When the procrastination bug strikes, suddenly clipping your big toenail is the most pressing thing on your to-do list. Or perhaps you suddenly have the undeniable urge to investigate Shania Twain’s Wikipedia page.
Or maybe NOW is the only time to clean out the pantry?
You may know the feeling.
Here are ten helpful tips on how to beat procrastination when it hits, and finally finish that qualification that you have been meaning to finish for too long already.
Step 1. Make a decision
Just do something! Procrastination often comes from the fear of making a decision. Whether it’s left or right, blue or red, portrait or landscape; just make a choice. If you find out later down the track it was the wrong decision, you can say you learnt something and change it.
Step 2. Write it out
Take some time to reflect on your self-sabotaging behaviour. Write down what you do when you procrastinate, then on a separate piece of paper write down the exact opposite behaviour with “I am so happy and grateful that…” at the beginning. It may get your mind thinking about how good it will feel to finally finish that Dual Diploma of Business and Diploma of Business Administration, for example.
Step 3. Chop it up
Sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t know where to begin. Break large projects into milestones, and then into small, actionable steps. It’s just one unit at a time.
Step 4. Quiet your mind
This one might surprise you, but meditation is one of the most effective ways to get rid of self-sabotaging behaviour, including procrastination.
Step 5. Stop trying to be perfect
Perfectionism is an illusion that slows you down and prevents you from reaching your goal. Act quickly, doing the best you can.
Step 6. Partner up
Find someone who is seeking the same outcome as you or even a group of people that you can meet up with regularly. Is there someone at work who is completing an online course? Do you have a friend who has university study to do? Make a pact to take the time to study together, this will help to hold yourself accountable for the tasks and goals you are trying to achieve.
Step 7. Take a closer look
What is it that you really want? Think about why you have this thing on your list. Will it get you closer to your goals? Is it actually someone else’s idea of what you should achieve and that’s why you can’t find the motivation for it?
Step 8. Put it on your gratitude list
Write down a list of things you are grateful for and include how grateful you are that you started your course at Fortress Learning and how well it is going. Again, this will change the negative emotions you are feeling towards the project and start creating positive ones.
Step 9. Reward yourself for taking action
Make a deal with yourself that once you have accomplished a unit or even a small part of a unit, you get to give yourself a reward. This may be sitting down to have a coffee, watching a movie or having a relaxing bath whilst listening to Shania Twain. Do whatever you can to feel good about overcoming procrastination.
Step 10. Adjust your attitude
Procrastination can put your life on pause. Stop being so hard on yourself and fearing failure or thinking that you won’t do it right. Get a can-do attitude and back yourself more. Whether you succeed or fail, remember it is all a learning experience.
This article was published on the Proctor Gallagher Institute by Sandy Gallagher and has been modified.