Notice this is posted on Thursday and not Monday? I have been dealing with a case of procrastination. And I even procrastinated on a project for the entire month of October. Now it’s November! How did I let things go for an entire month?
I decided this month, I am going to control my procrastination and wanted to share some tips on how to get things done.
Why are we procrastinating?
First, we need to identify what is causing the procrastination. Why are we resisting the goals we need or want to do? I have been using excuses like “I’m tired,” “I don’t feel like it,” “I’ll do it tomorrow when I’m in a better mindset,” “I don’t have time today,” etc. I realized the truth was I was actually really unmotivated. I have some life pressures that have been clouding my thoughts and bogging me down.
So we need to get rid of these thoughts, don’t we?
Lavendaire had a video about the Power of Now. When we think about the past or future, we can get feelings of anxiety, guilt, or stress. When thinking about how things were and how we want them to be, we tend to forget about what is happening right now. Personally, I keep thinking about student loans and the future and how I feel I have been going nowhere since graduating college. These thoughts were making it hard for me to do the projects I want like finishing a novel or even writing for this blog. I thought: what was the point?
The point, I realized, was that I wanted to. How am I going to be happy if I keep putting of the things I want to do – writing – in favor of thoughts and actions that do not help me pursue my goals? How is sitting around watching TV I am not even interested in every night helping me reach anything?
But it needs to be perfect …
Another thought that may be hindering your productivity is perfectionism. I’ve written and rewritten the first three chapters of my book numerous times, trying to make everything perfect. But perfect actually doesn’t make projects. It is keeping me from moving forward. Hank Green explained that he is so productive with his projects because he does 80 percent of what he considers perfect. The outcome? More completed projects and less stress.
You can always try meditation or revisit the reasons why you would like to accomplish this project. You could be writing a research essay for class because you would like an A and if you start now, you will have time during the weekend to relax. Or you want to paint because you haven’t in awhile and you want to get back into it. You want to start exercising because sports season is coming up and you want to be prepared.
No matter what the reason, even if it just is “because I want to,” that still makes it important enough to make time for it.
So how do we make time for these endeavors?
Working full-time and trying to be social, coursework, and other responsibilities might be in the way of your productivity. You might think you don’t have time. But there are ways to section out even just a little time to work on a project or task. Try prioritizing what needs to be done. Tackle the big and due-soon tasks first. Once the looming responsibilities are out of the way, it becomes easier to focus on the other tasks.
It might also help to break whatever bigger task you have into smaller, more manageable steps. I can’t write a novel in one night. I am just not that good. So we break it down by day. Write maybe 500 words every day, and maybe even adjusting that number to better fit whatever schedule I may have that week. The purpose is to start and works towards it.
Next, map out time when you are going to work on something. Block out a chunk of time and set a timer. In that time, do not look at anything else. No notifications, put your phone on “do not disturb.” Just focus on what you have in front of you in that time.
Now we have the plan, but how do you start? Where to begin?
Where do I start?
Sit down, or stand depending on what you are trying to do, and get it started. Going to the gym? Get off your butt, change, and go. Writing? Sit your butt down and start. Just go. Do something towards whatever goal you are trying to achieve no matter how small the step is.
Once again, Lavendaire suggests taking the easiest or smallest next step towards your goal to get you started. What better way to get in the mood to do something than to divulge yourself in an easily accomplished task? It feels good to get something done, and you might be motivated to continue with the following steps. Then you hopefully will enter your “flow” state and become more focused.
Try not to spend too much time planning either. You can’t complete a project if you just keep trying to optimize your planning. You need to take some action.
Take it easy, kid
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just do the things you love because you love them, and not because you need to prove something to someone else. Kalyn Nicholson suggests trying to be positive and not holding yourself to unrealistic expectations. Doing the things you love for yourself will help those thoughts of failure and doubts go away. This is for you, fam.
So there you have it. Some tips on how to control procrastination and some videos to help you learn how (the links are all youtube videos). If you have any personal tips you would like to share, share below or @ me on Twitter about it! @renadeer.