How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?

Before answering this question, let us understand why do we procrastinate.

Most of the people in the world procrastinate from time to time. Sometimes it is for small things like cleaning the house, buying grocery, washing clothes etc. But most of the times it is for things that are very important for life like going to the gym, completing the exam preparation or  paying your bills. Let us look at some of the reasons responsible for procrastination.

1. Overestimating our own  abilities

A lot of us overestimate our own abilities of completing a piece of work on time. Not only this, we overestimate that how motivated we will be in the future to complete the work at hand. We assume that we will be in the right frame of mind in the future to complete this task. We all have done this at some point in life. Remember the time when you thought that the project could be completed in a day, while it took others a week to complete.

We all come up with a lot of excuses to avoid  work. Like too busy. Too tired. Too broke. Some times these excuses make sense. But most of the times they are like a safety blanket to protect you from doing some real work.

2. Too many distractions

In this advanced age of technology, we have a lot of distractions in life which do not allow us to do real work. How can a person prepare for an exam when he has 30 pending requests of Candy Crush Saga on his facebook page? How can he go to gym when he has to answer hundreds of emails?

Most of us have become slaves to these distractions. We prefer to look at our useless phone notifications then talking face to face with our friends. These distractions have become a part of our life. We have stopped looking at them as distractions and this has contributed a lot towards our procrastination.

3. Self Doubt and Fear

Self doubt can also be a major factor. When we are unsure of how to tackle a project or insecure in our abilities, we might find ourselves putting it off in favor of working on other tasks.

We tell ourselves that ‘one day’ we will be ready to make a change, or take a chance; that ‘one day’ the timing will be better, our confidence stronger, our circumstances easier. But that one day never comes. Our self doubt and fear keeps on increasing as the day to submit the work comes nearer.

Lets look at some of the strategies you can apply to get over procrastination.

1. Visualize what you want in the future

We underestimate the power of visualization. It can be a great tool to incorporate a lot of good habits. Ask yourself what will be your future like if you keep on procrastinating and not completing the work at hand.

Picture yourself in a place where you have accomplished everything you wanted in life. Your future success can be a huge motivating factor to not give up your present work.

2. Free yourself from distractions

Remove all the social networking apps from your smartphone . They do nothing except killing your productivity. The constant feed of push notifications will never allow you to focus on your work. Install an extension in your browser that blocks these social networking sites.

You will not lose any friends or miss out on something important in life. If something is really important, its news will reach you.

3. Get a buddy

I know it is very difficult to remain accountable to yourself. But if you have a companion the whole process will become a lot more fun. Share your goals with your buddy. Both of you will be accountable for each other goals. Make sure to discuss the status of your goals with each other on a timely basis. A buddy can become a constant source of motivation and help you get over procrastination.

4. Reward good work

Rewards and Incentives are an amazing way to give up bad habits. Reward yourself if you complete a work before the deadline or if you are able to continue gym for a month.The rewards can be anything like some fun activity with your friends, a good movie or eating your favorite ice cream.

These rewards will keep on motivating you to do good work in the future. But you must use them judiciously. Do not give rewards for a little effort as it can defeat their purpose.

5. Organize your time

This point may sound trivial, yet this is one of the most important things required not only to give up procrastination but to do anything worthwhile in life.

There are hundreds of ToDo lists and Apps out there that help you to manage your time. Choose whatever best fits your need. It is very important to assign priority to different tasks in a day.

Do not over burden yourself with only tasks related to work. Allocate proper time for other activities like playing your favorite sport or going out on a walk. Do not give up sleep as it will come to bite you in the future and make you less productive.  If you become good at organizing your time everything else will fall into place.

We all have been procrastinating for a lot of time now. Procrastination has become a part of our lifestyle and most of us do not even see it as a problem.

I love this quote by Michael McCarthy.

Procrastination is like masturbation, in the beginning it feels good, but in the end, you’re just f***ing yourself!

It will be difficult to give up this habit. But that is true for most bad habits. You will have to make a lot of effort in the beginning. Just keep going. A voice from you head will constantly urge you to stop. Don’t stop.

I have procrastinated a lot before coming up with this answer. Hope it helps you to come out of this habit.


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