By Ruth Barringham
As a writer, I always understand about procrastination and how hard it can be sometimes to sit down and write when I really don’t feel like doing it, or I feel as though there are other things I really SHOULD be doing.
But I think that what most people don’t realise is that procrastination is more than simply a way of always putting things off. It goes much deeper than that, because if you’re not doing what you should be doing, then you’re not living up to your full potential. And that’s crazy.
Procrastination doesn’t only happen to writers though, it can hit all of us. In fact, everyone at one time or another has procrastinated.
It can seem even harder for writers because we work alone at home with no boss to tell us what to do, or make sure that we get our work done on time. So it’s easy to put off writing and engage in other distractions instead.
But what causes procrastination?
For me, it’s usually when I don’t have a firm plan for what I want to achieve. But once I sit down and work out a step-by-step list of tasks I need to do, then it becomes easier to get going.
But we are all different. For some, procrastination is caused by self-doubt.
Procrastination also goes much deeper than just stopping you from doing what you’re supposed to be doing. It can lead to feelings of failure and even cause depression and give you a feeling of “what’s the use?” about your whole life. So it’s a really serious problem.
One thing for sure though, is that no matter what causes it, procrastination is the same for everyone, in that it’s a bad habit that must be broken, and it can be, just like any other bad habit.
So what can you do about overcoming procrastination?
Some people think that the way to stop procrastinating is to make up a whole to-do list. They also use reminders, better organisation, and even write up schedules of what to do and when to do it. But none of this works. I know because I’ve tried them all, because it doesn’t help to keep a list of things to do or write out a work schedule when I know that when the time comes to do it all, I just really can’t be bothered.
If you’re having the same problem, here are 6 simple things you can start to do to help you to overcome procrastination.
1. Understand that it’s a habit. It’s a bad habit just like smoking and drinking. And just as you can overcome other habits, you can overcome this one as well.
2. Know your intention before you start. What part of your life are you procrastinating about? It might be just one or all areas of your life. What you need to do is know your exact intentions for whatever you’re procrastinating about all the time. What is it that you want to achieve?
3. Identify your procrastinating habits. It’s not only about how you feel but also what it is that you do when you procrastinate. When we procrastinate, we not only put off what we should be doing, but we also ‘busy’ ourselves doing other stuff. What is it that you do?
4. What excuses do you give yourself? What is it that you say to yourself when you don’t want to do something? Are you trying to put something off by pretending that it’s not THAT important? What is the story that you tell yourself?
5. Change how you think. Whatever it is that you tell yourself about why you don’t need to do something, even though you know you should, start telling yourself a different story. Tell yourself to ‘man-up’ and get to work.
6. It takes time. Just remember that this isn’t going to be an overnight fix. It probably took you years to become a procrastinator so it may take some time to stop. But not as much time as you think, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll lose your bad habit of procrastinating.
And that’s what you need to do to take back control of your life and accomplish more which will also make you feel more relaxed when you’re not working because you won’t feel guilty or overwhelmed anymore.
Eliminate procrastination and you’ll get what you want out of life instead of always feeling like you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
The 21 Day System to Stop Procrastinating