This article is part of the series identifying and challenging behaviors that are getting in the way of positive change.
I recently wrote about what procrastination isn’t and a bit about what it is, or what it might be. You can find that post here. I believe one of the biggest misnomers about procrastination is that it is synonymous with being “lazy”. Not only do I think that procrastination has nothing to do with being “lazy” but that the “lazy” label also hurts our efforts to deal with it. So the first step to dealing with procrastination is to drop the “lazy” label because it promotes shame. Nothing will get a person to avoid something quicker than feeling shame in their behavior.
So, there’s the first step. Drop the shame. And if you’re someone who is trying to get someone else to stop procrastinating, stop shaming them. The next step would be to own your procrastination as to enable you deal with it.
Here are 5 ways to deal with procrastination:
1. Get started. Just start.
You might make an agreement with yourself. It would state that if the activity is as indeed miserable as you imagined it would be, you can stop. Commit to a few minutes of doing the task. If it’s horrible, walk away. Minimize the over inflation of the difficulty of the task by simply focusing on starting the task. Just start. Do nothing more.
2. Once you’ve started, notice how it feels to start and get active in doing the task.
No, really. Pay attention to your mood and energy level. Has it shifted? Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Begin to notice and associate good feelings and sensations with doing and accomplishing tasks.
3. Write things down.
Get the clutter out of your head first by organizing your thoughts on paper. You’ll be surprised how much easier things seem once you stop thinking about how much you hate doing them in your head.
4. Prioritize your task list and do the most enjoyable, or least painful things, first.
Get into a good rhythm by doing something that’s not so bad. For example, if you like mowing the lawn more than the grocery store, do that first. Do you like washing the car more than cleaning the gutters? Do that first. Focus on the doing and not the feelings and thoughts of being overwhelmed.
5. Pay for someone else to do it.
Can you afford to hire someone to mow the lawn or clean the gutters? Ask yourself how much your time and mental energy is worth to you. If you can spare a few bucks don’t be embarrassed to hire the neighborhood kid to take care of the lawn or rake the leaves. This will leave more time for you to do the things that you like doing. Or it might make more time for you to do the things that are higher on your list of priorities. Those things which you CAN’T pay someone to do.
This list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it meant to be a cure all. What are some ways that you find helpful in dealing with procrastination?
About the Author
John Harrison is a licensed health counselor and coach. He works with individuals and couples to help them get unstuck. He helps empower them in getting what they want out of life and assists struggling souls done tolerating their old ways of navigating their world.