How to Stop Procrastinating & Take Action
Understanding Procrastination, How to Stop Procrastinating, & How to Taking Action & Kicking Ass
Procrastination prevents us from getting us from point A to point B (or C,D,F,G etc…). Maybe it’s studying for that big exam, getting started on that new business, or finally getting to the gym. Maybe it’s calling up a friend or family member about something important, maybe it’s learning a new hobby, or maybe it’s starting that new project we’ve been thinking and talking about for months.
Whatever the reason for procrastinating may be, procrastination is a major time killer and prevents us from getting where we want to be. While it’s easy to say “Just get off your ass and do it!” that doesn’t always work. If it did, most of us would procrastinate far less. (And If that does work for you, stop here, get off your ass, and get started!)
Like most people, I once had major difficulties with procrastination. I would put off an important blog post, delay the start of a new project, or just put off a daily task, such as meditation. Over time, I began realizing this pattern of procrastination, how much time was being wasted due to procrastination, what was causing it, how it was holding me back, and how to develop the motivation and discipline to overcome it.
Today, we’re going to take a look into procrastination, how to overcome procrastination, and how to start taking action and kicking ass on a daily basis.
Procrastination Help 101: Understanding the Root of Procrastination & How to Overcome It
Before we can tackle procrastination, it can help to understand why we procrastinate.
There are a variety of reasons why we procrastinate. While only you can answer this question, I have listed the two that both held me back the most and I feel are the most common reasons many people procrastinate. You can also read more reason for procrastination from Psychology Today here.
A few reason we procrastinate…
Many people procrastinate out of fear. More times than not, the fear of failure, though some people also procrastinate out of a fear of success.
The fear of failure can lead to procrastination in that if we go ahead and pursue our goals, it’s possible we may not succeed. If we continue putting them off, we can continue living in the fantasy of succeeding without the potential pain of failure. Other times, it can be the fear of disapproval from others, or other types of fears.
The only way to really fall out of this trap is to face the fear of rejection, which is where fear usually has its root.
Anyone who has ever achieved anything great has dealt with tremendous amount go setbacks and faced failure (myself included).
When I first started my digital marketing company, I had a slight fear of gaining new clients not due to lack of ability or even a fear of rejection, but a fear that I may not deliver. As these were my first clients, if I didn’t deliver, I’d be starting from scratch all over again, or may just be out of business. I found myself putting off work for current clients due to this fear.
After some time, I realized putting off the work would get me no where. As long as I knew I put my best work forward and did everything I could to deliver the best possible results for each client, that’s all I could do and control.
Once I accepted this, I not only began completing more work but did it with much more enthusiasm. Calling up potential clients became easier and I also found work to be much less stressful once the fear was gone, and I was just focused on doing what I loved.
Whatever someones goals may be, some form of fear could be causing procrastination and from taking action and moving forward. Rather than procrastinate to put off the chance of failure and rejection, embrace it. View failure and rejection as a learning opportunity.
And for those in business wth a fear of sales, gaining new clients, or just putting themselves out there, which seems to be a very common fear, As I use to tell myself in sales (and picking up girls back in college), every rejection is one closer to the person who’s receptive.
And lastly, as dried up as this example is, keep in mind it took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries to develop the lightbulb. when asked how he felt about failing 1,000 times, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. Inventing the lightbulb was 1,000 step process.”
When it comes to procrastination, sometimes it’s not fear holding us back, but just plain laziness. While it’s good to allow your body and mind to rest now and then, there’s a fine line between resting and just being lazy and putting things off.
We’d rather sit on the couch than hit the gym, or watch tv over study, or watch funny Facebook videos over getting started on that new business or project we’ve been planning. For those who tend to be on the lazier side, you really just have to learn to motivate yourself and develop self discipline.
I dealt with overcoming laziness back when I was getting into the habit of running (I was always a big weight guy but hated running) I had a hard time getting myself to go running consistently.
How did I cure this?
I would constantly remind myself of the benefits running would have in the long run. This reminder was enough to get me out there, even on those days I REALLY didn’t want to run. I always felt better after going out running than staying in anyway.
Do the same.
Remind yourself of the long term benefits that will come verses the short term benefits from being lazy and not taking action. Sure, being lazy feels good now, but the payoff of whatever your goal may be will be far greater. Also, it feels much better being lazy after you’ve accomplished something. Trust me on that.
Someone I once knew would continuously talked about a business he wanted to start, but said he never had the time. The thing was, much of his time was spent on the couch watching tv or movies. He had plenty of time, he was just choosing to spend it on the couch rather than working toward his goals. He just wasn’t making the new business idea a priority .
I pointed this out to him, and told him if he wants to hang around that’s his choice, but if he wants to get his business off the ground, laying around on the couch is not going to get him there.
He decided then and there that he would dedicate at least 20 minutes everyday (starting small) toward his business. Within a few months, he had a successful business operating, and was earning a substantial increase in income. All of this from just dedicating just 20 minutes a day.
When you’re dealing with laziness, remember only 20 minutes a day can be enough to get you where you want to be.
Tips to Overcome Procrastination & Start Taking Action
Now that we’ve covered two of the main reasons for procrastination, let’s cover some basic tips to beat procrastination, start taking action, and start kicking ass.
1. Start Small
When we have a big goal, it can be over whelming and seem so big it’s not even worth starting. Break down your goals is into small, easily attainable goals to gain momentum. Once you have that momentum, it becomes easier to tackle the bigger goals, and you’ll be in the habit of taking action.
2. Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
While you want to push yourself and keep yourself motivated and disciplined, don’t beat yourself up TOO MUCH if you do procrastinate.
If you have a “miss” day, let it go, and start fresh the next day. Just make sure not to get in the habit go continuously having “miss” days. Remember “A little bit go something is better than nothing” on those tougher days. Like my friend who who started the business, just 20 minutes a day got him where he wanted to be. It only takes a little bit of action.
3. Remind Yourself WHY You’re Doing What You Do.
Remind yourself WHY you’re doing what you do and the long term payoff.
Many times we procrastinate due to a losing motivation from losing sight of the big picture and our vision. If you don’t take action, you won’t get where you want to be. If you keep doing the same, you’ll keep getting the same. Keep your eye on the prize and that will get the motivation needed to beat procrastination and take action.
4. Ask Yourself What Reason You Have to Procrastinate
Seriously. Next time you procrastinate, ask yourself WHY you’re procrastinating and see what type of excuse you come up with. Chances are, it won’t be a good one. (And if it’s to binge watch Netflix, remember you can do that after you take action, and feel good knowing you’re taking steps toward your goals.) \
Go back to step 3 and take action.
Reminder about procrastination & How to Overcome it…
Remember, a little bit of something is better than nothing.
I covered this in a previous post, and will cover it briefly again here. A great mindset to come from is “A little bit of something is better than nothing.”
If you find yourself procrastinating, just remind yourself even just a LITTLE progress is more than NO progress. If your goal is to run and you want to put it off for tomorrow, remind yourself that running for a few minutes is better than no minutes. If you want to study, studying for 10 minutes is better than no minutes. If you want to start a project, getting started for even a few minutes is better than nothing.
The best part is, once you get started, you’ll most likely just keep going. It’s a good trick to play on yourself to beat procrastination.
Now get out there and take action!