Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.
Procrastination is the disease of the third millennium. I don’t know even one person who doesn’t procrastinate. We all suffer from it — someone more, someone less — but we all are infected.
Luckily, there is a cure. A way out. It is a little painful, but absolutely affordable.
If you want to heal, look through these 7 simple tips and start following them right after.
Get the right idea.
1. Be honest.
Admit you’re a procrastinator. It’s the only way to take the right direction. Admit you have a problem, otherwise, all your work will not make any sense.
If you didn’t do something you had to do for a long time, just confess you met none significant obstacles; you procrastinated.
Be sincere with yourself. Truth is the key to new organized life.
2. Overcome your fear.
Generally, fear of failure is the main reason for procrastination. This way, overcoming it is your main task on the way to finally make decisions and carry responsibility.
It’s not easy, sure. Fear is one of the strongest emotions and it rules our mind just like that.
However, you shouldn’t stick to this fact as to excuse. Everyone is afraid. Students before their first day at school, doctors before a surgery, moms before giving birth.
The nature of these fears is different, but the only way to overcome them is to do that frightens you.
Take a deep breath and start to work on having things done. It stops being frightening the moment you dive into it.
3. Find meaning.
Meaning is something that keeps us alive.
Even those who claim our existence has no meaning (so the wisest decision is to enjoy it all the time) actually chose the meaning of life that suits them the most — having fun. This way, they live their lives to the fullest and feel satisfied.
To get things done and make decisions, you need to find meaning in your work. And it doesn’t have to be common. On the contrary, it should be unique and it has to work for you.
For example, you’re assigned to write five essays till the end of the month. Why is it important to start writing them as soon as possible? There are plenty of answers:
- You want to impress your professor.
- You want that smart girl/boy to notice you.
- You want to visit your friends on the weekend and you want to feel relaxed there.
- You want to get rid of this task as fast as you can and spend more time on your passion.
Think how you will benefit if you concentrate on your task and do it now.
Remember, every step brings you closer to your dream if you take it with the appropriate intention.
4. Believe in yourself.
Doubts and uncertainty are okay. Every reasoning person has them. But lack of faith is ruinous. It will lead you nowhere and will cause indecisiveness.
It’s not enough to make yourself do something. You have to believe you can do it. You have to trust yourself and believe in your final goal.
After you learn to make decisions, badmouthing people will not disappear. There will always be some reasons or people that will make you want to give up.
The only person who can save you from those intrigues is you. So, become your most dedicated fan and act boldly.
Pick up good habits.
5. Take one step at a time.
Another important issue that makes a person keep procrastinating is a desire to do everything at once and finish with it. Usually, it’s impossible. And after a few attempts, a procrastinator gives up.
To prevent such endings, divide your work into parts. It’s better to spend 15 minutes a day on your task, then leave it to fate.
Slow movement is still movement. Just get going.
6. Disconnect from the Internet.
Oh, yes! Here is the thing that neither patience nor faith will beat. If you really want to stop procrastinating and make a decision, disconnect from social media, YouTube channels and turn off all updates. Switch your phone to airplane mode and focus on your task.
Set a time free from online presence. Again, it doesn’t have to be a long period.
To start, free yourself from the Internet for 30 minutes a day.
It’s not that long, right? Then, having eliminated the distractions, sit down and do the things according to your schedule (see the previous tip).
7. Set a deadline.
What am I talking about? You trust yourself and found meaning, so nothing can confuse you. Well, you’re mistaken. There is something that can. The transience of time.
Always set a deadline. But don’t give yourself an unjustifiable amount of time. Set the real deadline with a little room for additional time if unforeseen circumstances occur.
For instance, if you need to organize your bills, give yourself a day, not a week. If you meet the deadline, reward yourself with something simple, but pleasant to keep on track.
To beat procrastination you have to be patient.
You won’t become a super-organized person in one day. Just start and don’t look for excuses. Never. No way. Only being honest and realistic, taking it step by step, day by day, you’ll build a new amazing person who lives by the rules and enjoys it.
The First Step to Making Better Decisions
But if you don’t even know when you’re making a decision based on emotions rather than objective fact, how can you prevent yourself from doing so?
The first step is to slow down.
Rushing will necessarily involve making uninformed, gut decisions. Slowing down also gives you the chance to employ proven techniques to interrogate and improve the conclusions that you draw.
Slowing down gives you the chance to clear your mind.
Our initial responses to extreme emotions tend to tail off pretty quickly. Taking ten minutes to breathe and think about something else before responding to a tricky decision can save you from acting recklessly.
It also gives you time to think a bit more deeply about the mechanics of the issue at hand. Using the ‘five whys’ – identifying the superficial cause of a problem and tracing it back along at least five levels of causality – can turn an issue upside-down. Your decision will deal with the root of the problem instead of reacting merely against the surface issue.
Another trick is to veer away from the negative side of the issue on which you’re making a decision.
Negatives tend to represent our fears and worries, which can be such overpowering emotions that they cause us to undervalue the positives of an option. In the same way, ‘recent’ information may unreasonably overbalance the stronger but older data that you already have to hand. Don’t get wowed by new developments. Slow down, and try to fit new information into context with what you already know.
The Art of Quick Decision Making
The final trick has a different relationship to slowness. Make your decision quickly, but without fully committing to it.
Try just writing it down on a piece of paper for yourself. Only now do you slow down, and think about whether you’ve made the right decision; if not, change your mind.
It may seem a roundabout way of doing things, but sometimes it takes the ‘real’ feeling of making a decision to highlight which is truly the best choice.
About The Author
Maya Gaspar is a content manager and social work volunteer who runs her own educational platform.