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Procrastination is the boogeyman that most of us blame for our lack of productivity. It is a strange psychological phenomenon that often has roots in many other aspects of your life. Learning how to overcome procrastination is vital to your long-term success, though. How do you do that? Let’s look a little deeper at procrastination and how to overcome it.
1. Understanding Procrastination
The first thing you need to do in order to overcome procrastination is to understand it. We know we procrastinate, but we often don’t know why. There is no blanket answer to this question. The causes of procrastination will vary greatly from person to person. Procrastination always has a root, though. Finding your roots can be very freeing and can help you become a more productive person.
You can start better understanding your procrastination by reading about this problem. There are many great books out there that look at the psychological foundations of procrastination. If you have access to counseling or therapy, you could also talk with your therapist about this and how it specifically applies to you.
The most important thing is that you do not excuse your procrastination and you do not simply accept it. This is a problem that needs work.
2. Set Little Goals
Many people procrastinate because they are overwhelmed by the big picture of all of the tasks together. This overwhelm will cause some people to freeze and do nothing. The better option is to set small tasks and only focus on them one at a time. Remind yourself often that you only need to work on one task at a time. As long as the others are on the list and prioritized, they are okay for now. Pay them no mind until it is their turn. If you need to say it out loud. When your brain wants to think about all of the tasks at once, say, “No, you must wait your turn.”
Creating prioritized lists can be very helpful in controlling tasks.
Once you start to understand this issue, it will be very important that you identify it every time it pops up. This will help to start signaling to your brain that this is not acceptable behavior and it needs work. One way you can identify procrastination is the small habit of writing it out. “I am trying to procrastinate.” Write the date and the time. Then write a note to yourself explaining why this is destructive and then write out which task you will actively go do right then. This type of accountability can help to rewire your brain for new behaviors.
Once you have identified the procrastination, you must re-direct immediately. As soon as you are aware of the procrastination, you need to identify the task that needs to be worked on right then. Immediately start that one task. Remember, you should not think about all of the tasks at once, just the next one on the list.