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Apr 22

What is procrastination and how do we beat it?

what is procrastination

What’s stopping you from starting something you want to accomplish?

Have you ever experienced putting off an important task, something that you are not comfortable doing, and instead prioritizing a less important one over it?

Have you had this great idea that you wanted to accomplish for a long time but always found excuses to do it at a later time?

If the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t worry because it happens to everyone.  We all procrastinate in one way or another and we may be doing it unconsciously at times.

 

So what is procrastination?

Procrastination is defined as the practice of carrying out less important tasks above the more important ones or prioritizing activities that you are more comfortable doing over those that are less pleasurable.  This may be caused by several factors like fear, laziness, and perfectionism to name a few.

One activity I remember procrastinating on is losing weight.  It’s a great idea to start going on a diet, eating less meat and rice but the moment I see one of my favourite dishes served on the dinner table, I then tell myself that the dieting will start tomorrow or the next day and this delay continues to happen until the food I’m served with is something I’m not fond of.  Sounds familiar?

Another cause of procrastination for me is exercise.  I usually set this target to exercise every morning before I go to work but if I get a really good night sleep, the kind that would make me replace Sleeping Beauty, I will then tell myself that since I was not able to exercise today, I won’t be able to complete my goal of exercising for the whole week so I’m going to start next week.  Am I ruffling a few feathers?

Procrastination can be counter-productive and worse, it can hinder us from reaching our goals and dreams.  The road to success is not an easy one and if we develop a habit of avoiding tasks or situations that we find difficult, it may take us a longer time to get to our intended destination.

To quote the great Zig Ziglar: “You do not have to be great to start.  You have to start to be great.”

Here are 5 actions you can take to overcome procrastination.

 

Accept that you are procrastinating

People will have a long list of excuses to avoid doing what they are not comfortable to do.  Some of us even have a habit of doing the most important things just before the deadline comes and armed with the reason that “I work best under pressure.”

Yeah Right.

Even at this point, we may still not acknowledge that we are indeed procrastinating but who are we kidding?  Accepting that you are procrastinating will be a good start if you want to beat procrastination.

 

Face your fear

One of the cause of procrastination is our fear of going face to face with the task we’re not comfortable doing.  We dread a certain task so much that we do the less important ones first to buy us some time but procrastination is not limited to tasks only.  We also procrastinate when faced with big decisions like starting a new business, transferring to a new job or buying a new car and often, this is caused by our fear of failure.

I experienced this first hand before I started this blog.  I know in my heart that I want to be a blogger and that I’m fully prepared to embark on the journey but there was also this sense of hesitation hanging over me.  I was afraid that I may not be able to sustain this new venture I went into and that I may not attract a lot of readers.

I took the next step after realizing that I wouldn’t really know what will happen if I don’t begin with something.  Failure happens to the best of us.  Sometimes we all have to take a risk if we want to succeed on something.

 

Stop trying to be perfect

There’s always a perfectionist in all of us and this perfectionism can sometimes lead to procrastination without us even knowing.  We want to be sure that everything’s in place when we haven’t really started something.

Before starting this blog, I did a lot of preparation to make sure I started right.   I did my research, read all the relevant materials, and listened to all the podcasts I can get a hold of.  I knew in my heart that I was ready but something inside me kept on saying that I need to prepare more and know everything there is to know because this will be my brand and that this will be a long-term business.

We don’t have to know everything for us to start something.  Sometimes we just have to close our eyes and take that leap of faith.

 

Break down big tasks into small pieces

Big projects get us intimidated and before long, make us procrastinate.  Just getting an idea of the amount of work involved and the time it will take to complete such project already gives us a reason to hold off on it as much as we could.  Breaking down these projects into smaller pieces will give us the confidence to start working on it the soonest time possible.

 

Get rid of distractions

Working on a task that requires a considerable amount of work in front of the TV or with Facebook and Twitter on will simply not work.  As the saying goes, you cannot serve two masters at the same time.  You need to set a schedule when you can get work done away from all the distractions that can take away your focus.

I am guilty of this especially when creating content for my blog.  I tend to check twitter from time-to-time or Facebook for updates and it really does take away my focus.  What I did was to just keep myself from opening an extra browser window until I’m done with my content.

If you don’t find this helpful, there are also apps available in the internet that can automatically shut these social media sites off to make you more productive.

 

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do that you find trouble starting?

 

If you loved this article, let me know by leaving a comment below.

You can also share this content to your friends via twitter by clicking here.

 

 

Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

2 comments

  1. Awesome Minds

    This is so true Noel, we all procrastinate at times, especially working online when there are so many distractions. I am guilty of the perfectionist one, doing exactly what you did, but I am gradually accepting that it does not have to be perfect all the time and it is more productive to just get started and then tweak things later if need be. A great post

    1. Noel

      thanks bro. Procrastination used to be one of my biggest problems and even until now, I still find myself procrastinating at times. Sometimes we just have to be more focused and accept that there are some things we cannot avoid and must face and get it over with.

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