Do you procrastinate? And is it causing you stress?
There are a number of approaches to overcoming procrastination. There’s the traditional, and then there are a few alternatives too. But first, we need to understand why we procrastinate in the first place.
Here are the key reasons why we procrastinate:
a) Too much to do
Ironically, the more we are under pressure, the more we procrastinate. It seems almost like a self-defense mechanism. Maybe it’s the stubborn child within who’s trying to get his or her way.
Unfortunately, procrastination is the least likely way to get you out of a jam. If anything, the undone things continue to pile up as the current load adds to the backlog, and the next thing you know is that you REALLY have a problem
Fortunately, there are solutions. The link above leads to a very cool free ecourse that can get you started on your way to overcoming bad habits, including the dreaded procrastination. Check it out.
b) Not enough information
Sometimes, of course, we procrastinate because we simply aren’t ready to do the task at hand. Maybe we don’t have the information we need. In fact, that’s a surprisingly frequent cause. Sometimes, that lack of information too is due to procrastination of course…
If we had started earlier, we might have been able to gather all that information, and so now we would have it.
c) Not the right time
Bill Burns has said that sometimes, it’s just not the right time yet. So maybe we procrastinate because our subconscious doesn’t want us to do the task yet — or ever. Maybe it’s not something we should do. Maybe it’s not our time to do it just yet. But there are plenty of things where we’re just dogging it (or so he says…), so read on.
What if you’ve got to get it done?
But then, there are areas where all of the above isn’t really a good enough excuse. it’s time to just suck it up and get things done.
Once we decide to do just it, there are a number of ways we can help ourselves to get things taken care of. Here are a few:
1) The Law of Attraction Approach
According to the Law of Attraction approach, like draws like, so if we want to get something done, it helps to see ourselves as doing it and feeling good about doing it. That will “attract” us actually doing it. Or make it easier to get there in any case.
How to do that? Be very aware of any counterproductive self-talk. The two key kinds of bad self-talk are the following
a) I can’t do it
Don’t even think it. See yourself doing it and then just take action. If it seems overwhelming, just focus on one thing at a time, and specifically, on the first step. Then focus on the next one. And the next one. And when your self-talk turns negative again, shut it up and replace it with “I’m doing it one step at a time” or “I can do this step…” And so on.
b) “I don’t want to do it” OR “I HAVE to do it”
A lot of procrastination comes from not wanting to do things we have to do. We might rebel against our obligations. We chave against authority. Whatever.
It’s up to us to change it. We’re not children anymore. Our bosses, if we have them, are not our parents. Instead of the rebellion track, we should focus on the choices we make.
So instead of saying “I have to…” it helps to say “I choose to…” You don’t HAVE to say “I want to,” especially if you don’t really want to do something, but you can always choose to do it anyway, for the greater good or for whatever good outcome you can foresee to come from it.
2) NLP Approach
My friend and favorite mentor Jason Fladlien is excellent with helping people use NLP to overcome bad habits, and the best part is that he’s very down-to-earth and leaves the complicated stuff where it belongs: out of it. He focuses on the straightforward and teaches the techniques in a very easy to follow way.
He uses it especially to help people in internet marketing, where it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With his coaching and his courses, they find it much easier to get on top of their to-do lists and get their businesses off the ground.
He even has a very cool (and “different”) time management program that includes a Day Job Eliminator module, where he shows people how to get their business started even while working a day job — so they can leave that day job behind.
Take the Procrastination Quiz, sign up for the free “Overcoming bad habits” ecourse, and you’ll also get a discount on the time management book if you want it.
3) The EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Approach
Since a lot of procrastination has to do with negative emotions, taming those emotions can help a great deal. Here’s a free ebook I wrote that can get you started with using EFT tapping to help you overcome procrastination and a whole lot of other things:
It’s easy and can be learned very quickly, so consider giving it a shot. I originally wrote it for my students who were stressing over having to do presentations in front of the class. It helped them with that, and it can help you with a number of things as well.
Come to think of it, I may write a sequel on using EFT on procrastination specifically. But for now, just use the stuff in the book, and look for follow-up emails with tips on using EFT for a variety of other things.
4) The Stress Relief Approach
All of the above will help reduce the stress that may be caused and or be responsible, at least in part, for the procrastination issue. For example, stress can lead to overwhelm, and once you’re in overwhelm, you may not be able to function very effectively anymore.
It’s as if our brain were trying to protect us from doing more than we can handle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always get the priorities right, and so we may find ourselves in hot water…
So it helps to also approach the dilemma by focusing on getting some stress relief….
But whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. The carrot works a whole lot better than the stick, and making yourself feel bad about yourself is totally counterproductive. Instead, give yourself a break, regroup, and use one of the helpful free resources. Find out more about one of the most powerful ones here:
Most importantly, see yourself happily and joyfully completing whatever action you need to do, and then see yourself being glad to have completed it. That will help a great deal no matter what else you do.
Wishing you lots of energy and productivity!