procrastination

Strategies to Stop Procrastination Sabotaging Your Goals (and life in general) Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the fears which can make our procrastination worse and examine how we can overcome them, this week we take a look at the many benefits of overcoming procrastination and will delve into some practical steps you can take to make procrastination a thing of the past.

 

The benefits of overcoming procrastination

 

Having lived most of my life as a chronic procrastinator I can testify to the benefits of overcoming procrastination. Take a look at the list below, do these stand out as significantly improving your quality of life? Would you like to see these same benefits in your life? Then read on…

 

  • Living without dreading how you will do the things needed to manage life well
  • Being confident in your ability to do difficult tasks
  • Being confident in your ability to achieve goals
  • Living in line with your ambitions
  • Increasing your productivity
  • Achieving goals!
  • Being able to fulfill your promises to others

 

Now list all the things that you want to do that if you didn’t procrastinate you could achieve and keep it somewhere you will see it every day.

 

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how we can overcome procrastination.

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Strategies to Stop Procrastination Sabotaging Your Goals (and life in general) Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the science behind why we procrastinate, this week we look at the fears which can make our procrastination worse and examine how we can overcome them.

 

Almost all psychological causes of procrastination relate to fear, namely fear of success and fear of failure. Below are some examples of how our fears can manifest themselves consciously:

 

Fear of failure

 

  • Not knowing where to begin
  • Doubting your ability to do the task
  • Being overwhelmed by the size of the task
  • Being overwhelmed by the complexity of the task
  • Being intimidated by how little time you have to do the task (you feel you will fail anyway so don’t even try / delay working on it because it fills you with dread)

 

Fear of success

 

  • You feel too much pressure to continue performing well
  • You associate success with an undesirable personal quality (such as arrogance or pride)
  • You view success as complicating life
  • You view success as having more responsibility
  • You fear having success is temporary
  • You fear success because if you achieved it you would have too much to lose

 

How to overcome the fear of failure

 

I have struggled a lot with this one. The ‘aha’ moment came when I realized that by not trying I was making my fear of failure a self fulfilling prophesy. My thinking beforehand had been that if I didn’t try I wasn’t really failing because I could always rationalize that I didn’t really try. But the end result was always the same, the project, task or assignment would remain unfinished and I would have made no progress whatsoever. See below for practical solutions to the most common forms of a fear of failure.

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Strategies to Stop Procrastination Sabotaging Your Goals (and life in general) Part One

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Procrastination has always been a huge issue in my life. When studying I would wait until the very last minute to start assignments, often missing deadlines as a result and at one point resulting in having to restart a course.  I remember the agony and devastation I felt when I considered myself a failure as a result of restarting my course. Fear of failure was one of my worst fears and, ironically, it was this very fear that caused my procrastination. These days I still struggle with procrastination, even although it may not seem obvious to others.

 

The main shift took place when I started keeping a diary and listing my to do items each day, a habit I got into shortly after beginning therapy. Indeed there were many habits I formed in therapy that, without my knowing it, made procrastination less of an issue in my life. Today I still psychologically resist doing tasks but rather than putting things off for days or even months I now take just a few hours before tackling items on my to do.

 

In this series I will examine the scientific and psychological research on procrastination and tell you the practical steps you can take to stop procrastinating – highly effective steps that have worked – even for a chronic procrastinator such as me.

 

But what is procrastination exactly? According to Wikipedia

 

“Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline. Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life — putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.”

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