Forever stuck at procrastination station? Read this.
I'm gonna be honest with you here, I wrote this post because I'm forever trying to work out how to not procrastinate!
Now I'm proud that I've done a massive amount of work on squashing my perfectionist tendencies, but something that often comes hand in hand with perfectionism, is a fat lot of procrastination. And it's unfortunately a whole entire beast that needs tackling separately. But y'know, that's actually one of the coolest things about having a blog, I get to research whatever topics are going to help me as well as you!
I know you know that feeling though – when you're stuck in that yucky inertia, but you're just somehow not able to help yourself or dig yourself out of it. You know exactly what you should be doing, but you're the furthest from actually doing it!
It could be knowing you've got a crazy a deadline to meet by the end of the day, you know you should've started on it hours ago and your afternoon and evening is gonna be hell tryna make it as it is, but faffing about with every other menial task, Facebook notification or email seems to be your preferred choice of time-spent!
Or maybe you're dealing with a bigger to-do, like launching a website for a new business, or creating the most badass CV any employer has ever seen to bag that dream promotion – goals that if they come off, you know could literally change your life, and mean more work ultimately. But do you think you're gonna be able to find the time to get them done and out into the world so change can actually happen? No chance. Procrastination station's where it's at obvs 👊🏻
So wouldn't it just be awesome to have a go-to strategy of procrastination-squashers, whenever you feel that all-too-familiar pull of procrastination? You know I've got you 💋
How to not procrastinate: The Imperfect Life® Strategy
This works reeeeeally well for me, in a work situation in particular. I might start the day with a list of tasks, design and business-related, of varying degrees of urgency and time needed. If I don't time-block (which happens more frequently than I'd probably care to admit! 😂), I flounder, I procrastinate, and I end up working into the wee hours to get stuff done. But when I do time-block, I give a generous but realistic time slot for each task, in order of importance, and strike a line through them as I complete them (y'know, that awesome 'done' feeling? Reward and reinforce that.) Y'see, giving realistic deadlines (I need this done by 10:30am, rather than at some point today I've gotta get this done), means it’s harder to put tasks off, and you're more motivated to complete them. Double-cool 😎😎
Do the do-nothing test.
This is only a recent discovery for me and it freaking works! Use it, grab it, abuse it honey! When you're next in the depths of procrastination and you feel the frustration within yourself rising, note down how you might feel if you don't complete your task by when you need to. How will your inaction now, make your future self feel? 'Cause now-you and future-you are a team, you've gotta work together through this sh*t! And don't just think it, write it. It doesn't matter how much you're thinking ahead either. If it's a work deadline for today, you could think about how you'll be feeling when you're still working into the night on it, (when you'd much rather be Netflix-binging in your jimjams with a bar of Oreo Dairy Milk – have you tried this btw!? 🤤). Or if it's a bigger, more life-changing task, you could think about how you'll be feeling in a year's time when not much has changed and you're still in the same frustrated position. Seeing your not-so-pretty, potential future written down in front of you, is a beautiful lil' wake-up call to pull your finger out.
You're welcome 😊
Celebrate when you do move.
So perhaps one of the above techniques have worked, or something else egged you on, and you're well on your way out of procrastination for today 💪🏻 yassss! Now get into the habit of doing something nice for yourself when you do manage to get stuff done. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or ostentatious, but a reward all the same. Even a nice munch of a biscuit’ll do. The theory is, when you train your brain into realising there's a nice lil' reward waiting at the end of a completed task, it'll be a helluva lot easier to get started.
Break it down now. 🕺
...into tiny pieces I mean. If you've got an overwhelming amount to do, I'm not surprised you're procrastinating and trying your best to avoid the inevitable! Who wouldn't when they're overwhelmed? The only way you're going to get through this unscathed is to break it down. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much easier it is to get through a bazillion tiny pieces of something, rather than one big fat lump of something. If we use the massive launching-a-website task example from earlier, instead of continually saying to yourself 'Ahmagaaaaad, that whole website needs to be up by the end of the year', break it down into mini-tasks like 1) purchase domain and research platform/hosting to use. 2) Work out sitemap and content needed. 3) Contact 3 x designers/developers for quotes. 4) Create and collate content...you get the vibe. Now you've got actionable tasks that you can add to your days' to-do lists. Done-zo! 🙌🏻
Tell someone what you’re gonna do.
Accountability is a great motivator, as is peer pressure! It sounds a bit twisted to pile extra pressure on yourself and it's usually not my advice-style at all, but if you're reeeeeally struggling to get stuff done, I feel you, but you need the pressure 😁 For example, if you’re procrastinating at work and your colleague is waiting on you to complete a task, tell whoever’s waiting on you that they'll get your stuff by 12 noon (or any other set time). And then stick to it. Having verbalised a promise to someone is a great kick up the hoohar to quit procrastinating and start storming through those to-do lists tasks.
Or if you’re procrastinating on bigger, more transformational tasks and goals, y'know like life-changing ones, tell someone what your dreams are and what you're determined to make happen. You know then that they’re going to ask how you’re getting on in time, and you're gonna want to give them an exciting answer. Go get 'em tiger 🐯
Stop waiting for the perfect time.
This is probably more applicable to your bigger, longer-term goals you're putting on the long finger, but it does still kinda apply for day-to-day tasks too. If you're waiting for the perfect moment to start something, I hate to tell you, but you’re never gonna accomplish anything. Because the perfect moment never comes. If you've made endless promises to yourself to finally start working out regularly, looking after your body and eating healthily, but you're waiting for Monday to start, or January or whenever, it makes no difference. The time is now. If you genuinely want to take that leap to start that business or passion project, but you're waiting for things to align and feel like they fit into place, nothing’s ever going to be all aligned and in-place honey, you’ve just gotta start, even before you’re ready.
So are you feeling raring to go for the next time you feel yourself pulling into procrastination station?! I hope so. If you know someone who needs to read this too, it'd just be mega if you shared this with them. Until next weekend, I'll leave you with this thought 💋