One of the most frustrating things in life is feeling like you are stuck in a never-ending cycle of procrastination.
You know you need to get started on a project, but for some reason, you just can not seem to get yourself moving.
Every day, you tell yourself that you will start tomorrow and when tomorrow comes, and you find yourself still putting it off.
If this sounds all too familiar, do not worry – you are not alone.
In fact, research shows that 20% of people consider themselves to be chronic procrastinators.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to break the cycle and get yourself moving.
First, it is important to understand why you are procrastinating in the first place.
- Are you feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand?
- Do you lack confidence in your ability to do it well?
- Do you have a vision for what you want to achieve?
Once you have identified the root cause of your procrastination, you can start to address it.
For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed, try breaking the task down into smaller, more manageable steps.
And if you are lacking confidence, try focusing on building your skills in that area.
Ways to Break Your Procrastination Cycle
1. Get Rest When You Need It
When it comes to getting things done, we all have our own methods and strategies.
Some of us like to start with the easy work first, while others want to get the hard stuff out of the way.
And then there are those who simply jump in and start working without giving any thought to the order of things.
But regardless of our individual approaches, there is one thing that we all have in common: at some point, we all need a break.
Breaks can be a great way to refresh and recharge, but they can also be a valuable tool for getting things done.
When we take a break from work, we allow our minds to wander and come up with new ideas.
We also give ourselves a chance to come up with new solutions to problems that have been plaguing us.
In other words, breaks can help us break the cycle of procrastination.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck, do not be afraid to take a break.
You may just find that it is exactly what you need to get moving again.
2. Take Control of Your Time
The first step is to develop a healthy relationship with time.
Time is our most precious resource, and yet we often treat it carelessly.
We procrastinate because we mistakenly believe that we have all the time in the world.
But the truth is, time is finite, and if we want to achieve our goals, we need to use it wisely.
To take control of our environment, we need to take control of our time.
That means setting priorities and making sure we are using our time in ways that align with our goals.
It might mean saying no to distractions, or setting limits on how much time we spend on certain activities.
But whatever form it takes, taking control of our environment starts with taking control of our time.
3. Combine Your Vices and Virtues
The best way to break the cycle of procrastination is to combine your vices and virtues.
For example, if you love to watch television, use that as a motivator to get things done.
Make a deal with yourself that you can only watch your favourite series if you do your homework or project first.
Or, if you love chocolate, allow yourself to have a treat only after you have accomplished something you have been putting off.
By linking rewards with productivity, you will create a powerful incentive to get things done.
And as an added bonus, you will feel great about yourself when you finally overcome your procrastination!
4. Tackle Your Difficult Tasks First, Early in the Morning
Specifically, tackle your most difficult tasks first thing in the morning.
This may seem counterintuitive, but there is actually research to support this strategy.
Studies have shown that people are more productive when they tackle their most challenging tasks early in the day.
Additionally, starting your day with a difficult task can help to break the cycle of procrastination.
By getting the tough stuff done first, you will free up your energy and focus for the rest of the day.
So if you are looking to increase your productivity, try eating your frog in the morning.
The Procrastination Equation
You are more likely to perform a task before its due date if you expect to accomplish it.
You are more inclined to put off a task until it is absolutely necessary if you approach it with the idea that you will fail.
Often, we are held back by the tales we tell ourselves.
And when they appear to become reality, they can erect a psychological wall that prevents us from progressing.
In the wise words of Babe Ruth, “Do not let fear of striking out prevent you from playing the game.”
If you do not appreciate the task, you will be more likely to postpone it.
Perhaps if you have been putting off a work-related responsibility for a long time, you might question your usefulness to your organization.
It might be beneficial to think about the activities that consume your time and energy and make sure they are congruent with your life’s principles.
Using what you care about may provide motivation and help you strike items off your to-do list.
It is human nature to be apprehensive about the unknown.
When we act on our fears, though, they may divert us from the tasks that need to get done.
Making quick judgments based on fleeting emotions is one way to characterize impulsive behavior.
When we concentrate on the present moment and consider what we must do, we are more inclined to make decisions that our future selves will appreciate.
In simple terms, the longer you have to wait for a reward for a task, the less interested you will be in doing it.
While this one may appear to be out of your hands, particularly when it comes to a job, mindfulness can remind you that there is no need to rush and show you how to enjoy the process of waiting.
Procrastination is a debilitating affliction that can delay our personal and professional growth.
Learning how to identify the particular causes of your procrastination problem will provide insight into how best to manage the condition.
With practice, you can begin to break the cycle and become ever-more productive.