Do you sometimes catch yourself wasting time and avoiding getting a project finished, or do you often make excuses not to spend time on practising your skill? If so, you’re not alone! Procrastination is a really common issue for many people, both at work and at home.
At some point though, procrastination will start causing you stress because you won’t get anything completed on time (or potentially never).
So here are a few simple steps to get on top of that procrastination habit that I discussed in my Mindset Mastery group for Creatives recently (I’d love to see you there by the way, so come and join).
1. Understand your procrastination
Why do you leave important things until the last minute and waste time on other activities?
Psychologists and neuroscientists have been studying the brain and emotions for decades to understand procrastination and looked at why people put things aside despite knowing they’re important. Some researchers believe self-esteem and world views affect procrastination levels: People who have low self-esteem and negative world views might be more likely to avoid doing important things on time. They also might be more likely to see no point in completing tasks.
It doesn’t have to be that glum though: Sometimes, procrastination can simply be a habit.
2. Break up the work
Are the steps you’re seeking to take actionable?
One reason for procrastination is that large assignments can seem overwhelming and too difficult to finish. If you break up things into smaller chunks, you’re much more likely to stay motivated. Timelines and schedules can also help you stay on track.
3. Recognise your “procrastination activities”
Do you watch TV instead of working on your project? Are you checking social media instead of practising? Track and analyze your activities. What do you do while you procrastinate? If you examine these activities and thoughts, you can often catch them before they happen.
4. Get others involved
You may need to rope in friends or family. They can help you set goals, keep an eye on you, and stop you from procrastinating. If you have a friend who is also trying to accomplish an important goal, then working together can make the process easier. You can inspire each other to stay focused and finish.
5. Stop making excuses
Do you find yourself making multiple excuses for not finishing a project? Do you blame your health or the health of others? Do you complain about the amount of work or lack of instructions? Common excuses also include thinking that you “can finish it faster if you are on a tight deadline” (aka not finishing unless there’s pressure), or blaming your mood. Another common excuse, especially for creatives and artists, is waiting for the time to be right, or that things need to be perfect. Instead of coming up with reasons not to complete an assignment, focus on getting started, and just keep going.
Procrastination doesn’t have to be a permanent habit in your creative life. If these tips feel hard to implement on your own, I’ll happily develop an action plan for you. Feel free to contact me any time for a session.
What are your “procrastination busters”, or when do you find it hardest not to procrastinate? Leave your thoughts in the comments, I’m looking forward to discussing them with you!
© Petra Borzynski 2018