3 Ways to stop procrastinating
We all have moments when we simply can't be bothered with certain tasks although we know they must be done, and as a result we start to procrastinate.
It's strange, as it only delays the inevitable and does us no good so why do we do it?
To understand the reasons behind procrastination, you could look at yourself as two different people; your present and future self. The future self is the one we make all our plans for, but the present self needs to take all the action.
The future self will benefit from the outcome such as having a successful business, but the present self often rather watches Netflix than starts writing a business plan for the future self to benefit from.
The question therefore is how can we get our present self to take action now?
There are three effective methods that can help you:
1. Immediate Reward
The human brain values immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. Whether it’s writing that business plan, starting to brainstorm your brand strategy, finalising your accounting or building your website that you procrastinate on, you want to give yourself an immediate reward for starting.
Enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee, put your favorite music on the background, or have a foot bath while doing the task. You want to combine behaviour that is good for you in the long-run with behaviour that feels good in the short-run. You are ultimately rewiring your brain to link positive rewards to these tasks and they become easier to start.
2. Immediate Consequence
Equally effective is to set immediate consequences whenever you catch yourself procrastinating. You may want to ask a friend as an accountability partner for this to make sure you don’t let yourself off the hook.
You could set up money to automatically go to a cause you hate every time you don’t post your social media content at an agreed time or become responsible for an additional household task for the day every time you stay in bed longer than you should in the morning. Whatever it is, the consequence has to be something that weighs more than procrastinating.
3. Divide smaller
Make your task more achievable by breaking it into smaller tasks. The smaller and more achievable your tasks are, the less likely you are to procrastinate.
If you struggle to write a blog post, give yourself a task to decide the subject first. If your task is to launch your business, break it down to the five most important tasks first, choose the most important one and break that into even smaller and smaller tasks. Small measures of progress will help you to maintain motivation, and momentum to finish follows often naturally.
You can use one or all of these methods, but most importantly forgive yourself if you catch yourself procrastinating. By associating procrastination with a positive feeling such as compassion towards yourself, you’re also less likely to delay the start of your next task.
P.S. If it's branding that you're procrastinating on -- perhaps because you don't quite know where to start or if you're doing it right, I warmly recommend you to go through my free Brand Kickstarter mini-course (click the link for access). It's self-paced, comes with three compact lessons and three easy workbooks for you to keep!