I had been procrastinating writing this blog post. Pretty ironic huh? But while I was procrastinating, I spent time reflecting and gathering some research on this misunderstood topic.
I say it’s misunderstood because most view procrastinators as people who are lazy or lack determination.
I beg to differ.
To begin, I explored barriers we place on ourselves that often lead to procrastination. I think they all stem from our need for freedom.
Here is what we procrastinators lack:
- Freedom of time. There are only a few moments in a day to work on things that we want to get done as opposed to things that need to get done. Our wants take a back seat. Our busy schedules don’t allow us to have unlimited time dedicated to our goals. We need to give time to our wants as well.
- Freedom of creativity. Projects often need to be completed in a certain way, and there isn’t enough room for creativity to keep our attention. We need room for mess and exploration that we often aren’t giving ourselves.
- Freedom to fail. We put off work because the finished product may not be good enough. Our anxiety around the unknowns can be a common hindrance.
Now that we have identified barriers, I would like us to explore ways to navigate the path of procrastination…
Identify the triggers- We need to evaluate what our external barriers are when we are procrastinating. Maybe things we would like to do instead (social media) get in the way. Or maybe we put our free time at the end of the day when we are actually less likely to be productive overall. Once these triggers are identified, remove them as best you can by placing yourself in an environment that sets you up for success.
Practice healthy perspectives- Are you trying to fit in a two-hour project into a two-hour time frame? You aren’t giving yourself room for error or distractions to take place which allows room for anxiety to creep in. Manage your time in such a way that you either break up the tasks or give yourself more than enough time to complete them. Also, be sure to place your mind in a perspective that sees yourself in a positive light practicing internal encouragement and motivation.
Don’t be consumed by vision- You want to develop a vision for completion, but don’t get bogged down to the point you forget the steps to get there. Focus on achieving a little at a time and celebrate the small successes along the way. You don’t have to get to the finish line to celebrate.
Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”- More than likely the worst thing is you fail or don’t complete your goal. However, you can learn so much in the process. Learning doesn’t only happen as a result of completion. When you take on this perspective and overcome the worst-case-scenario, the task becomes more manageable.
Overall, give yourself grace. There will be times when procrastination will introduce itself and maybe you won’t so easily wave good-bye. That’s okay. Keep working on the steps above, and soon the steps may happen naturally. Remember to simply keep moving in the right direction. Don’t stop.
What is helpful when you find yourself drowning in procrastination?
Most of what I wrote focuses on the internal. For some practical tips, look here .
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