How to Overcome Procrastination and Remain Stress-Free
Author : Adam Shafqat | Published On : 02 Mar 2021
"Procrastination is Opportunity's Assassin." - Victor Kiam
For many years I allowed fear to become my greatest driver. And, procrastination became my default position! I know what it's like to put off taking the action that can help you to grow a strong and successful business and a full empowered life.
I also know what it's like to do the same thing in relationships, with friends or family and even with bosses when something needs to be said that might result in conflict.
However, this article is about not allowing fear to become so powerful that instead of opening doors to success, procrastination sabotages any positive results that you could have achieved.
These are some of the techniques I used to move past procrastination. Use what works for you and of course ignore what doesn't.
First, procrastination is just a word in your mind and doesn't exist unless you allow it to!
What do I mean by this? If you start telling yourself you are a procrastinator, that's what you will become because that's how you 'see' yourself.
The dictionary defines the word procrastination as stopping and waiting to act because of fear or doubt and wavering about what you want to do.
If this is the case, it's obviously just a word and habit that you learned. This means, you can also unlearn and re-learn so you change the behavior and perceive things differently.
When you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, especially if you have a home based business, it's very easy to put off doing things you don't find especially enjoyable and yet, often people who procrastinate work much longer hours almost as if spending more time will make up for what you are not doing. However, working longer hours and being busy does not equate to being productive.
Maybe you don't know where to begin or you doubt yourself and your skills so it becomes more comfortable to do the things you know you are capable of completing instead. However, the 'bigger' things don't just disappear in fact, if anything, when you put off important projects things get really backed up and you then find yourself overwhelmed because there's so much to do.
If the only thing that procrastination does is to create stress and overwhelm why do you suppose so many entrepreneurs do this?
The first reason is often F.E.A.R. It's so much easier to do something you like rather than find out that what you really need to get done might not work.
It's also a way not to even acknowledge the doubt and fear you may have because when you're busy you don't have to acknowledge the reasons.
It's really OK to have some fear, in fact it's quite normal, especially when you are doing something new or you want to do something and don't know how it will affect your life or your business.
Whatever the reason behind your procrastination, the first step is to get really honest with yourself. This means, as much as you may not want to, you need to become much more conscious about your thinking so you have the ability to recognize and control those thoughts if they come up and change the behavior to something that is more productive for you.
Is procrastinating worth it? I can tell you from personal experience and that of my clients that it's not.
Procrastination just ends up draining your energy and sabotaging your success.
When you can look at the reasons for this behavior and you have some plans in place, procrastination can become a thing of the past.
I'm not going to tell you that you will never ever procrastinate again! You're human. It's about how quickly you recognize what you are doing so you can change the behavior immediately and get back on track.
So let's take a fuller look at how you can overcome this habit.
Reframe Your Programming!
It's really quite simple! If you don't like the program in your mind, just like a TV, change it!
Just for a moment I want you to think about everything you need to get done in the coming week. How does it look?
If you are someone who often puts off things because it's easier, I can almost guarantee that your mental to do list is probably chaotic and your mind wanders off on different tracks as you continually think of different things that need to be finished.
When this happens it can be very challenging to know where would be the best place to start!
Maybe it's time to take a different approach!
Outside of fear, one of the biggest causes of procrastination is lack of proper planning so that you can stay productive and calm without getting caught in the fear trap or go into the shiny bauble syndrome, which means you want to be able to do everything at the same time.
That is not possible, all you will end up with is a lot of things half done and nothing completely finished.
If you don't create some kind of plan or process, everything can seem very over-whelming. The more you are overwhelmed the more likely it is that fear can take over.
First ask yourself what will happen if you don't change this behavior and take action. How will it make you feel?
Now, ask yourself what will happen if you do take action and you work on projects one at a time and get things done. How will it make you feel?
Be honest and decide which answer you really prefer and what would be the return on you taking action!
Next, I suggest you take a sheet of paper and a pen, handwriting is more powerful than typing because it flows directly from the hand to your brain.
Make a list of absolutely everything that needs to be done and that you need to get finished. Don't allow this to faze you, remember, all you are doing is making a list so you can get some clarity.
When the list is finished prioritize the five most important items. You will get to the others when the first five are completed.
When that's done, make a list of what actions you need to take to get the #1 priority on the list completed first.
Next, break down those actions into smaller chunks. The most important key here is "do one thing at a time." Learn to change this one simple pattern and you will never feel overwhelmed or chaotic again.
If you need to and you can, delegate! Delegation is often challenging for small business owners.
No matter how big your business or how big your team is, most of us started out on our own and we're used to running things the way we think they need to be run but handing over the things that are not your strengths so you can focus on the things that are, is a great way to avoid making excuses and procrastinating!