Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we delved into the many benefits of overcoming procrastination and covered real, practical steps to make procrastination a thing of the past. This week we conclude the series by looking at how to incorporate a reward system for doing tasks, looks at the advantages of having an ‘accountability buddy’ and explain how we can effectively visualize.

 

Positive reinforcement

 

Try giving yourself incentives to finish tasks, things that you will find enjoyable and genuinely consider treats. This will replace the immediate benefit and feel good hormones associated with procrastination and in time will re-train your brain to be more inclined to get things done.

 

Negative reinforcement

 

If positive reinforcement doesn’t work try negative reinforcement – the act of taking away something bad such as having to do admin that can wait or tidying your room. Remember, don’t cancel doing anything that has an impending deadline or is an urgent task such as paying bills as this is just self-sabotaging.

Punishment

 

As a last resort try punishment for not doing a task. Such as not being able to go out after, banning entertainment after or even cancelling a weekend visit to see friends.

 

Accountability buddy

 

Having a procrastination accountability buddy is an extremely effective and helpful thing to have. Every week check in and explain what you did and didn’t get done and why, taking care to be as honest as possible. Then have them give tips and advice on where they think you are going right and wrong, continuing to check in with them weekly. In explaining to another what you did and didn’t do it will not only give you more awareness of your patterns of behavior surrounding procrastination but will also give you a firm idea on how to improve going forward. And of course, when you do get things done it will provide you with a cheerleader to spur you on!

 

How is procrastination holding you back?

 

Tony Robbins once said that when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change then you will change and I firmly believe this to be true! Take a good hour to think of all the ways procrastination has held you back and list everything that you have not done as a result of procrastination.

 

Look at this list daily to remind you that procrastination is seriously harming your wellbeing and quality of life and afterwards look at your other list of everything you will be able to do and achieve once you overcome procrastination as listed in part three of this series.

 

Visualize

 

Some believe that whilst visualizing realizing our goals can de-motivate us, visualizing the process of how we will achieve our goals combined with realizing our goals both motivates and inspires us. So although I’ve always visualized successful outcomes I’m now also visualizing how I will go about achieving those outcomes!

 

So take half an hour every other day or even just twice a week to visualize the steps you will and are taking to overcome your procrastination and realize your goals. It will help motivate and inspire you to continue on this journey to being your most productive and successful self. But remember being productive and avoiding procrastination does by no means mean cutting out rest and relaxation, both of which are important for a balanced life. Instead it just means that your rest and relaxation time is spent guilt free, knowing you have earned it.

 

Please note: If you are stressed it is wise to reduce your tasks to an absolute minimum in favor of rest and relaxation and simply fulfill urgent tasks such as paying bills. This should not be considered procrastination but self care.

 

The irony is that by procrastinating we think we are exercising our freedom to enjoy ourselves when in reality we are increasing our burdens and bondage. Only by overcoming procrastination do we gain the true freedom to accomplish what we desire most in life. Join me towards a free life full of fulfilled dreams.

 

Have you tried positive or negative reinforcement to avoid procrastination? Can you think of anyone that could be your accountability buddy? Do you make a habit of visualizing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Further resources

 

‘Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’ by Brian Tracey