Last time we looked at the heavy burden exams can lay at our young people’s feet and how easy it is to procrastinate over revision. Unfortunately this isn’t the end, in fact it is just the tip of a very large iceberg that pervades through every area of life. So how do the motivators, trend setters and successful people overcome procrastination?
Identifying True Procrastination
Ironically I spent a bit of time procrastinating about writing a blog post on procrastination- (yeah work that one out), as I wasn’t wholly sure if I wasn’t a martyr to it myself. The truth is we are all prone to dither (less harsher phrase I think) about something that tackles our inner scaredy cat. The difference is recognising procrastination from a small pause to gather thoughts before getting on with the job.
It’s also important to realise that some tasks can prove distinctly fearsome to people with certain challenges, such as;
- Writing or reading for people with dyslexia
- Social interaction activities for people with asperger’s or ADHD
- Physical challenges for people with dyspraxia
and these hesitations are not to be confused with procrastinating.
True procrastination takes the form of many guises- one of which Chartered Psychologist Louise Hilliar describes as “a disinclination to stop doing one task in order to begin another.”
It’s easy to convince yourself that surfing the world wide web for facts about cats’ moustaches is vital to that customer service database you are 3 days late in submitting, but that’s the time to ‘get real’. Do it today, as tomorrow will be today tomorrow!
The Cause and Effect of Procrastination
It’s so easy to think we have time in hand and acres of space to do it later. This wouldn’t be so critical in areas of business, home or even schooling but with matters of health, this could be the difference between life and death.
Fear is the cause of procrastination, fear of failure, fear of insufficient personal achievement and fear of the unknown. Artists, actors, writers and singers are prone to procrastinate over a new project for fear of it not being as good as the previous one. When you consider how many one hit wonders are there throughout all of these fields it’s easy to understand why.
How to Overcome Procrastination
Understand WHY you procrastinate. If you can dissect the underlying fear, you may be better suited to find a way to weaken its stranglehold.
Liken the task to ‘eating an elephant’ and break it down into small pieces. Make a list of all the steps and tackle the difficult ones first.
Be conscious, and honest, about what distracts you away from tasks. Acknowledge that it is a distraction and find a way to fight through the urge to engage. It’s so easy to convince yourself that the washing needs to be done now, the car needs cleaning yesterday and that camera full of holiday snaps really needs sorting into a Facebook album right now. Tell yourself that these chores will be done after you have tackled part of your task list- and not before.
Finally it’s important that we reward ourselves for staying on task. Procrastinating is in our DNA and we will always be guilty of swerving the difficult, but with rewards and acknowledgment it doesn’t have to be a life destroyer.
So remember your WHY, be kind to yourself and tackle those fearful tasks one step at a time- with lots of treats in between!
For help with setting your goals and sorting out your WHY take advantage of a 50% discount code for my video course.
Please take a look at davidhyner.com for more help and advise on personal development issues and other topics.
Images by Marlies, albersheinemann,