How to stop procrastinating – what ambitious women already know
How often have you thought to yourself “I wish I’d waited until the last possible minute before getting started“? Never? Exactly. Stop procrastinating and get it done!
You and I both know that procrastination is the killer of bright ideas and creativity. It dulls the soul and never gets anything useful done.
So often when I am talking to women about how to balance work and life more confidently, it comes down to how much time they have available. But as Laura Vanderkam points out, we all have 168 hours in the week, and we choose how to use each of those hours.
“Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. And when we focus on what matters,we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”
It’s not that we don’t have the time to get everything done, it’s how you and where you choose to focus your time. And if you are wasting time procrastinating, well quite frankly, you’re not going to fit it all in.
The key thing to stop the procrastination is to understand and identify the cause of your procrastination: is it fear of success, fear of failure, perfectionism, the task is too big and overwhelming, there’s nobody holding you accountable?
If you are not sure what’s getting in the way, read through these 7 tips on how to stop procrastinating and pick the one that makes sense you.
1 – Break the task down
If it’s a big task, don’t try to tackle it all at once. Break it down into smaller steps and then do one step at a time. Because smaller steps and tasks are less daunting, you are more likely to get started. Getting started gives you energy and focus!
2 – Accountability and support
It’s amazing how much more likely you are to get something done when you tell others what you plan to do. This keeps accountable plus you’ll get support. It’s one of the reasons that I always ask my online class participants to write down and share the actions they are going to take. It’s the accountability.
3 – Just get started
Yes, just jump right in. Instead of telling yourself that you’ll check your email first, or get a fresh cup of coffee, simply go ahead and start. Often the tasks we put off, are nowhere near as difficult or as tiresome once you get going. The more you put it off, the bigger it gets.
4 – Milestones – small rewards
If lack of interest or motivation is what is stopping you from getting started, plan (and give yourself) small rewards at each milestone.
5 – Fear of failure?
Sometimes when we procrastinate it’s because we’re worried about how it’s going to turn out. Until we get started, we can’t possibly fail at it. If that’s you, get really clear about how you will feel when you have finished. What are the benefits of getting that task done? How will you feel tomorrow or next week if you don’t get it one.
6 – Indecision??
If indecision is the key player in your procrastination, set a deadline by which to make the decision (and remember accountability in 2 above; tell others what you plan to do because this will hold you accountable.
7 – You want it to be perfect
Often those of us (me included) with perfectionist tendencies keep putting things off because we are waiting for the perfect moment. Do something little to get started. Remember that imperfect action gets more done than perfect inaction. Imperfectly perfect is the key.
As I mentioned, the key is to figure out WHY you are procrastinating first. If you need a little help with figuring out why you procrastinating and what you can do to get over it, let’s talk. A simple conversation with me might be all you need. I’ll help as much as I can in the conversation, and if you want to take it further we can talk about that too. No pressure. I promise.
If today's the day, you want to put your head in your hands and cry, know you are not alone. Why not check out these tips on how to cope with overwhelm.
Coach | Author | Speaker | Dog sitter
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