Let’s face it. The past few years really threw most of us for a loop with unexpected twists and turns, setbacks, and restarts. I know that for a lot of people it has interfered with the ability (and desire) to stay on top of goals and other things that need to get done. If that sounds familiar to you, I bet by now, you have a backlog of projects and tasks piled up and it might feel a little overwhelming.
I can really relate to this because there were times in my life when I was a champion procrastinator. The more I put off the things I knew I needed to do, the worse my anxiety got, which just made me feel even more defeated!
Fortunately, I eventually learned to overcome my vulnerability to distractions as well as my preference for avoiding mundane tasks. With practice, I discovered that once I got focused on something and completed it, I not only felt better about myself but I also found that getting things done was never really as difficult or boring as I had imagined they would be.If you’re a regular procrastinator, you really can learn to change your behavior and reap the rewards of greater self-efficacy and accomplishment. Click To Tweet
7 Strategies to Overcome Procrastination
Whether you have an occasional bout of “I’ll do that tomorrow” or a regular habit of putting off goals or tasks, you can change your behavior and reap the rewards of greater self-efficacy and accomplishment. Here are 7 strategies that worked really well for me.
- Make a list of the things you need and/or want to do. Put the easiest ones on the top of the list. Once you finish an item draw a line through it. I know this sounds overly simple, but I LOVE the satisfaction of being able to cross things off my list! And, I find that it motivates me to tackle other ones.
- Before you begin a task, close your email and put your phone on Do Not Disturb so you can minimize interruptions that can derail your intention to get something done.
- Break down the more time-consuming tasks into bite-sized chunks. For example, if your office is a mess and you have piles of paper that need be organized, commit to doing just one pile at a time so you don’t feel inundated and bail out instead.
- Listen to some good music or an interesting podcast while you’re doing tasks that don’t require a lot of concentration. This helps to circumvent boredom and keep you entertained while you’re accomplishing something.
- Attend to the less pleasant tasks earlier in the day and get them out of the way. I know that when I’ve told myself, “I’ll work on that later,” when later comes, I can easily find a new reason to put it off for another day.
- Each time you complete a task on your list, reward yourself with something you really like. Maybe it’s having a little treat, like my homemade Chocolate Pecan Crunch (yum!) or going for a bike ride with a friend. Whatever it is that makes you smile, do something to acknowledge your progress.
- Have grace with yourself. I know it’s easy to be self-critical when you keep avoiding the things you need to do, but the world isn’t going to stop because you haven’t done your Spring cleaning yet or you still haven’t outlined that new business plan. So be kind to yourself and focus on your strengths and use them to propel you forward to take care of the things you’ve been putting off.
At midlife, I’ve learned that it’s okay to find fulfillment in the little things—even if it’s just getting tedious projects done. I also know that chronic procrastination can be related to certain mental health issues, like anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and depression. So, if your tendency to put off chores and projects is interfering with important areas of your life, please reach out to a professional therapist who can help you work through the symptoms and behaviors that are holding you back from living your best life.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.