I hate to admit it, but I’m not a go-getter. In fact the old saying “My get up and go got up and went.” holds true for me. I do manage to get things done, so I’m not a hopeless procrastinator – but I push the limits!
Procrastination is so prevalent that there are dozens of proverbs and axioms penned about it. Many self-improvement books and articles have been written on the topic, too.
There are reasons we procrastinate. A few causes are:
We dislike doing things we’re required to do,
A project is so overwhelming we don’t know where to start,
We’re perfectionists know the results won’t meet our high standards,
We have no clear objective in mind,
Some things are hard to do alone.
You probably cannot eliminate procrastination but there are some strategies that I use it on the get started on tasks and follow through.
5 Strategies to Overcome Procrastination
Forget being perfect and do the best work that you can do. If you make a mistake, think of it as a learning experience so you can do an even better job the next time. Author John C. Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward says that you can turn mistakes into ‘Stepping Stones for Success’.
When you’re unsure of how to do something, ask for help. It’s amazing how happy people are to mentor or guide you through something.
When starting a project or task, consider what the results will look like. Make the picture very clear. I visualize the outcome of my work. When I prepare a mailing to prospective clients, I see them opening the mail, reading the material and calling my office.
Break a big job up into small tasks with deadlines. You can easily start and finish a series of small tasks, but sitting down to a big project can give you a headache really fast! Dave Ramsey, in EntreLeadership, says that procrastination can be avoided by setting a self-imposed deadline or by realizing the reality of an actual deadline.
Find a buddy to report your progress to or, even better, to partner with.
Start by trying one or more of the above ideas. With these you’ll find relief from the stress of procrastination as you learn to follow through when you start a project.