The Procrastination Cycle is a common phenomenon that affects everyone in their lives. This is Part 5 of our series intended to help you live without procrastination. If you’ve missed the earlier articles, here are direct links to catch up:
- The Link Between Procrastination and Anxiety
- Powerful Truths of Procrastination and Mental Health
- 5 Causes of Procrastination and Stress
- Procrastination – Overcoming Fear and Perfectionism
The Procrastination Cycle
As we’ve seen in the earlier parts of this series, procrastination can manifest in different ways, by putting off important tasks, avoiding responsibilities, and delaying decisions. While procrastination might seem like a harmless habit, it can have serious consequences for our personal and professional lives. In this article, we’ll explore some strategies for breaking the procrastination cycle and becoming more productive.
1. Set Clear Goals, Priorities, and Deadlines
One reason people procrastinate is because they lack clear goals, recognize the priorities and set deadlines. Without a clear sense of direction, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose motivation.
Given that, it’s important to set specific, measurable, and achievable goals that are aligned with your priorities. Once you recognize priorities, establish realistic deadlines for each task to keep yourself accountable.
In some less-healthy work environments, “EVERYTHING” is a priority. That approach sets people up for failure because management didn’t take time accurately prioritize or communicate efficiently.
I could write a series on just this point alone. Maybe I will.
2. Break Tasks into Smaller, Achievable Pieces
The enormity of a project can lead to procrastination and overwhelm you. To make each task manageable, break them into smaller, more achievable pieces. This way, you can focus on completing one small task at a time, recognize the progress, and move on to the next part. Even a small sense of achievement can help you stay motivated and make progress towards the larger goal.
3. Use the “Two-Minute Rule”
The “Two-Minute Rule” is a method of increasing productivity by completing tasks that take two minutes or less. By doing this, you can build momentum and develop a habit of taking action immediately, rather than putting things off. It also helps to reduce the feeling of overwhelm that can lead to procrastination.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions can be a major obstacle to productivity and contribute to procrastination. To eliminate distractions, purpose yourself to identify and remove environmental or internal factors that compete for your attention. For example:
- Turn off your phone notifications.
- Close unnecessary browser tabs and email.
- Find a quiet place to work.
5. Use Positive Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can fuel procrastination and undermine your confidence. To counteract this, use positive self-talk to boost your motivation and confidence. Remind yourself that you can do it and that you can achieve your goals. By reframing doubts and worry by focusing on your abilities, you turn the process into successful action. Over time, you create new, positive habits that build your self-confidence.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability is a powerful tool for breaking the procrastination cycle. Hold yourself accountable by setting up a system of rewards and consequences. As an example, promise yourself a treat or reward after completing a task or set a consequence for not completing a task on time. This way, you are more likely to stay focused and motivated.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for reducing stress and increasing focus. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. You’ll recognize when you are procrastinating. Mindfulness can also help you develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control, which can be useful in breaking the procrastination cycle.
About the Author
Anthony M. Davis is a Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach. He earned a Board Hypnotherapist Certification and is clinically trained.
He has earned a reputation for his Transformative Life Centering work with abuse clients from across the nation.
Since COVID, he provides coaching and Hypnotherapy sessions remotely through Zoom. Contact him HERE to create the life change you desire.