We all know how to get things done. You simply follow a set of steps:
- Determine what you need to get done
- Understand your motivations for getting it done
- Break it down into smaller sub-tasks if necessary
- Decide you are going to do it
- Do it
So why do we all procrastinate? Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted? Why do we put off doing something that we need to get done?
Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder. -Mason Cooley
There are a few common reasons:
1. Fear. Maybe it’s a fear of failure or success or simply the unknown. The most important thing to know is that you can do something to move through that fear. If a task seems difficult or time consuming, break it down into smaller tasks that are easier to manage. If there is a bit of unknown, focus on the positive good outcomes of getting this done rather than the negative or fearful aspects. Look for the joy in the task and hold onto that.
2. Instant gratification aka laziness. Fix this by holding yourself accountable. Set your intentions on social media, get a buddy to work towards goals with, or ask a friend to help. Find ways to set and hold yourself accountable to your time frames.
3. Distractions. Set time aside. Meditate for five minutes to focus your mind. Use paper and pen instead of a computer. Turn off notifications, if you must use your computer for the task. Use a time-bound hack, like working for 30 minutes on something you need to get done, then rewarding yourself with 10 minutes of doing something fun, repeating this as often as necessary. Or try working for 10 minutes blocks at a time if something seems really overwhelming. Sometimes just getting started is enough to move past the distractions (and fears!).
4. Maybe you don’t actually need to do that task. Sometimes you have to say no to doing things. Is this task really important? Is it beneficial to you? Is it necessary for you to complete it? Sometimes the key to overcoming procrastination is identifying what does, and what doesn’t, actually need to get done.