3 Simple Tricks to Stop Procrastinating and Living Life to the Fullest
Do you relate to any of these behaviours?
- Do you wait to do things until the last minute?
- Do you wait until Christmas Eve to go shopping?
- Do you miss appointments with the doctor and/or dentist?
- Do you make your kids late for school or are you always late to pick them up?
- Do you wait to file your taxes until the deadline?
- Are you late for everything, whether it's work or a social gathering?
If you answered yes to most of these questions then you need to look internally.
According to Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, there are three basic types of procrastinators:
- Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
- Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
(source: Psychology Today)
Is There a Cure?
In behavior science, I’ve learned that you can change your ways by changing your behaviours and modeling behaviours of successful individuals. I hate procrastinating, unless the task is not important. If I procrastinate I find that work builds up and I feel overwhelmed, and I detest feeling that way because it turns me into a nasty person. Can anyone relate?
There are ways to deal with procrastination. All you have to do is reprogram how you prioritize your tasks and figure out what motivates you.
For example, I’d rather problem solve or create or teach, rather than do admin work or clean my house. If I found myself doing admin work, I’d procrastinate because I feel I can spend my time doing other things that motivate me. Keeping my house clean is important to me, but I’d rather get someone else to do it because it drains my energy. Keeping my energy for doing things that give me joy is important.
So what are the simple tricks to stop procrastinating?
1. Start Doing and Chunk it Down.
You have to start somewhere, just start and do it one step at a time. If it's a report, get started with a paragraph. If it's clearing out old clothing then work closet by closet – if something feels overwhelming to you and that puts you off, find a way to chunk it down further. This past week, I had quite a bit of to do and it was difficult to just keep all that information in my head. I decided to write one to two tasks for each day and once I saw it on paper, I felt that accomplishing those tasks is possible. What did I get done, you ask?
- Applying to two conferences as a resilience expert and speaker.
- Completed first draft of a slide presentation on “Leadership Impact” for my group coaching course and sent it off to my VA to format.
- Getting all marketing ready, with my team, for launching my third book, “Resilience During Your Breast Cancer Journey” on July 17 – 19.
- Working on developing a course for a volunteer organization on “Resiliency in Children”.
- Invited a guest to be on my show, Thrive in Life.
Productivity is about how much you accomplish rather than how busy you are. Therefore, it’s important that you LEARN how to work more efficiently. Download my system of prioritizing by clicking here! (no opt-in email required)
3. A Reward System.
Human beings are programmed to do well when they know there’s a reward to be had. Whether it’s a bonus after you meet your sales quota or recognition of being top three - there’s something about rewards that lights a fire.
However, there are things that you have to do that may not have rewards systems attached to it, so why not create one for yourself! If you tackle the ironing pile then you can treat yourself to a half hour of whatever you want. If you completed a phase in your project, go watch a movie. If you made an amazing sale, go home early and take your partner out for dinner. Stay away from rewarding yourself with comfort eating.
If you procrastinate, then it's time to take action. While you may think it's no big deal, the truth is that it can stop you from living the life that you want. You may feel as though you're functioning just fine, but just because you've gotten through the setbacks thus far doesn't mean they won't eventually catch up with you.
It will reach a point where it is disruptive to your life and it can affect how people view you. Living life as a chronic procrastinator is not a comfortable one. In fact, you're more likely to experience regret.
Now, go complete one task.