By Teresa Hawthorne
Are you being robbed? Willingly?
Here’s how you can tell.
Are your thoughts filled with words like later, tomorrow, someday, or eventually? If so, a thief could be carrying away one of your most prized possessions. Do you often wonder how it could be that you’ve been busy all day, but haven’t completed much on your to-do list? If your answer is yes, a thief may be running off with a valuable asset.
The thief—procrastination. Your precious commodity—time.
Procrastination is the intentional choice to avoid or put off doing something that you know should be done. That’s right, it’s a choice. And if chosen often enough, it becomes a habit.
The procrastination habit comes at a cost. In addition to stealing your time, it negatively impacts your emotions and leaves you feeling overwhelmed, unproductive, guilty, and full of regret. It’s also a barrier to your success because it delays the steps toward your goals, causes you to miss opportunities, and can even result in stagnation.
You’re likely already paying the cost if the procrastination habit has found its way into your life. So here is some good news. Habits can change. Before you willingly allow this time waster to rob you again, arm yourself with these three tactics to help you arrest procrastination and reclaim your precious time.
Be On The Lookout
It’s often said that acknowledging a problem is the first step towards a solution. That being the case, the next step with procrastination is becoming aware of why. Procrastination shows up for a variety of reasons. Some common causes to look for are:
Identifying why you avoid or put things off is key to overcoming the habit. To do this, be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Is your mind filled with what-if scenarios? Do you believe the task is too challenging? Are you unsure of where to start? Do you think you lack the skills? Do you dread what will result from you completing the project successfully?
Once you’ve recognized why you do it, you’ll need a way to fight procrastination when it tries to break its way in.
Plan Your Defense
Taking time to create a plan is your best defense against the procrastination habit. Having a plan gives you a structured approach, helps to pinpoint a starting point and provides a guided route from beginning to completion.
When developing your plan, it’s important to consider your why. If the reason you procrastinate is that you are overwhelmed, for example, your plan should include breaking a project into smaller, more manageable pieces. If your why is that you’re challenged with time management, your plan could be to block time on your calendar and committing to working on your task or project.
Of course, your plan will be foiled if you don’t execute it. Your next step is to take action.
Jump In And Attack
In the words of Amelia Earhart, "The most effective way to do it, is to do it." You can fight off the time thief by simply getting started.
A good way to jump in is to start small. Commit to working on your dreaded task or project for five to ten minutes, then add another set of minutes when you’ve reached the end. Successfully working for short periods will give you momentum to keep going, and before you know it the task is done.
Stealing your time back from a long-standing procrastination habit will take your focused and deliberate effort. Arm yourself with these three actions and you’ll be ready to identify and fight off this time thief when it attempts to creep back in.
Are you struggling to make time for your goals and dreams? Schedule a FREE phone consultation to find out how we can help!
Here’s to Having ~ More Time. More Space. More Life.