Overcoming procrastination is definitely a work in progress but it can be done. Most people procrastinate to some extent occasionally but when it’s the daily norm and your to do list just keeps growing and piles keep building up, it becomes a problem.
Why do we procrastinate?
I have always been an extreme procrastinator and have felt the negative impacts of not getting things done timely. So why do I do it? There are many excuses that come to mind and they are just that…excuses. It’s too hard. It’s unknown. It seems like it will take too much time. I don’t have time. I don’t have everything I need. I think of something as an overwhelming project instead of taking simple steps towards accomplishing a larger project. I don’t know where to start. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the resources. I didn’t realize it was urgent. I’m scared to face it. Fear of the unknown. Fear of getting it wrong. It’s not a priority.
Your subconscious mind causes you to avoid things that are unpleasant or that you’ve had a negative response to in the past. Many of the techniques in the top 10 ways to stop procrastinating I’ve listed here involve tapping into the subconscious mind and dealing with the root cause of procrastination.
Negative effects of procrastination
I procrastinate on things and it costs me money when I pay bills late or miss opportunities. I stress over simple things that I could easily mark off my list but instead it stays with me for days, weeks, months without being done. Things spiral out of control when I don’t tend to what I need to get done. Sometimes it leads to extreme urgency to get something accomplished which leads to other things being neglected. Procrastination is disempowering.
Here are just some of the negative effects of procrastination of which I am all too familiar with:
- Lost Money
- Wasted Time
- Missed opportunity
- Others being angry
- Missed deadlines
- Extra work
Top 10 ways to STOP procrastinating
I have learned many different ways to overcome procrastination. Even in writing this post, I am learning by reminding myself and sorting through what keeps me from taking action and achieving my goals. Here are the top 10 ways to stop procrastinating that I have had the most success with.
- Mel Robbins’s 5 second rule — Mel Robbins has been all the rage over the last year or so. Her top selling book, The 5 second rule, teaches a simple and effective technique to stop overthinking and take action. It is so simple but effective in the way that it redirects the neural pathway to take immediate action.
- Hypnotherapy — Hypnotherapy has gotten a bad rap with the use of stage hypnosis for entertainment. However, the therapy is making a comeback into mainstream mental wellness. Hypnotherapy delves into the subconscious mind where our long held beliefs about what is safe for us is stored. A certified hypnotherapist can effectively guide you through the process to let go of the beliefs that no longer serve us. You can also find numerous recordings specific to procrastination such as my personal favorite by Grace Smith of Grace Space Hypnotherapy.
- Emotional Freedom Technique — EFT is a holistic technique based on ancient Chinese acupressure combined with modern psychology. It involves tapping on specific meridian points while focusing on negative emotions, thus rewiring the thought pattern in a more desirable way. EFT can be taught by a practitioner or you can learn it yourself through courses and videos available online.
- Journaling — Grab a notebook or pen and paper and just start writing. Ask yourself questions. What is preventing you from taking action? Don’t overthink it, just let the thoughts flow from your mind to the paper as quickly as they come. Get out as many thoughts as you can and then go back and look for any answers or possibly even solutions. Not taking the time to think about what you’re writing allows the subconscious to take the lead.
- Meditation — Spend 10 minutes meditating to clear your mind and start with a blank slate. When you have too many things running through your mind, you’ll be overwhelmed and not know where to focus your attention.
- Get organized — First things first. Spend 10 minutes getting your area organized and free of distractions so you can focus on what needs to be done. If there’s just too much going on to do this, take what you need and go sit at a coffee shop.
- Have a routine — How you start your day has a huge impact on the rest of your day. Develop a routine that gets you started in the right direction from the beginning. Make your list and prioritize what’s important and how you intend to proceed with the day.
- Mindfulness –Stop and take a few deep breaths. Notice what you are doing. Where is your mind? What are you thinking about? Bring yourself back to the present moment. Make this a habit to use often throughout the day.
- Be prepared – Strategize, Confidence, Knowledge — Know what you’re doing going into a project. Map out the steps and what you need to do first. Breaking tasks down into smaller, manageable steps prevents overwhelm.
- Aroma Freedom Technique — AFT uses aromatherapy in a step by step process to release negative thought patters, feelings and memories that interfere with reaching our goals. It sets energy flowing in a positive direction of growth and expansion.
Recognize when and why you are procrastinating. What thoughts and emotions does it trigger? What are you gaining?
What things do you tend to procrastinate on? When do you find yourself procrastinating?
Share your insights in the comments.
Your zen friend,