Do you know one person who admits they like to procrastinate? Do you know one person who doesn’t procrastinate? I don’t either.
We all procrastinate and we all have our reasons for doing it…other things are more fun…we love the pressure of deadlines…we don’t know where/how/when/what to do to start doing something…we’re afraid of failing…etc. Go ahead…add your reasons.
But all of our reasons for procrastinating don’t matter. What matters when we procrastinate is two-fold. First, we feel terrible about ourselves, we get depressed, we get anxious and stressed, we talk negatively about and to ourselves. And two, we never get anything done.
Procrastination is not a lack of will power. Will power doesn’t work. Procrastination is a sign of poor self-regulation. Scientists compare the poor self-regulation involved with procrastination to the poor self-regulation involved with drug and alcohol use. And like alcohol and drug use, procrastination is a habit that sneaks into our systems.
Procrastination doesn’t really have anything to do with the task at hand regardless how small or large or important or insignificant that task is. Procrastination is a habit.
What does it take to modify, change or break a habit? It takes courage…courage to make a bold move to step out of our comfort zones.
Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister, research scientists and psychologists, have developed a plan of action under the auspices of the American Psychological Association that has been proven effective to overcome the habit of procrastination.
- Create self-imposed deadlines – deadlines create urgency.
- Create accountability systems – do this with a coach or friend to who you are committed – creates responsibility.
- Work in intervals – helps to improve your focus.
- Exercise 30 minutes daily – gives you more energy.
- Healthy diet – gives you more energy.
- Eliminate distractions – takes away temptations.
- Internal motivation – this is why you do what you do.
If you don’t know why you do what you do, make something up.
If you do know why you do what you do, each task you do, regardless of how small/large/insignificant/important, becomes part of your bigger picture.