How to Stop Procrastinating
Do you procrastinate? How often? Most of us procrastinate to some degree or another, even when we know it’s not in our best interest. So how do we learn to beat procrastination and just get finished, whatever it is we need, or want to do?
What would you say if I asked you “How do I stop just standing still?” After thinking to yourself I wasn’t the sharpest person around you’d probably tell me, “Just move!” You might even give me a well-merited push to get me going.
The answer to how to stop procrastinating is just as obvious; simply stop procrastinating—if something needs to be done, do it as soon as possible.
To overcome procrastination, we must develop a habit of action.
Here’s a simple 3-step program guaranteed to crush procrastination:
1. Get addicted to doing. Don’t over think, get it done! Whatever you want to do put it on a list and then work steadily at getting it off that list ASAP. Make it a contest to see how quickly you can complete your to do items; keep a running average and work to lower it. Over time the act of quickly completing items on your list will become addictive and you’ll be fueled by the emotional reward of routinely checking off items as completed.
2. Create strong reasons why. Small chores like mowing the lawn or doing the dishes don’t really demand a “reason why,” just get in the habit of getting them done as soon as practical. They’re usually quick to complete and make for fast checkmarks off your To Do list! More involved tasks however might require you to work up some motivation. Not filing your taxes or routine auto maintenance have natural, negative consequences if not done in a timely fashion. But ‘wants’ also have a cost when delayed. Whether the task you’ve been putting off is a “need to” or “want to,” count the costs, tangible and potential, for delaying action. Consider the benefits of moving forward immediately. You may find the Ben Franklin method of listing the pros and cons of any action helpful.
3. Appreciate the value of your time. We can spend as much time thinking about and delaying doing a thing as it would take to do the thing. That is a terrible waste of time, time that can never be recovered. Until you and I fully appreciate how priceless our time is, we’re likely to waste it. And just as money compounds over time so does the investment of our time. The more you delay the less the return on your time investment, and the longer it will take to make up for lost time, if even possible.