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“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“There’s really no rush to get this done, so it can wait another week.”
“This task isn’t that important anyway; it’ll get done when I find the time.”
All these statements are signs of procrastination. How many do you find yourself muttering on a regular basis?
While everyone procrastinates a task from time to time – whether it’s completing a work project or cleaning the garage – too much procrastination in your life can derail even the best-laid plans.
Procrastination occurs for a number of reasons and in varying degrees. The most prevalent reasons for procrastination are: 1) unanswered questions about the task; 2) unresolved fears about doing the task; 3) insufficient motivation to take on something new. All of these reasons are internal, and really have nothing to do with the task itself; they all relate to something the person has to resolve within him or herself.
So if you have a few unfinished projects looming over your head and you can’t seem to muster the initiative to get them done, put the following procrastination-busting tips into play today.
1. Find your passion
If you’re passionate about something, you don’t need an outside motivator to get it done, nor do you fear the task or have unresolved questions about it. So, the big question is, how do you find your passion? There are actually two routes to take for identifying your passion: 1) Either it’s some aspect of the work you already do, or 2) It’s something close to your heart. Keep in mind that for either of these options, your passion doesn’t have to be something you’re good at; it just has to be something meaningful to you – something that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning. Once you can unlock the passion for something, you’ll find the procrastination disappears.
But, what if you’re stuck in a situation or job you’re not passionate about but fear leaving due to financial or other constraints? How can you beat procrastination under those circumstances? Always remember … life is too short to be in a situation you don’t like. First consider talking to your supervisor about new opportunities you can take on within your current position. Chances are, you once found passion in your current job, but maybe your responsibilities have become mundane or repetitive and you have lost some of that passion. Taking on new responsibilities will rejuvenate the passion you once felt. Also, you could consider making a lateral move to remain loyal to your current company, but take on whole new challenges.
Granted, finances may be a consideration as well. If that’s the case for you, then start looking for reasons why you are in that job or situation to begin with. Something drew you to that position initially. Find out that reason and you may be able to uncover some aspect of your current situation that you are passionate about and that can motivate you to achieve greater goals.
2. Choose a motivational buddy or dream team
Often, other people can motivate you to keep going when you’re suffering from procrastination. Your buddy or team can consist of anyone, such as a spouse, co-worker, boss or sibling, as long as the people you choose will truly hold you accountable for taking (or not taking) action. Make sure you choose people you feel comfortable talking to about your goals and aspirations. Detail to your team exactly what you want to do and why, as well as how you plan to accomplish the goal. Then, make sure your team can monitor what you’re doing on a regular basis.
Think of this approach like having a workout buddy. Even though you want to go to the gym three times a week and workout for 45 minutes, sometimes you need another person to keep you on track and to make sure you actually show up at the gym at 6 a.m. The same holds true for other goals in your life. So, assemble your dream team and keep them apprised of your progress. With a little help from outsiders, you can beat procrastination and reach new heights of success.
3. Get moving
Newton ’s Law of Motion states that objects in motion will stay in motion. That’s why you have to do something, no matter how small, to get going toward your goal and beat procrastination. Every one of us is full of potential energy – energy that has not yet started in motion. But once some sort of motion starts, it will keep going. Therefore, you have to take some step, even a small one sometimes, to start the momentum. Once you do, continuing the activity will be a lot easier.
Have you ever wondered why the most successful people in the world seem to grow even more successful with each passing year? It’s because they don’t stop once they’ve started. They use the momentum and energy they’ve accumulated to reach even higher levels of success. They get the cycle going and they don’t let it stop.
For example, if you have to write a report for work and keep procrastinating the project, tell yourself that all you have to do is write one paragraph or even just a couple of sentences. Those initial words you write will give you the momentum to keep going, and before you know it you’ll be “in the groove” and will have the entire report done.
Often, small steps are the best way to complete a task and end procrastination. Consider the Great Wall of China. It’s the largest man-made structure on the planet and an amazing sight to behold. Most people automatically assume that the wall was built using large stones or boulders. In fact, the wall is constructed with many small bricks, not large stones. Life is the same way. Successful people are simply the right combination of small bricks. Therefore, if you can focus on the little things rather than on accomplishing the most major things all in one shot, you’ll eventually have something quite magnificent to behold. Greatness always starts with the little things, and action of any sort will always stop procrastination in its tracks.
Take action today!
Procrastination is a deadly killer of dreams, of goals, of careers, and of life’s happiness. Don’t allow procrastination to hold you back any longer. By finding your passion, enlisting the help of others and taking small action steps, you can overcome procrastination and achieve your full potential. So make the decision today to get out and do something. And remember ... nothing meaningful ever happens by accident.
About the author:
Doug Vermeeren is an author and motivational speaker on goal setting and human performance. As the author of “Accelerated Achievement” and “Amazing Success,” Doug has interviewed more than 400 top achievers and developed a concrete method for achievement and success. Currently, Doug is producing a follow-up to “The Secret,” called, “The Opus,” which focuses on taking a vision, turning it into a plan and putting it to performance – releasing in 2008. For more information, visit www.TheOpusMovie.com, or to contact Doug, visit www.douglasvermeeren.com .