7-Stage Strategies to Beating Procrastination
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, improving oneself entails 73.9% of people’s continuous desires and goals. What an encouraging information this is; to see that the greater majority of individuals recognize that they could think better, do things better, or even simply be a better person.
Through hundreds of self-development inquiries, below you can find one of the most popular ones with a focus on, but not limited to, professional self-development topics. And as always, should you need further assistance in planning and accomplishing this topic, reach out to me.
We all enjoy the feeling (or sense) of having successfully finished a task or project. Whether it is a chore at home (your laundry is clean and smells good; your living room is neatly organized, allowing you to freely explore without the feeling of disgust; or your yard is mowed, giving you and your family a great summer at the very convenience of your own home) or a project at work (a report for months of research, which after presented to your company, you’ve received lots of kudos; an initiative program, which brought together your colleagues to collaborate on projects, successfully producing better results; or a design portfolio that has allowed you to be promoted), these senses of accomplishments continue to drive us day in and day out. We’re wired like that; as long as we finish “things”, we keep moving. But, staying actively productive during given times that we should be productive is often a hard task for many, and maybe for all of us.
Somehow, we are all good practitioners of this not-so-desired skill called procrastination. If you are a college or grad student, you are the paragon for this example. As a student, we tend to leave things for the last minute. Whether because of our busy lives with trying to manage work and school responsibilities or managing social life with school responsibilities. If you are a professional, you tend to tackle the tasks that are closest to their deadlines, forgetting that the ones that are due two weeks from now or so will require at least one hour a day for the next two weeks in order for you to provide quality deliverables. What happens is that we continue to procrastinate for several reasons. Consequently, when least expected, we start working on the task two or three days prior to the deadline.
Certainly, factors such as Deadlines, Ambition, and even Embarrassment can keep us accountable to accomplishing the tasks we must accomplish. However, all of us face the “just this once, what harm can it do?” dilemma.
The big problem is that procrastination always deliver your minimum value. It doesn’t get the attention it needs and deserves. With time slipping away, you barely deliver a framework for what you need to deliver. Imagine if you were a residential contractor and your client, based on a mutual agreement, came to see his new house on the date of the “key-turning” and, looking from outside, he sees a semi-finished house. And, once he walks into the house, all he sees is the framework, with no carpets, drywall, or even insulation.
Having awareness and an understanding of the “How” and “Why” things happen in us or our lives in a must. After some self-reflection and web searching, here are the Major Reasons for Procrastination:
Lack of Focus
Lack of Motivation/Interest
Lack of Knowledge
Fear of Failure
Fear of Success
Priorities and Task Timing Estimates
Easiness of Tasks
If you are reading this, you certainly possess at least one of these reasons. Some of us get a bit more creative and add two, three, four, or even five of them to their procrastination bucket. At this point, what really matters is that you can candidly reason and identify any of these reasons being a part of your life. After all, we first have to identify the problem so that we can effectively fix it.
When we are ready to move toward fixing the problem, beating procrastination, and thus getting the results that we need and want, we should try the following 7-Stage Strategies to Beating Procrastination:
Be aware of your unique major reasons for procrastination
Understand “Why” it happens
Understand “How” it happens
Combat your “Procrastination Withdraws” by applying effective strategies that work for you
Follow your strategies (Discipline must emerge beyond your current feelings state)
When possible, get accountability
To illustrate an example for tackling procrastination with work using the above 7-Stage Strategies to Beating Procrastination, let’s consider a departmental report as the task that has been put aside on several occasions.
Stage 1 - [Awareness] One’s major reasons for procrastination on this task could be Perfectionism and Fear of Failure.
Stage 2 - [Why] (Perfectionism) You can never get to a final product because you think you can always tweak a few things, expecting to making it perfect. (Fear of Failure) You concern yourself too much with what people, and especially your superiors, will think of your work.
Stage 3 - [How] (Perfectionism) How you notice that you are being a perfectionist is on how many times you make changes to your final product. Say your final product is a report, you go through your first, second, and even your third draft… Two days from it being due, you make another change. On the very due date, you make yet another change. You finally turn in the report 5 minutes before it was due. As a matter fact, if it wasn’t due in 5 minutes, you would still make a few other changes and send it later that night … or the next morning … well, close to 11:50am.
(Fear of Failure) Every single time, without a doubt, when you finish a task, especially when it needs to be seen and/or approved by others, you feel your stomach turn.
Stage 4 - [Strategize] To tackle your procrastination (Perfectionism and Fear of Failure), schedule 2 or 3 different days and times for you to work on your report (this will deal with your Perfectionism) and once finished, ask someone who understands the objectives of the project to review your work before it is submitted (this will deal with your Fear of Failure).
Stage 5 - [Follow Through] Be disciplined and follow your strategies. Walk away. Avoid temptations. It is about decisiveness; choose to improve yourself and remove your procrastination inclinations.
Stage 6 - [Accountability] Accountability plays a huge role in helping us accomplish what we need and/or want. Be vulnerable and let your trusted colleagues know that you are trying to work on your procrastination habits. Use technology to your advantage when applicable. If you notice that your procrastination habits are playing a role beyond your work (that is, in your personal life as well), reach out to a coach to effectively assist you (I can certainly help you with this!).
Stage 7 - [Reward] When you cook, you get to eat; when you get a degree, you have the possibility to earn much more money from when you were in High School; when you win the Soccer World Cup, you get lots of recognition and money. So why should we not be rewarded when we overcome simple, yet extremely powerful, procrastination habits? Reward yourself. You know what you like. Go for it!
Understanding the “Why” and “How” you procrastinate is a major step toward beating your procrastination habits. Following the 7-Stage Strategies to Beating Procrastination helps you move toward a more productive, efficient, and effective individual.
What other thoughts would you add to this post? I am interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
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About the Author
Mike Sprowl is becoming the most sought after Readiness & Flourishing Coach and Consultant in the coaching community. He is famous for helping clients find a direction, implement personalized pathways, and facilitate flourishing and growth so that their lives are meaningful and purposeful without being negative.
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