Chances are you don't even remember when you first developed your procrastination habit.
At first, it probably seemed like an easy way to get out of doing an activity you didn't want to do or that you thought was too difficult. Perhaps, you were even riddled with fear that you would fail if you took on the task. Initially, procrastination can seem rewardingit provides you with an escape so you can focus on more pleasant activities.
However, the rewards of procrastination are always short-lived. While everyone procrastinates at some point, for others procrastination becomes a chronic problem. Not only do you eventually have to dig in and take care of the task you're trying to avoid, but procrastination often leads to feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment with yourself.
According to Psychology Today, chronic procrastination can also cause anxiety, agitation, and dwelling on irrational beliefs about a previous performance. In my professional experience as a Los Angeles psychotherapist, I have found that some people who cannot achieve personal goals because of procrastinationfor instance, academic or financial success, or weight losscan also feel like failures.
Conquering procrastination is no small feat. But, there are steps you can take to overcome it. What better time to start than on Fight Procrastination day on September 6?
1. Change your attitude
As the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explains, youre bound to fall under procrastinations spell if you begin by telling yourself that a particular task is horrible. Create a new dialogue with your mind. Tell yourself over and over again how the task will actually benefit you. Accept that there might be some unpleasant aspects, but they're outweighed by the benefits. For instance, if you find filing your tax return a nuisance, consider that you might be in line for a refund or that you wont have to suffer sleepless nights worrying about the consequences if you delay filing.
2. Get started
The longer you put off a task the more likely procrastination is to set in. You'll also have more time to rehash all the reasons why you don't want to do the task. As a procrastinator, you know how easy it is to talk yourself out of doing something. Don't give yourself the opportunity.
3. Chunk it
Break down the task into small actions or chunks you can do. This prevents you from becoming overwhelmed which can happen if you think about the task or project as a whole. Also, accomplishing small tasks creates momentum and drives you towards completion.
4. Ask for help
In some cases, another person can assist you with the task you want to put off. This takes procrastination out of the equation and helps you avoid feelings of guilt or shame that drain your energy and make you more susceptible to procrastination the next time.
5. Seek professional help
If you've been battling procrastination for years and seen its destructive effects on your life, despite your attempts to stop it, it's time to seek counseling or psychotherapy. Even phone therapy sessions can be useful in helping you kick this habit for good. A psychotherapist or counselor can help you understand and resolve the thoughts and emotions that contribute to procrastination, and to develop new behaviors to replace this habit.
A Moment of Inspiration
I simply had to take a moment to post a YouTube video of a 10 year old girl. An amazing inspirational singer someone who clearly never procrastinates on what's true to her heart.