The fight against procrastination is real. It’s also often a losing battle because the fight is with our own selves. We know that the task is in front of us needs to be done, we know it needs to be done now or there will be consequences, yet we postpone, delay and push it away. Other than get mad at ourselves, what do we do to triumph over this self-sabotage?
1. Acknowledge the enemy
The first step is to look at procrastination in the eye (figuratively speaking) and accept that there is a problem. When you brush away procrastination as just another pesky habit that you “can fix anytime you want,” you are less likely to give the problem the attention it deserves.
2. Think like the opponent
If procrastination were a person, what would be his/her motive? Dig deeper and figure out what could be causing you to postpone attending to the task in front of you. Do you know what you need to do? Are you afraid that you might fail at it? Does this happen with most tasks or those of a particular kind?
Once you’ve figured out what’s making the task seem so unpleasant, create a plan of attack. What can you do to make the task feel more bearable? Can you break it into smaller chunks and do one small thing at a time? Can you put on some music to help you get through it? What if you were to look at it as just a particularly difficult level of a game? How would you approach it then?
Once you’ve entered the battlefield, push yourself to do whatever it takes to win. Look at the task as a challenge. Implement your plan and modify it as you go along. Is it taking longer than you anticipated? Can you push yourself to be at it for just another 10 minutes? Is it making you feel uncomfortable or anxious? Can you take a 2-minute break to do a quick deep-breathing exercise before returning to it? Is it too difficult to do on your own? Can you seek help from anyone around you?
5. Eye on the prize
Think about winning. Think about how good it will feel when you’ve defeated your nemesis, procrastination. Think how wonderful it will feel to have accomplished the task and to be able to put it aside, instead of having it hang over our head. Imagine the end result in your mind.
6. Reward yourself
When you’ve won the battle, treat yourself to something nice – a big pat on the back, a post proclaiming your victory on the social media site of your choice, an extra-long break, a bite of something delicious…whatever gets your adrenaline high.
Once you’ve tasted victory, it’s hard to go back to being at the losing end. The question is: do you have it in you to take up the challenge? Do you dare to win?