Why do we procrastinate? There are many reasons.
Laziness, Impostor Syndrome and Perfectionism. See, the thing about Procrastination is, it’s super sneaky. We can sometimes find ourselves holding off important tasks until the last minute by making excuses that (at the time) seem genuine.
“It’ll be easy, I’ve got plenty of time to finish”
That may be true. But it’s still procrastinating. Think about it logically, if a task really is so easy, what stops us from just getting it out of the way?
Here’s another favourite of mine:
“I need to make sure it’s perfect”
That’s sweet, but nothing is perfect (but more on that later).
I know a lot of people struggle with procrastinating. And because of that, I thought to write some of the methods I’ve used to overcome procrastination. Join me as I go through them, who knows, you might just learn something 😉
Tone Down The Perfectionism
When I talk about perfectionism I mean having an all or nothing mentality. Believing that if a project doesn’t go as well as you envision, then it’s not good enough.
I understand the desire for everything we do to be perfect; flawless even. Because if it’s perfect, then we can say we did an amazing job. However, the harsh reality (which I believe I don’t need to remind anyone of) is that nothing is perfect.
If we try to run our businesses, or lives, thinking that we’ll only do something perfectly we risk slowing ourselves down. Think about it, if we’re busy waiting for the perfect time to do the perfect thing; we’ll likely be waiting forever i.e. procrastinating.
Instead of striving for perfectionism in our work, let’s strive for consistency in the quality of our work. People notice quality, people notice the value you bring to the table. No one notices when you’re working on perfecting things in secret.
Perfection is a myth, an anchor that keeps you tied down. As people, we can only come close to perfection in our work, but we can never reach perfection itself because someone will always see a problem.
So instead of being tied down with the fiction that is perfection. Let’s go out there and do what needs to be done, no excuses! 🙂
Reward Yourself For Every Little Bit That You Do
Sometimes we procrastinate because tasks feel like a slog. It’s like we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, sure, we’ll get a lot of revenue and all, but that’s a part of the job.
I would encourage rewarding ourselves by doing something wild (or tame, depending on your preference). Have something to look forward to when you’re done with your work. That way, you fight the desire to procrastinate knowing that doing all the tasks is important and that in the end, it will be worth it.
Consider reading my post on: 5 Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome to learn the values of rewarding ourselves.
Use the 5-minute rule
In cases when you procrastinate because you have a task that’s a real snooze-fest (you know which ones) try using what many call the “5-minute rule”.
So for example, let’s say you have an essay that needs writing and it’s 2000 words. When you use the 5-minute rule, you set a timer for, naturally, 5 minutes. Within that five minutes, you’ll make sure you’re not distracted by anything or anyone. What tends to happen is that the 5-minute rule tricks our brains to be more productive.
Think about it, 5 minutes is not too long and not too short. In many ways, whilst you’re working hard during those 5 minutes you won’t notice time fly. And by the time those 5 minutes pass you would have done more than you had 5 minutes ago.
This trick only works if you discipline yourself enough not to get distracted in those 5 minutes though; so don’t lie to yourself. When I use this method I often find myself saying things like:
“Maybe 2 more minutes” — “Maybe 1 more minute” — “Okay, just 5 more minutes”.
Lol, It works like a charm, give it a shot.