Six ways you can stop procrastinating – and start getting things done
Wirral transformational mind coach and therapist Alison Blackler of 2MindsNLP offers her expert advice on how you can stop dithering and delaying and be more dynamic in your working life
Procrastination was called the ‘thief of time’ more than 300 years ago by the English poet Edward Young.
While procrastination may or may not be the thief of time, it will certainly steal your peace of mind.
Putting things off requires mental and emotional energy. Most who procrastinate are not at all lazy, they just shift emphasis to different things for different reasons.
This is possibly because the task is too difficult, time-consuming, not your favourite or simply unpleasant
Why do we do it when it eats up peace of mind and vitality? Putting things off is just that – it’s just delaying action, and the more you do it the more there is to keep track of and worry about.
Already you are wasting time and energy and the stress is building up.
Gradually, it takes more and more effort to “not think about it”. Yet the crazy thing is you’re going to have to complete the form sooner or later.
The only difference procrastinating makes is that you have a gradually increasing level of stress and uneasiness and, when you eventually do get around to acting, you do so under pressure rather than from choice.
Here are six steps to help combat procrastination:
- Take a few minutes to think about something you have been putting off and to feel, just how much stress putting this off has already caused you since you first realised the task needed action.
- Think about, and feel, how much stress it is causing you – how much time you spend thinking about it (or trying to not think about it), feeling guilty about it, being reminded about it and so on. Again, get in touch with these feelings of discomfort.
- Think about how much discomfort it will cause you if you continue to do nothing about it for another few weeks or even another a few months.
- Okay, you have just experienced the uneasiness and unpleasantness involved in procrastinating on this issue, now let’s look at the benefits of taking action. Take a few moments to really feel how good it will be once you have taken action on this and put it behind you.
- Think about how just how much time and effort this task will actually require. And compare the cost of taking action (in terms of energy, effort, etc) with the cost of not taking action.
- Now do it. Right now, while it is still fresh in your mind and in your emotions. Or at least begin doing it. Or plan to take action within the next day or so – and make sure you stick to this commitment.