Don’t let procrastination sabotage your next project, your long-term goals, or your biggest dreams. Educate yourself more on this inhibitor and learn how to overcome it when you need to most.
What You’re Not Doing
When we say that we’re procrastinating, it’s not often that we’re talking about delaying the need to get ice cream or avoiding Breaking Bad binges. No, procrastination usually revolves around something more crucial to our well-being: meeting a deadline so our work pays off; cleaning the house for a better living environment; taking action to start the journey of reaching new goals to self-improve.
Procrastination by definition is not complete avoidance, it is “the action of delaying or postponing something,” which means that the delayed action is something that we are still intending to get done, or know that we have to get done.
The worst part is when “too late” sets in and the panic and/or regret begins, especially when it’s a truly momentous action you’re avoiding. Why? Because that is a feeling that will linger on with you for who knows how long. You can get over a deadline; you can’t get over a life-changing career move.
Why You’re Procrastinating
There are various reasons for procrastination but at the root of all of them lies fear.
Forbes describes the discomfort that fear causes in these situations:
“That potent and instinctive emotion whose reason for being is to protect us from pain (including the emotional variety) and urge us away from anything it perceives might threaten our sense of self, injure our pride, or rattle our world.”
In short, the fear of failure is enough to paralyze us. Plus, instant gratification often overtakes long-term goals of success. So while you’re thinking about that somewhat-risky project you want to embark on, the shorter to-do list looks much more appealing because the payoff of completion will come quicker.
How to Get Past It and Get Moving
The first step in getting past any hurdle is to understand it better. Recognizing the cause of your fear and rationalizing it’s actual risks and payoffs will help you better assess your situation. Suddenly, a daunting task may be put into a new perspective because you can visualize the rewards you’ll reap.
The next step is to put your thoughts into action. If possible, set a goal date for yourself that is reasonable but timely. If that is one week, one month, or one year, you’ll be able to break down your timeline into increments so you can plan out your plan of attack.
Remember to start small. You don’t have to start with the most intimidating part of the project. If you need to write a paper on an unfamiliar subject, start by researching related fields that you’re interested in for inspiration and connections. Then you’ll better be able to build your own connection to the subject before you even start writing.
Most importantly, constantly remind yourself of the reward at the end of the tunnel. That could be a monetary payoff, emotional gain, or even just a sense of relief that it’s over! You’ll be so happy to have the project behind you… hold on to that feeling throughout the process.
Best of luck!
We love talking about what works best in the office. Meet our team and contact us to join the conversation.