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I always thought, like everyone we know, that it must have been my laziness and lack of self-discipline. Not to mention the self-loading that would come after failing to stay on my goals.
It took me a long time to figure out what went wrong. Why did I continue to procrastinate even though I knew it would set me back?
Here it is, it’s not what you think, its something straightforward and hard to believe that you did not realize it yet.
Doing the Wrong Things First
Seriously, you are doing the wrong things first. I was busy, and I was doing stuff. But I was not doing the things that would drive me forward to my life goals. Yikes, I was doing the wrong “important” stuff. I was focusing on my list and filling it up with mundane goals that did not forward my future.
I could keep up the pretense of business for weeks, but my mind and body knew. My soul knew that I was not moving forward because I kept working, and it seemed all I got done was housework that would get messed up a minute later. I no longer give those mundane tasks my priority, I still get them done, but I leave them to last.
Giving priorities to tasks that do not add value to your life is the fastest way to keep on procrastinating. You can’t write a to-do list full of mundane things and expect it to propel you forward.
No way around it, you have to be thoughtful; you have to have life goals, only then can you create a to-do list that is meaningful and gets you to your goals.
Prioritize Based On Value
So let’s go back a bit. My to-do list would be chuck full of wash dishes, take out garbage, feed kids (okay that one is important), and wash clothes. However, my actual goal-setting tasks would be pushed to the next day because I thought that I was second to everything that was in my life.
So to get out of that kind of mindset, you have to make a priority of those tasks that add value to your future.
I started by doing a Life Audit (see how to do a life Audit), that allowed me to see where I was, and where I wanted to be. From there, I took my goals and broke them down into completion dates and then into tasks and those tasks I added to my to-do list.
Only after I began to see progress from my daily grind towards my goals did I began to be okay with the daily routine of task completion. If you want to overcome Procrastination, you need to see progress in those goals that matter to you.
Here are Five Ways to Stop Procrastinating
Step One: Check Your Mood and Regulate It
How you feel about what you are doing has been shown to increase the chances that you will procrastinate. Experts suggest you practice letting go of emotions when you think of a task. Begin by acknowledging what you are feeling and let it go. Just drop that feeling and think of the project as finished and the way that makes you feel. Learning to let go of emotions that halt your progress helps decrease anxiety about what you need to do.
Step Two: Imagine the Big Picture
Imagine the big picture of success only (don’t focus on the details yet). Studies have been done to show that between a person who looks at the big picture and one that imagines all the details, the one that looks at the big picture tends to complete tasks more often. Why? Because looking at every aspect of a job can lead you to feel overwhelmed and thus procrastinate.
Step Three: Break Down Large Projects Into Do-able Tasks
Breaking down large projects into doable small tasks can help make that task less scary. When you jot down the enormous task into something manageable, your mind tends to relax, and then you can progress from one small step to the next.
Step Four: Take Small Steps To Get You Going
I always thought I had to finish something all at once, and when you have ADHD, it may seem like if you don’t, you will never get back to it. No one ever teaches you how to be okay with seeing the big picture and then focusing on one small step at a time. My favorite quote, “you don’t have to see the whole stairs to take the first step.” Taking one step is all you need to do, then take the other. The more you practice on focusing on one thing at a time, the easier it gets not to panic.
Step Five: Work On the Tasks That Move You Towards Your Life Goals First
Do you have a clear picture of where you are going in life? If you don’t, you need to get that nice and clear on a piece of paper. You need to see where you are going before you make plans to get there. Check out my How to do a Life Audit if you are unclear about what you need to do to have a life plan. After you know where you are going then begin to get those goals into your schedule and then you to-do list.
Only If You Are Tired of Where You Are Will You Move ForwardConsequence of Being
It’s hard to hear but, only the people who are tired of where they are will seak to move to the next level. Do those things that will help you move to you from the procrastination loop.
I can’t stress enough that if you are not prioritizing the right essential things, you will continue to procrastinate. Take it from a life long procrastinator the more you; practice letting go of emotions, imagine a great outcome, breakdown large projects, take a small step first, and know where you are going. The more natural breaking out of procrastination will be.
It has been a life long journey for me, and I wish I had someone that could have taught me that procrastination is a skill and one that can be worked on and not just a character flaw. Pass the knowledge along to your children and those who you find dear because everyone deserves to accomplish an amazing life.
I read a lot to try and get to the bottom of why we do what we do. Some information is repetitious, and other is blind blowing and new. I found my source of information from many websites down below (see works cited), and if you have time, check them out.
P.S. Special thanks to my husband, who is a fantastic self-motivator. I often ask him questions regarding what goes on in his mind to try and figure out what causes a person to complete projects (he has built several houses from the ground up and knows how to self-motivate better than any person I know).
Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control). (2019, March 25). The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/smarter-living/why-you-procrastinate-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-self-control.html
Schicker, A. (2013, February 5). What Is PROCRASTINATION and How Can You Overcome It? Retrieved August 30, 2019, from Procrastination.com website: https://procrastination.com/what-is-procrastination
Locke, S. (2014, December 8). Why your brain loves procrastination. Retrieved August 30, 2019, from Vox website: https://www.vox.com/2014/12/8/7352833/procrastination-psychology-help-stop
Clifford, C. (2014). 15 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done (Infographic). Retrieved August 30, 2019, from Entrepreneur website: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240262
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