The Bright side Of Procrastination
So you want to know, how can you overcome procrastination?
But first is there a bright side to procrastination?
Can I, postponing accomplishing certain tasks to a later day be a good thing?
Yes, it can be.
In fact, one of my professors in college told me that procrastination and accomplishing tasks at the last minute was a skill every engineer needs to develop, as this will happen a lot when we start working.
And some employers want to know how you handle tasks when you are pressured by a very close deadline.
This is because, like it or not in the business world, so many unpredictable things happen.
There will be so many times when you will be required to make spontaneous decisions and get things done in a very short period of time.
So you might as well practice being good at that by pushing things closer to the deadline.
Other than this some other advantages of procrastination are;
- A boost in creativity
- You get to complete tasks faster
- Improve your mood and boost your energy
- You make better decisions by intentional delay.
The Downside Of Procrastination
Yes, there are some benefits but also so many disadvantages which we need to be aware of.
The pressure caused by getting to accomplish tasks close to the deadline will have an effect on your health.
Pushing tasks to the deadline might make you give up on them, as you might become overwhelmed by the workload you underestimated ( this was the cause of every bad grade I had in college)
Having to do things in a hurry might affect the quality of your service as you might miss some key details.
Procrastination can also lead to the unattainment of your goals and so much more.
Why You Procrastinate?
We very often mix up procrastination with laziness but they are very different.
Procrastination is active, as this involves postponing one task for another.
Whereas laziness is postponing one task for nothing, just lying around.
So now let us reflect on all the times we have procrastinated before.
Why did we do it?
Was it because this task was not important?
Was it because you weren’t inspire?
Did you lack the right tools to accomplish this task?
Did you not know how to accomplish this task?
Were you more attracted to or inspired by another task?
Does the task look very challenging?
Do you feel you have so much time to get the task done?
Are you scared of the results you might get when you take action?
Well, I have procrastinated for all the above reasons and so much more.
How To Overcome Procrastination
Following the reasons why we procrastinate above, I will be listing some ways in which we can tackle each and every one of these reasons.
1. Do what you love
Probably by now, we have heard the stories of many entrepreneurs and how hard they have to work to achieve success.
We have surely heard of stories of successful people who had to work consistently hard for several years before their hard work paid off.
When they are asked what kept them going all those years, most say their love for what they were doing.
Most times we turn to choose to do other things than working on accomplishing our tasks because we love those other things more.
2. Have a purpose
Your purpose, your why inspires you to get things done or at least make a plan to get things done.
3. Set your goals
Write done your goals and always remind yourself of them.
Watch a video or read blogs which remind you of the life you want to be living.
This will inspire you to get up and get to work.
4. Make a plan
This is a very important step for overcoming procrastination.
How do you plan to make your dreams come through?
What do you have to do each day?
What are the daily priorities, what can be pushed to the next day or week?
Why is it a priority?
Let the adrenaline of their urgency drive you to work.
5. Commit to getting the task done.
Yes commit, don’t just plan or say you will do it, commit to doing it.
Commit- pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy.
Committing implies getting the task done is not optional but obligatory.
6. Be Flexible
I intentionally put this after committing because I believe they go hand in hand.
As Tony Robbins says, we should commit to our goals but be flexible to how we achieve them.
I can commit to getting a certain task done in a day but I can at the same time to be flexible to how I get them done.
For example, I could commit to blogging daily but be flexible to what I blog about.
So in case I planned to blog about a certain topic today and I don’t feel inspired, I will save myself a lot of time if I just switch to something else.
Another example is committing to writing 2 pages of your book and you have no inspiration at that point in time, you might decide to do some more research on that topic instead at that point in time.
You could also commit to reading for a certain exam.
You don’t feel like reading at that point in time.
Remember your main goal is to study that topic for the exam, the how doesn’t matter, you might prefer watching a lecture about that topic on youtube. ( that was what I did when reading made me sleepy).
Be flexible about how.
7. Minimize Distraction.
Turn the notifications off, so you don’t get tempted to pick up your phone.
Work away from entertainment.
An in extreme cases you could consider blogging some sites on your work pc or deleting some apps on your phone.
6. Consume content which inspires you.
I dream to travel the world and I want to build a business which allows me to do just that.
So watching videos of bloggers and entrepreneurs who get to do that inspires me to get to work.
I want to be able to impact and inspire young girls to do more.
So watching a documentary about some of the limitations of women inspire me to work harder.
Also on days when I want to write about a certain topic and I lack the inspiration to, I watch videos and read blogs about that topic, that gets my creative juice flowing.
7. Restrict the amount of time you give to accomplish a certain task.
A task set to be done in 2 hours will most likely be done in about 2 hours.
Try seeing if you can accomplish that same task in less time.
You probably can, if you have just one and a half hour to get it done.
Don’t set the task to be done before the day runs out.
That is 24 hours allocated for a task that could be done in much less.
Setting a time limit will go along way to avoid you doing other things instead of on working on that task.
8. Ask someone to keep you accountable.
We mostly procrastinate especially on our personal projects.
because we have no boss keeping us accountable.
We could be our own worst boss or employees.
To avoid procrastination due to lack of accountability, why don’t you ask someone to keep you accountable.
You could have an accountability partner.
You keep each other accountable.
Trust me, this will go a long way to inspire you to work harder, you don’t want to be the slacker.
Just imagine having an accountability partner who tells you they got 7 things done on a certain day and you never succeeded to get anything done.
How much will that inspire you to work the next day?
When To Procrastinate
Ok by now you might probably be wondering, when do you know the right time to procrastinate and the times not to.
Like I said procrastination has a bright side and a downside.
So the million dollar question is how do we take advantage of the bright side while avoiding the effects of the downside.
Here it goes.
When you catch yourself procrastinating.
Reflect on the why?
Be honest to yourself.
Is it a lack of inspiration?
Then go do something else, you find that our best ideas come when we are not thinking about the project.
Side note: sometimes the inspiration comes when you start, other times you find yourself staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes.
When you are experiencing the later, I do believe its okay to procrastinate
Also procrastinating on a certain activity is because you have other more pressing things to handle is okay.
At the end of the day, we are all unique and have unique circumstances
What we need to do is reflect on the why and decide the best route to take, guided by our love, our why and our plan to achieve our goal.
When Not To Procrastinate
I think it is only right we talk about when not to procrastinate before we go.
Don’t procrastinate, when procrastinating means not meeting up the tasks which will lead to the attainment of your goals.
Now I will like to hear from you, How can you overcome procrastination?
How has procrastinating impacted your life?
As usual, my friends go be legendary
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
― Karen Lamb