20 Top Tips to Tame Procrastination

20 Top Tips to Tame Procrastination

witty epithet:I'm taking care of my procrastination issues, just you wait and see

  1. Slow the Action – Pause, Notice, consider your Options. Take Your Time. Someone once said, “If you don’t take your time, somebody else will.”

 

  1. Don’t go EAST ( Everything At the Same Time). Obviously you cannot do everything at once – can you? One thing at a time is plenty.

 

  1. Think how great it will be to have started this. Taking that first step releases amazing energy and power. 

 

  1. Remember it doesn’t need to be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect. Good enough is fine for now. 

 

  1. Do something you feel attracted to for a set amount of time before approaching the task in hand. Following your interests wakes up your brain and makes you feel more motivated. It can also pay to get a quick win with doing something you are interested in, improving your mood and giving you a sense that things are moving forward. Try making a list and ticking or crossing out completed items.

 

  1. Do something physical first. Physical movement can not only help break the deadlock, it also releases helpful hormones, brain chemicals etc and allows you to re-oxygenate your blood. Your brain will thank you for it.

 

  1. Take the pressure off. Too much pressure will release stress hormones like cortisol, effectively shutting down your brain in a most unhelpful way. Try one of the many free Mindfulness apps to help short circuit feelings of pressure.

 

  1. Create a plan. Creating a plan will help to clarify your intentions and make it easier to see what needs to be done, and in what order. Check out this article for some basic planning techniques to try.

 

  1.  Think of just having a first go at it, like a draft or prototype. This strategy gives you the combined benefits of taking the pressure off ( see no.7 above)  and also gives you the opportunity to think in more flexible terms. This way you provide yourself with multiple opportunities to refine your task/project/ideas, avoiding both perfectionism and the dread of making mistakes.

 

  1. Chunk things down into doable pieces. If tasks seem too large and vague, they will appear far more off-putting. Making them smaller will make them easier to do.

 

  1. Get clear on what your very first step will be. When you think you have your first step worked out, check it out by imagining yourself doing it and asking, “What do I need in order to be able to do this?” For instance if the first step is to call someone, maybe you would need to have the number in front of you before you can make the call. So the first step is to find out the number. Then you can ask the question again. “What do I need to do in order to find out the number?” It may be you need to look it up on your computer. So the first step then becomes switch on my computer. Continue asking this question repeatedly until nothing stands in the way of you taking that first step immediately.

 

  1. Do a tiny bit of a tiny bit. This is similar to the example above, no.9 where we get put off by large or complicated tasks with lots of moving parts. Try subdividing your projects into mini- projects, and then into individual steps. One step could take maybe two minutes or less, and is therefore much more likely that it can be fitted in somewhere.

 

  1. Have a back-up plan for if things go differently to how you would like. Having a Plan B can be reassuring, and provides an alternative to get on with, should you run into snags with your first plan.

 

  1. Set a timer. Think of the amount of time that does not fill you with dread, maybe 10 mins or 5 mins and set a timer to do it for that long. Give yourself permission to stop after that.

 

  1. Make it fun. Having fun is a sure way to stimulate the brain neurotransmitters that will help you get motivated and into Action. 

 

  1. Have rewards lined up for yourself for the effort you put in, rather than using achievement alone as your success criteria. As Carol Dweck has written, ” … [W]e can praise wisely, not praising intelligence or talent. That has failed. Don’t do that anymore. But praising the process that kids engage in: their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, their improvement. This process praise creates kids who are hardy and resilient.”  from this article on Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset.

 

  1. Get support from a buddy, friend or workmate. Support from another can vary from simply  having someone in the same room while you are working, to cooperating on a task together, or asking someone to help you by regularly checking in on you.

 

  1. Pay attention to setting your environment up to suit the way you work best. Everyone is different. Some need silence to be at their best,  a tidy desk, a hot drink and their favourite pen. Others need their favourite music in the background, can work with piles and clutter all around them, drink only water, and work best in a cosy armchair. Experiment to find out what works best for you.

 

  1. Have a race with yourself. Having a race with yourself adds an element of competition and fun. Try using a timer to see how much you can get done in “x” amount of time.

 

  1. Think how you will feel once this has been completed. Will you feel relieved? Glad? Proud? Triumphant? Ready to do it all over again? Get in touch with those feelings and really imagine yourself into that place you will be after you have done this. Research reveals that future imagining and past remembering are stored in the same area of the brain. By using our imaginations to vividly create a desired future, the brain begins to tap into this information as though this future already exists, and is a memory that the brain can work with, helping the brain to problem solve and generate solutions to make your plans a reality.

Anna Schlapp B.A., AACC, ACC, is a certified coach with the ADD Coach Academy and the International Coach Federation. Specialising in ADHD and Creativity, Anna helps talented people like you find ways of being more creatively productive and productively creative.

Get in touch to schedule your complimentary coaching session with Coach Anna.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *