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To My Fellow Procrastinators – Stop Saying "Tomorrow"

Lionseye insights from AC Lion

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKhAAAAJDYyZTVlNGJhLWM1NjUtNGI3Yi05N2NiLTg3N2EyOTJlODE0ZAI often write about how to make positive changes in your life; how to be more productive, live up to your full potential, or just be happier in general. Something that I truly believe can kill your happiness and leave you stagnant is that dreaded, but oh so relatable word – procrastination. As a procrastinator myself, I know how much this can hinder a person’s development. I also know that EVERYONE procrastinates to some extent (who wants to go to the dentist every six months), and some people may even say they perform better under pressure (I don’t know if I’m buying that one though).

Nonetheless, extreme procrastinators start numerous projects that they never finish, while continuously telling themselves “tomorrow is another day”… then when tomorrow comes and goes without any progress, they are back to lamenting how crappy they feel about themselves and their failed attempts. And this can include anything; a new diet, workout plan, applying for a new job… whatever you may feel the impulse to put off to another day. It can be vicious cycle. Here are 3 steps to overcoming procrastination.

Accept your limitations:  … but don’t be controlled by them, or use this as an excuse as to why you can’t do something. The more self-aware you are, the more you can plan for and work around the barriers you naturally put up. If you know that you always wait until the last minute to finish tasks, relax your timeline a bit and be more realistic. If that isn’t feasible and you have a strict deadline, make sure to break the task into manageable pieces throughout the week. Hold yourself accountable for each milestone in the project, even if it means staying late or getting into the office early. As you keep checking pieces of the project off, you will feel more accomplished and get the extra steam to finish strong.

Avoid distractions: Of course, easier said than done in today’s hyper-tech world, but it is possible. At work, unless you have social media networks, gmail, and other popular sites blocked, it can be extremely tough to go through your day without checking them at least once, and maybe multiple times on your phone. I get it – I’m in the same boat. Especially when working in the digital industry like I do, it’s kind of expected to always be connected.

My own personal strategy is to give myself specific breaks throughout the day to check my social networks. If I know that my day is going to be really busy, or that I need to give my full attention to a task, I will even put my phone on silent and out of sight to stay distraction-free. I also make it a test of my willpower to resist any urge to check my social networks for the allotted time frames. It feels good when you actually realize that you are not a total slave to technology! And most likely that status update you posted will still be there in an hour. Give it a try.

Build accountability: I think this works best for large projects, rather than small tasks that people don’t want to hear about every day. But, for something more substantial such as taking the plunge to find a new job, or pursuing a long-held aspiration, it may make sense to put together a support team. These can be family members, close friends, coworkers, mentors… anybody that you can trust to keep you in line. Again, you can’t expect them to be on your back every step of the way, but just having established check-ins every once in a while can keep you focused. When you make a goal more public, even if it’s just with a core group of people, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable. That’s why people like having a workout buddy. It really does work!

“But I’ve always been this way!”    That doesn’t mean you can’t change. A quote I really connect with is – “If you don’t like the way things are, change it! You’re not a tree.” Even if you take small steps every day, stick with it and you will slowly notice a difference. The “form a new habit in only 21 days” myth has been pretty much debunked, but this studysays that the average time is more like 66 days. Which is still just a drop in the ocean for your hopefully long and fulfilling life. Get going!


What have you done to stop procrastinating? Let us know in the comments!