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Get Rid Of Procrastination With These Easy Steps

Written by: Gayle Terzis, 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.

 

Procrastination is a nasty habit that has the potential if left unchecked, to negatively affect the quality of our lives!


After many hours spent with my clients, and years spent studying leadership, executive, and career coaching, I can assure you that procrastination is neither about laziness nor about a lack of time management skills.


In short, procrastination is about our inability to properly manage our emotions!

Since many of us do not know how to correctly handle emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, confusion, and boredom, we resort to procrastination to avoid dealing with the negative emotions that are associated with our tasks.


But what exactly is Procrastination?


Procrastination is avoiding getting tasks done by postponing them either till the last minute or indefinitely, despite the negative consequences it might have on our lives.


Although at one time or the other, many of us have found ourselves procrastinating, it only becomes a problem if it is done on a regular basis, thus becoming a nasty habit that is ruining our lives.


According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology and author, around 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators[i].


It doesn’t have to always be like this, though!


Below, I have compiled a list of things you can do right now to slowly remove procrastination from your life.


But first, let us understand why we procrastinate in the first place!


Why do we engage in Procrastination?


Procrastinating by putting off a task provides us relief in the immediate present. And albeit temporary, we will start seeking this relief over and over again, so we start procrastinating more.


This in time will become an irrational and vicious cycle of chronic procrastination.


When we procrastinate, we are fully aware of what we are doing and the fact that doing so is a bad idea, but because we have been rewarded for procrastinating the first time, we tend to do it again.


Our aversion to the task may be due, for example, to its unpleasant nature, like organizing a long and boring spreadsheet for our boss.


But it might also result from deeper feelings that are triggered by the task itself, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, or insecurity.


For example, while staring at a blank document, we might be thinking to ourselves that we are not smart enough to do this.


The long-term effects of Chronic Procrastination


Over time, chronic procrastination will have destructive effects on our productivity, as well as on our mental and physical health, including:

  • Chronic stress

  • Low life satisfaction

  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • Poor health behaviors

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular diseases

How to avoid procrastination and start being active:


The solution to avoid procrastination and becoming more productive is directly related to learning how to manage our emotions in a new way, rather than downloading a time management app.


We can also work on our procrastination habits in coaching sessions!


Here are some ideas that will help you cope when you start to feel like you are about to procrastinate:

  1. Focus on managing negative moods, rather than getting on with the task at hand. This will help you be in the present moment, and understand what is going on with you.

  2. Show yourself compassion: You can change your emotions by being compassionate towards yourself and by forgiving yourself whenever you procrastinate. Several studies [ii] show that self-compassion supports motivation and personal growth, and decreases psychological distress.

  3. Reframe the thought of the task by considering a positive aspect of it, rather than ruminating on it and spending time on regret. You can remind yourself, for example, of a time when you did something similar and it turned out O.K. Or you can think about the positive feedback your boss might give you once you show them your finished work. How does that make you feel?

  4. Create a to-don't list, along with your to-do list, where you write a list of activities to avoid while working. (i.e. don't answer your phone, or don't go on social media while you are working).

  5. Schedule tasks in your calendar, the same way you would with meetings. When you do that, you are allocating a specific time for your task which will motivate you to complete it, rather than just pushing it indefinitely.

  6. Give yourself an incentive to stay focused; Maybe less time at work for more time off.

  7. You often procrastinate less when you have less time. According to research [iii], people with a 4-day work week tend to be more productive.

  8. Consider the next course of action: Get started, by breaking your big task into smaller ones. This way, it will be easier for you to accomplish them and will give you the motivation to keep going.

  9. Make your temptations more inconvenient by placing obstacles between yourself and your temptations to induce a certain degree of frustration. If you compulsively check social media, for example, delete the related apps from your phone or put in a really complicated password.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Gayle Terzis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Gayle Terzis is an Executive & Career Coach and the Founder of Boost Up.

With a background in banking, Gayle spent over ten years in the corporate world working on diverse missions, including the development of the first program dedicated to the financial empowerment of women in the Middle East. However, she started feeling that her job was lacking meaning and purpose, she was automatically less happy at work. She found coaching to be her calling. She quit her job and got certified by the ICF Executive & Leadership Coaching program.

Today, Gayle helps ambitious career-focused people connect with their better selves in order to reach their full potential and achieve meaningful goals faster; while having a balanced, healthy, happy and productive life.

 

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