a certain limit, procrastination may turn into a nuisance and have detrimental effects on the mental health of a chronic procrastinator whose mind is constantly troubled by the sense of pendency of an important task and a conflicting lack of will to apply himself to that very task. Here are some easy ways for you to overcome procrastination and get things done:
Accept that you are procrastinating: First and foremost, you need to recognize and accept that you are actually procrastinating. Stop passing the buck and admit that it is you who is putting off the task and not the external factors that are making you do it. Know that you are procrastinating if you are filling your days with low-priority tasks, not taking up an important work for too long or waiting to get in the right mood to perform that task. Once you know you are procrastinating, it is easier to understand that the next step is nothing but to act.
Break your work into smaller tasks: One of the reasons why we procrastinate is because the work, at times, feels too big and overwhelming. The best way to approach a big task is to break it into smaller sections, thus turning a mammoth work into a more manageable one comprising do-able fragments. Taking up one section at a time will not only make it appear more achievable but also reduce the pressure of completing it all in one go. Keep breaking down the task further until you find it so simple to not overwhelm you.
Tell people about your goals: The best way to not fall prey to procrastination is to let others know of your plans. This will make them curious and they would ask you about the updates on those projects. This will not only keep you motivated to be ready with something to tell them about, but the appreciation you receive on your progress and people’s interest will give you a sense of purpose and encouragement.
Cultivate the right attitude: As they say, “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. It takes you nowhere.” Every single task in this world is accomplished with intent to begin. Try to cultivate optimism and confidence in you. Make yourself believe that you have what it takes. Inculcate the correct attitude in you, stay positive about the outcome, and focus more on the process rather than the result.
Forgive yourself for past procrastination: Oftentimes we keep fretting over our past mistakes instead of making any positive change in our present. Forgive yourself for the time you have wasted in the past and take action.
Make a commitment today: Commit to yourself and don’t defer the first move to tomorrow. Step out of your comfort zone and push yourself a little harder. Keep doing that for a couple of days. Once a few days pass by, you would realize that you have already picked up momentum and a substantial amount of work has already been done. This will motivate you further and help you get rid of procrastination.
Don’t be afraid of failure: Another major reason why people procrastinate is that they are afraid of failure; especially the ones who are perfectionists are inevitably more prone to procrastination.
Setting high standards is not a bad thing but being paranoid about them may have a considerably negative impact on people’s efficiency and outcome because while targeting perfectionism, they unconsciously convince themselves that there’s no way they’ll be able to meet those standards and therefore, just let the task linger on.
It is, therefore, pertinent to not let the fear of not being able to attain perfection get in the way of your progress. In this context, it is wise to bear in mind what the American writer Jodi Picoult said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Never forget that it is more important to do something, even if imperfectly, rather than not do anything at all just because you think you can’t do it perfectly.