Written by: Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Most of us experience prostration occasionally. However, some people procrastinate more than they'd like to, and 20% do it chronically even though it causes them real mental pain. How? By beating themselves up for not accomplishing the goals, they set out for themselves. With that negative self-talk, you stop believing that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Procrastination is a self-sabotaging behavior. When you know, you should be doing something good for you, but instead, you do something else or nothing at all, you're not acting in your best interest.
So how can you become invincible and fight procrastination? Here are 5 proven ways that will help you get there:
1. Get clear on your goals
When you lack clarity on what you want to achieve, it's hard to focus.
As James Clear says: "If you commit to nothing – you'll be distracted by everything." If you don't have any goals and only a vague idea of what you'd like to achieve, it's almost impossible to get there.
2. Break down your goals
Even if you have goals, but they are BIG and BOLD, and not specific enough, it's hard to know where and how to start, let alone accomplish them.
Don't get me wrong; having bold goals is essential. It pushes your limits. And as you grow with them, you end up achieving more than you ever could by aiming low.
However, dreaming big is not sufficient. You need to break down those Big Hairy and Audacious Goals into smaller achievable chunks. When you do that, taking steps to achieve your dream doesn't feel that overwhelming anymore. Moreover, crushing smaller goals gives your brain enough instant gratification to stay focused on the long-term vision.
3. Get rid of perfectionism
Perfectionism is a thief of time, draining your energy. It's often paralyzing, preventing you from completing the tasks you set for yourself. No wonder it's a perfect breeding ground for procrastination!
The truth is that perfection is always out of reach. That's why it has such adverse effects not only on your productivity but also peace of mind.
The mindset that you can embrace instead is EXCELLENCE.
As Harriet Braiker puts it: "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." Unlike the big scary "P," the pursuit of excellence keeps you focused on what matters. It'll fill you with energy and optimism. It'll foster a willingness to try new things and take risks because you'll be centering your attention on the journey, not a perfect outcome.
4. Be realistic with what you can accomplish
If you're a high-achiever focused on crushing goals, experiencing procrastination must have a very demoralizing effect on you.
Have you ever thought that it's the overscheduling that's the leading cause of this? I know it might seem counter-intuitive. Especially because in point 1, I'm talking about setting clear goals. But it's not when you look at yourself as a holistic human being.
As humans, we need to take care of our four dimensions to fully tap into our potential: heart, body, mind, and soul. Having a balance between them allows us to be most effective.
When you overschedule yourself, you leave no room for the brain to relax and have some white space. You can quickly become mentally exhausted. That's when you start getting overwhelmed and procrastinate.
The first step to ease this problem is to relax your schedule. Next, ensure that each day, you make room for mental and physical breaks. You won't believe the difference in how you feel and how much more productive you'll become!
5. Eliminate distractions
How many times throughout the day do you respond to texts, emails, or FB messages? Do you have the TV running in the background? And lately, with everyone staying at home, there are even more distractions around.
If it's hard for you to tune out all distractions and focus on the task at hand, then try to ensure they aren't present or minimize them when you want to be focused. Turn off the TV, go to a quiet room to work on the project and don't take your phone there. Make sure you're not hungry before you start. Pick a time to work when kids don't need your assistance. I think you get the gist.
6. Face your fears
Sometimes the cause of your procrastination might be fear.
Fear of failure.
Fear of success.
Fear of being ridiculed or criticized.
Understand that fear first. Next, know that you are not alone. Most people experience the same doubts as you, whether they're incredibly successful in what they're doing or just starting. Lastly, take action. Taking action despite the fear is what differentiates the most successful people from the rest. It's the only way to conquer fear. Procrastination, on the other hand, breeds fear.
And if you think about it, it's more painful to be sitting there thinking about the task you want to do than actually doing it. When you start working on your goals, the pain dissipates, and confidence kicks in.
"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Dale Carnegie
All in all, when you don't have clear goals, try to do too much at once, or fall prey to the distractions around you, procrastination almost naturally creeps in. It's easy then to use "I don't feel like it" excuse. However, the damaging mental effects of procrastination on our well-being are massive. The good news is, though, that now you can fight it and win! Try it because it's soooo worth it in the end.
Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maggie Perotin is a business and leadership coach, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses without the overwhelm so they can live the life they want. Through her DREAM-PLAN-DO coaching model, she helps her clients reach their potential and get results while maintaining balance in life.
Maggie has over 13 years of coaching and leadership experience in the corporate world in various domains. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations, Facility Management Administration designation, and currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Jack Welch Management Institute. Maggie uses all her knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs be strategic and creative in building a successful business and brand that attract their ideal clients. She is passionate about spending quality time with her blended family with four kids in the Canadian nature, traveling, self-development, and healthy cuisine of the world.