PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Procrastination: The Trick I’m Using To Stop It

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Hello, My name is Grace, and I am the queen of procrastination!

It is not really something I am proud of, but hey, procrastination and I go way back.

From waiting until it is 2 weeks to exams before I begin preparing for it, to showing up in the exam hall late because I kept putting off preparing for the 9 am paper till about 4 am.

I remember a business plan competition I entered for, I waited till a few hours to the deadline before beginning my application; and many others like it.

Then waiting till it’s 24hours to the time my client is meant to pick up her 2 tiered cake before I begin baking/decorating them.

I procrastinate so much you could almost say it’s my second name or a favorite hobby.

But if someone calls me a procrastinator, my response will typically go like this: Na, that’s not what it is. I just work better under pressure. Or this:

Do you pick up your phone and call your dad without a second thought?

Do you clean your room without waiting for it to first turn into an inhabitable toxic wasteland?

Do you write all of your posts and articles and type them with plenty of time to spare?

Do you wake up early, get ready and catch up with the appointment earlier or just in time?

Then it sounds like Marvel might have found a new superhero because very few people have the strength to resist the persuasive powers of procrastination. Not me.

Procrastination is a horrible, wonderful, ridiculous thing. You’ve got a ton of things on your plate that you need to get done, but you just can’t bring yourself to do them. Maybe it’s out of anxiety, maybe it’s out of sheer laziness, who knows?

I haven’t thought of the anxiety part so much because somehow, until recently, that wasn’t a thing to me. Still, I have never really thought of myself as ‘lazy’ (except that my siblings may have a different opinion). But then I saw this:

And it struck a chord with me. Perfectionism. Anxiety. Doing nothing at all because of the fear of rejection or not wanting to be judged (good or bad). That’s me.

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So I get busy doing all the things I don’t need to do just to avoid the important ones.

Here’s how it is for me:

Unless there is some sort of major, immediate gratification, I procrastinate on everything.

“I promised myself I was going to finish a book (Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop) I’ve been reading on Scribd  and Netflix happened.”

I fell asleep every single time I opened my Bible to study.

It took me 3days to finish writing this post and now another 3days to type/publish it because I kept putting it off and getting myself distracted by the nearly 100 tabs opened in my browser.

From constantly checking the fridge to see if anything new has magically appeared (it never does) to watching countless Youtube videos, there is nothing I won’t do to procrastinate.

It just seems that the decision to follow through with my daily goals seems to be a really, really good activity for making me remember all the other things I would rather do and makes me want to do them – straight away.

Procrastination is a huge struggle for me but I recently came up with a little trick that helps me stop procrastinating, at least for a little while.

How to stop procrastination

Whenever I sit down to do whatever it is that I have to do, I grab two post-it notes (or pieces of paper or whatever I can write on) and stick them next to me on my desk. I also grab a pen and put it on the post-it notes.

I then title one post-it note ‘things I want to get distracted by and the other things I need to do later‘.

And then I get to it (usually using the Pomodoro Method– I will write on this later.).

Without fail, about 3 minutes into writing or reading I want to procrastinate. It’s just what happens. Reading sometimes can be boring, hard or both so there are always many, many more appealing things to do. This is the battle.

So when I think of something I want to do instead (like downloading the latest episode of Oprah Winfrey show, watching a Ted talk, chatting on Whatsapp or browsing personal development or business blogs) I just write down whatever it is on one of the post-it notes and keep going.

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If I want to get distracted by something more than once (this always happen) I just start putting little tallies next to things.

Then, at the end of my little reading or writing session, I have a look at what I wrote down and figure out if I still actually need to do any of it.

Usually, there are a few things I legitimately need to do, but the majority of it I can do really quickly or don’t need to do at all.

why you should try it

I’m not going to lie – this isn’t always easy to do (and gets harder as the task gets more boring), at the first attempt, you might think: what sort of childish game is this? or just give into the thoughts, but it has still helped me so much.

It takes away that fear that I’m going to forget to do something if I don’t do it straight away and it has made me so much more aware of how I react to things and how a lot of the things I want to do are complete time-wasters!

If you struggle with procrastination I definitely recommend giving this a try!

You might want to write different titles on your post-it notes or create an electronic list rather than a physical one – it doesn’t matter! Just give it a try and see if it works for you.

What do you think?

Do you struggle with procrastination? Have you discovered any tricks that work for you?

Don’t forget that comments are always welcome and appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear from you!