Beat Procrastination in 6 Easy Steps

Jul 4, 2022Anxiety, Common Disorders, Information, Other

Beat Procrastination in 6 Easy Steps

Is it thinking or procrastination

If you can’t get things done because you keep putting them off or thinking about other things, maybe you are suffering from procrastination.

The problem is that procrastination can happen at work and at home. Furthermore, it is estimated that one-fifth of the adult population procrastinates.

But you don’t need to stay stuck and feel so awful anymore. Consider these easy ways to tackle that stuck feeling.

Today I would like to talk about procrastination because we all do It, but sometimes it gets out of hand and causes us more stress on top of the usual demands of life.

So what is procrastination?

According to the free dictionary, it is about putting something off, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness. It is also to postpone or delay endlessly.

Yet my version of procrastination is different because I don’t believe it is about laziness as laziness is not wanting to do something. I think procrastination is about still having the intention but deciding to postpone something or take your focus away to something else. The result is stress, anxiety and feelings of guilt or shame. Furthermore, it sucks our energy and for some people, it can make them feel depressed.

It is a subject that has been talked about for centuries.

Procrastination is about the postponement and no action.

Slightly more men are affected by procrastination.

How does it affect us?

It affects people in the way they feel and behave. That can have a knock-on effect on relationships, finances and many more aspects of our lives.

Behavioural scientists consider it an irrational behaviour that results in a delay in action.

It also gives people overwhelming feelings. One part of you knows that you want to do something while another part is resisting. It can be based on our beliefs about ourselves and result in automatic negative thoughts.

Procrastination is important as it can have an impact on performance and mental health

People who regularly procrastinate lack confidence and belief in themselves.

Procrastinators may also be perfectionists and have a fear of failure.

Here are 6 steps to help you to move from procrastination to action.

Step 1. Recognise it.

If you are wondering why you are not getting things done you might be procrastinating.

You start the day well by deciding to do something. You might even write a TODO list or have some way of planning your day. You know what you need to do but somehow you keep doing other things or feel that you don’t get anything done.

You might find yourself drawn to watching TV. Alternately you might pass a lot of time by scrolling through social media platforms or getting interested in something on your computer.

Suddenly you notice the time flying past but there is still something holding you back from carrying out that task you allocated earlier in the day.

You might even decide to delay the task and tell yourself that you will do it tomorrow.

If this is you and it continues day after day, you need to take action.

The first step is to write something down. this could be about how you are feeling. Alternately you could talk with a trusted friend and explain the situation. Maybe they can help.

Step 2. Understand your circadian rhythm.

We all have times of the day that are better for us and times that are easier to do nothing. For example, some people like to get up early in the morning and do things as they are more alert and more likely to get things done. If this is you plan the things that you must do earlier in the day.

On the other hand, some people never feel good in the morning. It takes them a long time to get going when they wake up but as the day progresses they feel better and may even enjoy working till late. If this is you then decide to do the important things later in the day.

So this step is about knowing yourself.

Step 3. Reduce things that make you feel stressed or anxious.

So take a few minutes to think about the tasks that you can let go of. Maybe you could delegate. Or you could decide that it’s not worth the effort.

So this next step includes planning and prioritising. If you only get the most important task done at least you have made progress.

But reducing stress and anxiety will also mean doing other things like exercise, eating a healthy diet and mixing with friends. Thinking about positive things and those things that you are grateful for also helps.

Step 4. Give yourself a reward

The reward isn’t chocolate, alcohol or things you know could become a problem. Rather, use your imagination.

Maybe you could go for a walk, watch a movie after completing the task, buy yourself something, or go out with friends and family.

Focus on the positive things you want in life. If the tasks you are procrastinating about are necessary but you don’t like to do them and haven’t got anyone to delegate to, just imagine the positive things you can do as soon as you have completed these tasks. Think about that achievement when you have done it.

Just because you might find a task difficult doesn’t mean that you aren’t good enough. Remember all the things you are good at.

This step is about being kind to yourself and understanding that you are OK.

Step 5. Make the task that you are procrastinating about easier.

Yes, you can try to develop a positive mindset but there are also practical things you can do. For example, if you need to read a book for your studies, search for the book as an audible version and listen while going for a walk or going to the gym.

If you have a managerial task to do ask other managers how they tackled it.

If it’s a physical task make it easier by getting someone to help. One way to decorate a room might be to invite your friends around to have a decorating party!

This step is about finding other ways to deal with the problem task. You might even decide that you don’t need to do it anyway!

Step 6. Get professional help

If procrastination continues to be a problem and is impacting your life you need to get professional help.

You could talk to your doctor about getting some counselling. On the other hand, you could choose a private counsellor that suits your needs. Other professionals using talking therapies such as psychologists can also help.

They would help you to get out of this cycle. There are several approaches they might use but they can include developing motivation, decision-making, changing behaviours and understanding how you can change negative thinking.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you to explore your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and irrational beliefs.

Mindfulness and meditation might help you to destress.

Some people might find a business or life coach helpful as they support you to achieve goals.

Hypnotherapy can help you to reduce your anxiety and give you positive suggestions to achieve your goals. it can also help you to relax.

In summary, we all procrastinate at some time in our life, but if it’s becoming a problem for you and you are feeling awful then you need to take action now.

The first step is to recognise the problem, and then try to address it by writing things down or talking to a friend. Life isn’t all negative so reward the things you can do by changing your focus and then decide to break the problem down into smaller, easier chunks. If that doesn’t work start looking after your health and well-being and finally if it continues to be a problem, get professional help.

I’m Linda, from Awaken the Change. I help people with procrastination with a mixture of CBT and hypnosis. Contact me for a free initial consultation and find out more.





Awaken the Change is about Focusing Minds for Positive Results

Awaken the Change is a self-help service providing education and information.

Linda sees clients at her practice in Bournemouth, in the UK. She is also happy to provide online help via webcam for hypnotherapy, counselling and supervision. Counselling and supervision can also be provided by telephone.

Linda is an accredited trainer and supervisor.

Linda Witchell
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