Well, all of us have been there.
Only the degrees of procrastination vary depending on the type of the task or the goal.
- That important mail you wanted to write to your team member and give your feedback, got postponed by an hour, because you aren’t “getting the right words”.
- The slide deck for the upcoming Q4’17 Sales meet, got pushed to tomorrow morning, since your “creative juices aren’t flowing yet”.
- Long pending, yearly medical check up and review is now postponed for the umpteenth time to next month, because “you’re feeling healthy anyways ”.
Sounds familiar? And tomorrow is another day, possibly with a new set of reasons and rationale.
Apart from the obvious downsides of lower productivity or losing out on plum opportunities, recent research has shown that procrastination can also lead to lesser quality of health. Research has shown that procrastinators often have a weakened immune system. They are more prone to develop gastrointestinal problems and suffer from colds as well as flu more frequently.
There are 3 different (pop) varieties of procrastination:
- Arousal type, who wait until the last minute to complete something for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success (who come under pressure to repeat the success).
- Lastly, the Decisional type, who find it highly difficult to make a decision.
After reading through few articles and some excerpts of books on this topic, here is a simple 5-step method, I have put together, to kill procrastination. It’s working for me.
To get rid of this No.1 productivity killer, simply “CLICK”!
“C-L-I-C-K”, the 5-step methodology is explained below.
1. C- Create the vision: Create a visual imagery of your goal to be achieved or that important task to be completed. They say, success happens twice. First in the mind and second in reality. Clearly imagine the end state of the goal being accomplished by you. That important task being completed. A visual cue of the successful state, to the sub-conscious mind gives sufficient energy and motivation to get started and overcome the heavy inertia. That is half the battle won.
2. L- Lay to rest: Lay to rest the saboteurs. The main culprits that derail us, after we get started, are the negative thoughts or the beliefs about ourselves. That – “I am not cut out for this”, ‘ I am not ready yet” and “I am not capable” etc. Taking a moment to write down and converting the same negative thoughts into a positive statements, or affirmations, help immensely. “I am ready now”. “I am capable.” etc changes the perspective and improves your self-belief to stay the course. Colorful Post-ITs work for me, with these cue lines.
3. I- Inch by Inch: It’s not about blocking chunky parts on your calendar and fighting the clock, to finish the task at hand, in one go. Break it down. Let the progress be in small parts. Write one paragraph of email to get started. Make that one phone call to fix the doctor’s appointment. Complete the opening slides of the presentation. Build momentum. You’re already on the way, successfully.
4. C- Close the door: Literally, shut the door on distractions – when you’re deeply engaged in making progress. Disappear into a secluded conference room. Grab your favourite corner space, at home. Clear out the clutter. Organise your office desk. Put your smart phone in silent mode. Don’t meet your colleague for coffee in the pantry. While in the zone and especially when the creative juices are flowing, make the most of it and cover as much ground without any distraction. One Facebook post can spoil your progress.
5. K- Kick-start every day: I have noticed that if you don’t focus and persist on the task at hand in a consistent manner, but cut yourself some slack, it becomes the case of one-step-forward-and-few-steps-backwards. It takes more energy and motivation to gather steam and build momentum again, in removing procrastination from the list of productivity killers. Kick start on the process every day, every week – so that it becomes a habit. Like some of the famous diet plans, create a 21 day (minimum required to form habits) or a 30 day simple “To-Do-Task-list diet plan” and work on it daily to complete the chosen task every day, without fail.
That’s “C-L-I-C-K” – the five-step methodology to kill procrastination.
I had couple of questions : How do you avoid procrastination of activities that are very important but which is painful or unpleasant – like going to the dentist as a preventive health measure?
What are your thoughts about procrastination? How do you personally deal with it and overcome it?