Are you a procrastinator? Perhaps finding 1001 things to do rather than doing the one you have to get done? Maybe you don’t consider yourself to suffer from procrastination but sometimes you get stuck on just one thing. It’s not necessarily that we procrastinate over everything, just on some things that we find more challenging than others and evoke uncomfortable emotions such as boredom if the task does not inspire you. So how to stop procrastinating?
Let’s take a step back and understand what procrastination is. In a nutshell, it’s putting off until later what we know in our logical minds what we should do now. I don’t’ know about you, but I don’t like the feeling of something hanging over me that I should be getting done, but is that feeling enough to push me to do it? More often than not, no!
Six types of procrastination
Did you know there are different types of procrastination? In their book, It’s About Time!: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them authors Sapadin and Maguire identify six types of procrastination. Which can you relate to? There may be a mixture of them that make up your procrastination style
1. The Perfectionist
Not wanting to start the task because you think you won’t do it well enough, don’t know enough or will fail. Perhaps you do not want to finish something because you feel you aren’t ready or worried about external judgment.
“Don’t let your want for perfection become procrastination.”~ Danielle LaPorte
2. The Dreamer
The dreamer likes to float through life, avoiding difficult circumstances or emotions, and even though they may have big dreams and ideas, they rarely get made into achievable goals because it feels too hard.
3. The Worrier
The worrier’s refrain is “What if…” They feel overwhelmed by events and fear what might go wrong and therefore avoid the risk of putting themselves in difficult situations that cause discomfort. They are ambivalent about change, continually doing a pros and cons list that keeps them from moving forward.
4. The Defier
The defier does not like to be told what to do and sees others’ suggestions as trying to control her. She becomes argumentative and resistant. Another form of this trait is to say yes to doing a task when they know that they will not be able to get it done and really should be saying no.
5. The Crisis-Maker
The crisis-maker leaves everything to the last minute, declaring that this is when he does his best work. Living on the edge gives him the burst of energy necessary to get things done. Leaving things until the last moment though may mean he doesn’t get them done and does not have the time to do his best work. Also, the stress of this lifestyle is detrimental to his health and wellbeing; living in a chaotic state and on constant adrenaline is not good for anyone.
6. The Overdoer
The overdoer bites off more than she can chew. Not saying no to work and others’ demands leave her struggling to manage her time, living with stress, and dropping the ball on things she considers important. Work or promises are delivered late or not at all.
Why can’t we just stop procrastinating and get it done?
When we think about starting the task, something about it feels too hard. In this case, we should ask ourselves:
What is it about the task that is stopping me from getting started?
This could be several things.
- You might not know how to do it so you need to know more information first.
- You don’t have the skillset to get it done.
- The task is too large and overwhelming and you cant work out how to break it down into smaller parts
- You don’t have the time to complete it and should have said no
- You are worried it, or you, will not be good enough
- You will show the world that you are not an expert if I don’t know enough, letting imposter syndrome get the better of you
- You said yes because you were worried about judgment if you said no.
- You think it is just too hard.
Once you have identified what is stopping you make, solving that feeling, thought or circumstance is the first step to take:
- Find out more information or do research.
- Delegate to someone else who can do it with ease.
- Change your mind. Yes, you can, you know! Admit to saying yes when you should have said no.
- Break the task down into smaller parts and start on the first one rather than thinking of it as one big task or project.
- Find ways to change your mindset around the task. How can you stop thinking of it as a chore and start thinking of it as an enjoyable activity?
- Schedule chunks of time between now and the deadline to bite off small manageable pieces and get them done.
Give yourself grace and understanding
As always, as you learn how to stop procrastinating, give yourself grace and understanding. Procrastination is something that nearly everyone struggles with in one way or another. Now you have a greater experience of the reasons behind putting off your tasks and some small steps to making changes to help yourself stop procrastinating, and notice how much more time and energy you have for life.
If you need some extra guidance on stopping procrastinating for your personal situation, let’s talk!