Procrastination…my GREATEST enemy: 7 Steps to deal with it

I love blogging. I really do.  I love typing my thoughts, views, advice, and posting them to share with the world.  I truly love writing.  It was one of my first loves.  As a young kid, with letters printed backwards, I use to recreate the little stories that played in my mind.  As I got older, writing wasn’t just creating and sharing stories, to me it was a therapist, I, it’s patient.  It was a way for me to better get to know me, and to put into words things that I sometimes struggled to say aloud.  And although I don’t share that kind of catharsis type of writing in this blog, I still love writing, in all of it’s forms.

Blogging allows me the opportunity to interact with the few lovely people like yourself who take their precious time and spend it reading what I have to say, and who then let me know their thoughts, by leaving comments, or likes. I love it all.  As of lately, it wouldn’t appear so, as I haven’t written in quite some time.

Yes, I have been busy, but the same way we hate when our friend says “yes, I’ve been meaning to call/hang out, but I’ve just been soooo busy”, I hate saying that because it seems like an excuse; and it is not an excuse.  Being too busy is relative.  Relative to your priorities of what is truly deserving of your time. So if I were to be honest, other things garnered my time, although my first love, writing, was constantly on my mind.  And then of course there is my hidden beast.  The beast that I try to keep locked away in my closet, but just about everyday, he rears his ugly little head, tormenting me, and the oodles of things that I need to get done.  You probably know him, as I know I am one of millions who struggle with him regularly.  Procrastination.

I’d like to blame his regular appearance in my life on my self-diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), but it’s probably bigger than that.  Dr. Mia is not in session, so instead of trying to diagnose the many reasons why it seems like I struggle with this beast known as procrastination, lets look at some ways to eradicate deal with this beast, rearing it’s ugly face in my life.

So, I’ve compiled 7 steps that I’ve been trying to utilize, to minimize Procrastination’s visits in my life.  And hey, they have to be kind of good…I finally got this post done! 😉

Steps to Minimize Procrastination’s Appearance in Your Life

1. Figure out WHY you’re procrastinating

Many of us procrastinate, and we don’t even know why.  Just like with any ailment, physical or mental, in order to conquer it, we must first realize why we do it.  According to Piers Steel’s article The Nature of Procrastination in the Psychological Bulletin Journal (2007), there are four pillars of procrastination.

  1. Low task value – any task that we see of little value to us, whether that be because it isn’t as fun, or we don’t see it paying off in the long run, we avoid doing it.  Instead, we procrastinate by doing other activities that are more enjoyable, or that deep down inside, we place more value upon.
  2. Personality – If impulsivity is a part of your personality (or your self diagnosed ADD), chances are you struggle with procrastination.
  3. Expectations – If we believe that it will be difficult, we’ll avoid doing it.  The easier that we think it is, the quicker we’ll knock it off of our to-do-list.
  4. Goal failure – One’s fear of failure is enough reason to cause a person to avoid the task.  In order to overcome this, it is important to be confident in your abilities; and accept that sometimes, failure is a part of the journey towards success.

2. Focus on the benefit(s) of completing the task

If we spent less time worrying over the process, and instead thought about the benefits of actually getting it done, chances are, we’d actually get it done.

3. Be Accountable.  Write it down.
Use your arm, a note pad, your cork board or white board, but for heaven’s sake, write it down!  There is something about writing it down in ink, that makes it more concrete.  There is also something very fulfilling about making that big ole’ check mark beside it, once it’s done!  Other ways to be accountable is to tell a friend, and remind them to check on you, or post it online on social media.  Shame’s sake alone is enough motivation for some people.
4. Break it down
Most people get a little overwhelmed when presented with large tasks.  To avoid the anxiety and therefore allowing that procrastination monster to bribe you with something easier, break it down into smaller tasks. You know for yourself how large of a task you can handle.  Whether it is something that will take a few minutes, completing a chapter, one exercise, one page of a report, etc., you decide the length and depth for each task, and remember to reward yourself once you’ve accomplished each task.  Whether you’re rewarding yourself with a snack, a glass of wine, a music break, a brief phone call, social media time, a walk, it’s up to you.  Whatever you find rewarding, treat yourself to that.  Don’t forget to set a specific amount of time for your reward and don’t go over it.
When you’re breaking things into smaller tasks, always try to do the bigger/harder things first.  Chances are you won’t drag things on if you’re at least able to get the biggest things out of the way.
5. Give yourself times frames/deadlines
Whether you have an actual due date or not, set one for yourself.  As you’re breaking the large task in to smaller ones, set a time frame for each one, ensuring that by the end of it all, you have enough time to get it done (with space for error, bouts of procrastination, and review).
6. Eliminate distractions
I love chips.  So to avoid me stuffing my face with chips daily, I rarely buy them and keep them in the house.  Why?  Because if every time I was hungry I opened the cupboard and saw those chips, that would be my first choice.  Not the apple or banana that I should be eating.  So get the chips out of your life.  If your distraction is your phone, put it on silent or leave it in the other room.  If you’re concerned about missing important calls, set it to ringer only, forget all of the social media notifications, they can wait.  If your distraction is your partner, kids, your pet, TV, or just your house, get out of there.  Go to a local coffee shop or library and get what you have to get done.
7. Stay motivated
Whatever motivates you, use it to stay motivated.  Remember step #2?  If you’ve written down the benefits of completing this task, refer back to it.  Create a vision board – of not just the ultimate goal, but of the steps and the process.  Have positive people around you? A role model? Stay influenced by them.
I recently got a FitBit, an activity/exercise/walking monitor, and it wasn’t until I added friends that I started to be a little more driven.  The goal of 10, 000 steps a day was good, but when I noticed others were easily attaining that and I was only half way there, it motivated me to get my walk on.
Use whatever motivates you to stay motivated and just do it!
Any steps i’ve missed?  Anything that helps you curb procrastination?  Feel free to share you thoughts &/or struggles with the successful person’s biggest nightmare, procrastination.
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2 responses to “Procrastination…my GREATEST enemy: 7 Steps to deal with it

  1. I’m going to leave a comment. I really am. Just as soon as I can get to it. Promise you that I’ll get my comment made. I’ll try tomorrow.
    Now I have procrastination perfected! Actually, Mia, you have some good tips. I’ll work on them – maybe tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL. Checking back with you, ‘tomorrow’… In case you have another comment to share. Lol. Kick away that procrastination monster, and get to it, Oneta! 😜 Glad you liked the tips… Now to implement them… Tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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