Many of us believe that success is about coming up with great ideas or doing the impossible, but most success is the result of doing the mundane. It's doing the things that no one wants to do. Whether it's losing weight, getting a better job, starting a business, doing well in school, or saving a million dollars, the process can feel largely unenjoyable at times, unless we push ourselves to see the greater goal.
In most cases, you know what needs to be done. The challenge is getting yourself to do it.
Dealing effectively with procrastination is getting yourself to do things you don't want to do. This is great practice for learning how to become successful! If you can defeat your procrastination, you can accomplish just about anything.
Consider the normal process of procrastination:
1. You think about doing something.
Isn't that how you start a task? You think about doing it. Sometimes you think about it so much that you brain gets overwhelmed and shuts down, or you turn yourself off completely from doing it.
2. You notice how it feels.
Every thought generates a feeling or emotion. When it feels good, we do the task. That's why it's so easy to get off the couch to get a bag of chips. It's not as easy to leave the couch to go outside and paint the gutters or go for a run.
3. If it feels bad, you avoid it.
You have your own, consistent ways of deflecting the task. Each one of us has developed our own set of procrastination habits that has continuously led us to remain stuck in a rut. The first step is acknowledging what your habit patterns are. Do you know what you do when you're in procrastinating mode? Make a list of the things you do to avoid a task. This will help you see what you need to do to overcome each one.
4. When the feeling of putting it off feels worse than the feeling of doing it, you finally act.
This is when you eventually (and begrudgingly) pay your taxes, take out the trash, apply for a job, or work on your term paper.
This is a very common process. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well if you're trying to get ahead or to prevent your life from descending into chaos.
Try an alternative method for dealing with unpleasant tasks, and overcoming procrastination mindset:
1. When you feel bad about a task, get excited that you're being given an opportunity to learn success skills. This is the moment that defines your future success and aligns you with the path of your highest potential. The least successful people are the worst procrastinators. Successful people always do the hard things. Remember that every time you start to go down the abyss of negativity when you feel overwhelmed with a task.
2. Take a minute to just sit with your feelings and notice them. Acknowledge and accept your discomfort. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Notice where you feel the disturbance. Is it in your head? Your chest? Stomach? Try to relax that area of your body and release the tension. Many times when we overthink a situation we end up with brain fog and this causes stress in our whole system. Pay attention to where your discomfort is coming from.
3. Spend five minutes doing the task you want to avoid. Set a timer if you have to. Anyone can handle just five minutes. Getting started is the hardest part, so become an expert on getting started! You'll often find that you'll continue beyond your five-minute goal. This is called creating momentum, and will help you get past the initial hardship of starting a task you’ve been procrastinating. Congratulate yourself for lasting at least five minutes.
4. Forgive yourself for failing. Some days you win, others you lose. Working through discomfort and defeating procrastination is a challenging skill to learn. Don’t worry about not getting it right the first time, just make sure you keep practicing until you become accustomed to completing the tasks that will help you be successful.
Procrastination is a very human habit. There's little doubt that its origins were helpful. Poor decisions could be disastrous 100,000 years ago. Our brains had to be thoroughly convinced that an idea was worthy of execution before it would allow us to act. These days, however, procrastination can single handedly destroy your goals and dreams if you don’t overcome them. Decide for yourself that right now is the time to move forward and take one step toward your success. Use your urge to procrastinate as fuel for learning to be successful. Your future success will thank you.
If you need direct support to overcome procrastination habits and are ready to change your unproductive patterns, please contact us! Victoria Rubio is a mindset and success coach, and a career and business consultant who works with clients to help them overcome obstacles and set up step-by-step strategies for success so they can elevate their careers or businesses, and reach their highest potential. Book a free consultation today!