21 Ways of Getting Things Done
In this series we’ll take a look at the reasons people procrastinate and tips on overcoming the habit.
Strategy 5: Do Some Detective Work
Habits are hard to break until you understand them, including the habit of procrastinating. Let’s say you bite your nails and you’ve always wanted to quit doing that. You begin to notice that you only bite your nails when you’re worried about something. Now that you know what triggers the habit, you’re able to look for other was to deal with worry, whether that’s chewing gum, meditating, saying a prayer, or keeping your hands busily engaged in something constructive (like doing dishes or weeding the garden).
Likewise, understanding why you procrastinate is helpful in overcoming the habit. The next time you find yourself procrastinating, stop the procrastination activity occupying your time, get up from your seat and ask yourself, “What’s really happening? Why am I avoiding getting ‘xyz’ done?”
Be a detective. Figure out if you’re simply daunted by the thought of starting a difficult task, or if you simply hate doing that particular chore, or if you’re angry over being put in a position of having to do a certain project. Maybe you feel resentful because you have to work late or pick up after someone else who didn’t follow through. Try to discover what’s really behind your procrastination. By getting in touch with your real feelings, you’ll be better equipped to find the right solution to that particular procrastination moment.
If you’re procrastinating because you hate a certain activity (cleaning the bathroom or picking up dog poop from your back yard, for instance); see if your budget will allow for hiring someone to come in and do that on a monthly basis. If it’s a matter of resenting having to do someone else’s job—whether at work or at home—arrange to sit down with that person and calmly work out a better solution. Maybe you find a certain task to be difficult or challenging, so you keep putting it off, like changing the oil in your car or cleaning leaves out of the rain-gutters. Don’t be shy to ask for help! Is there a spouse, neighbor, or friend willing to help you with the activity or keep you company while you’re doing it? Turn it into a little “party;” reward yourself and your helper for completing the task by going out for pizza or ice cream (or something healthy like going to a movie or getting a pedicure).
Getting to the bottom of why you procrastinate can be a great boon to overcoming the habit!
Strategy 4: Put the Devices Down < > Strategy 6 (coming soon)