Procrastination is such a bad habit. Because of it, we sacrifice the important tasks we know we should do, and instead engage in trivial activities. Procrastination causes us to unnecessarily delay tasks, and somehow, we convince ourselves that there will be no consequences for it.
Of course, this is only an illusion, as procrastinating has its consequences: unfinished projects, missed opportunities, stress due to last minute cramming, penalties because of unmet deadlines, etc.
Procrastination can be subtle and very hard to break. If you’ve been struggling with this bad habit, it’s time to get rid of it once and for all.
Here are a few steps you can follow to break free:
- Acknowledge that you have a tendency to procrastinate. To free yourself from a bad habit, you must first recognize that you have it and then make the firm decision to change. This is true of procrastination. If you convince yourself that you don’t have a procrastination problem, then you’ll probably never take the steps to overcome it. But since you’ve read this far, I take it that you’ve already made the decision to change.
- Identify the tasks you usually put off. Determining what makes you procrastinate can really help you get a handle on this bad habit. In fact, once you know what tasks make you procrastinate, you can start making extra, targeted efforts to ensure you tackle them in a timely fashion.
- Identify the activities you do when you’re procrastinating. Once you have your list, every time you engage in one these activities, ask yourself: “Am I procrastinating right now?” There’s a good chance that you are. For example, if watching TV is on your list, then every time you sit in front of your TV set, you should wonder whether or not you’re procrastinating. This will help you catch yourself in the act.
- Commit to taking small steps to complete your tasks. An easy way to stop procrastination in its tracks is to do whatever you can to overcome inertia. Start taking small steps to complete your task, knowing that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. In other words, when you’re tempted to procrastinate, commit to taking one small step; you’ll find that, once you’ve started, it’s sometimes hard to stop.
- Find ways to incentivize yourself to perform your task. If you love going on Facebook (or any other social media network), then you can use that as an incentive to get things done. For example, you can decide that you won’t go on Facebook until you’ve completed the introduction of your report. Of course, this will require a strong commitment on your part to follow through.
- Identify the sources of distractions around you and remove them. Distractions have a way of sidetracking us; by the time we wake up from their spell, hours have gone by. To prevent you from succumbing to their appeal, remove all sources of distraction. In practical terms, this may mean: turn off your cell phone, TV and Internet. If ever you get lured in and you catch yourself in the act, stop the distracting activity immediately and get back to your work.
Procrastination can be a hard habit to break. However, it’s not invincible. By applying these steps, you’ll start noticing that it’s losing its grip on you. Make the decision today to break free from it once and for all.
Question: How do you overcome your tendency to procrastinate? You can leave a comment below.