Procrastination is a common scourge for us all. It is a part of being human. We procrastinate for a very simple reason – it just feels better than having to do the work. That is, in the short term, anyhow. In fact, many people make a virtue of it. They procrastinate, they say, because they work better under pressure with a deadline looming. They seem to ignore the anxiety that is produced by waiting all that time.
In fact, putting things off can take a heavy toll on us mentally, according to psychologists, possibly causing depression, low self-esteem, and other health problems. So, how do you avoid procrastination, and get started on your projects? Here is a step-by-step approach.
1. Establish a goal.
Your goal needs to be as detailed as possible, that is, what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. Your goal needs to be specific. You need to spell out exactly what you want to accomplish. Avoid vagueness. Then, write your goal down.
You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, like you have a hundred things to do and not enough time to do them. So, it may be difficult choosing just one thing as your goal, realizing you have all of those other things to do as well. But this is how you tackle procrastination – by focusing on that one goal, achieving it and then moving onto to something else.
2. Break big goals down into smaller ones
If your goal, for example, is to finish a major project, you are going to need to break it down into more manageable parts, a subset of smaller goals. Some psychologists suggest beginning with the smallest task that you can do that will move your work forward.
3. Give yourself rewards
When you complete a task, give yourself a reward for doing it. Go take a short walk or grab a cup of coffee.
4. If you backslide, just begin again.
You may find yourself falling back into old habits. It will happen. If you do, just start again. If you are having difficulty picking up where you left off, think about what could be causing your problems.