Do you say: “I’ll stop procrastinating … Tomorrow!!!”
We are all faced with our own procrastination. Whatever turns you off! As a young child, my famous piano teacher would criticize my playing skills. She would say: “Hearing the way you play, Both Chopin and Beethoven will come out of their graves!” The piano became my monster and my bully. Now, I feel more relaxed with this instrument perhaps thanks to the psychological empowerment techniques I use.
There is good news. Since procrastination is a habit, it can be changed. Highly structured Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is effective in teaching proactive habits. In the words of Harry Truman:
“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” So, here’s what you can do:
Know Your Reasons For Procrastination:
It may be that you lack discipline. You don’t get enough sleep so you lack energy. You don’t know where to begin, so you feel overwhelmed. Psychologists say that sometimes people procrastinate because they feel anxious. They fear failure. They have difficulty taking decisions. So they leave it to someone else to take decisions. Then they cannot be blamed if the decision is not a good one. Many people often wrongly conclude that the procrastinator is a lazy bum. This may also be true. Yet at the same time, the procrastinator may very well be afraid of not succeeding.
It may be more acceptable for the procrastinator to be labelled lazy instead of being seen as lacking abilities or being ‘not good enough.
Learn To Take Decisions:
Wishes and preferences are not decisions. A decision means you are committed to reaching a result. Once committed, do not get your priorities mixed up either. Like one of my patients said to me: “This year I decide to have a fat bank account and a thin body and I won’t mix these up like I did last year!”
Learn Time Management:
Most people do not budget their time well. They spend time recklessly. “A time for each activity and each activity for a time!”
When you know what to do and when to do it, you’ll get a rhythm and a pace. Knowing what to do and when to do it will set you free. You will not have to decide each minute what your next minute ought to be like.
Nike company advertisement says Take the first step and “just do it”. And the next step will come. “Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.”
Don’t Bite On What You Cannot Chew:
Do not binge on tasks. Let us set reachable realistic goals. Instead of saying “I have 100 pages written, and today I’ll finish the rest of my 500-page book.”
I can say: “I will sit at the desk in the morning from 7 am – 10 am and I’ll have a break only after having written 20 pages.” Meanwhile, “I better switch off distraction buttons.”
Get Rid Of Clutter. Simplify Your Life:
Simplify, simplify, simplify! If you are really a procrastinator, then you feel bad about yourself for not doing what you are supposed to do. You are delaying and putting off what needs to be done.
A vicious cycle is created where you increasingly feel bad and feeling bad depletes your energy. It becomes easier to delay doing what needs to be done. Sometimes procrastinators turn avoidance into an art form.
Sadly, these people are the first ones to complain about everybody and anything.
When they fail tests at school they blame the teacher. When they get fired from their job, they blame the boss. When they lose in sports, they blame the opponent. When their partner leaves them, they gripe about their partner. Therefore, they turn on their anger buttons. By turning on anger, they also quieten down their fears of not succeeding, albeit for a brief period. If we choose to live for the moment and let things happen to us, then let us not complain. Behaviours have consequences.
Self Blame or blaming others will not solve your issue. Instead, becoming proactive and taking responsibility for your actions will get you activated.
Break Down The Tasks Into Smaller Pieces:
Goal setting requires decisions. Decisions require planning and proactive action.
Make each step specific. Concrete and purposeful actions keep you on target.
“Every project has a starting point. If you do not start it how can you ever finish it?”
Put Your Ideas On Paper:
Be writing-friendly. Do your planning by putting down brief thoughts. Seeing your ideas and plans on paper is good.
Reward Yourself For Each Step Achieved:
Don’t you agree that a ‘yes can do’ person is more interesting to be with instead of a ‘not now…maybe later’ person?
By setting small achievable steps, you will make a success of each small step. Each step leads to the next. You will develop resilience and say ‘Goodbye Procrastination.’
Dr. Louise Aznavour
Psychologist = Solution Oriented Coaching =
+1 (514) 983-8309
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