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Why do today what you can put off tomorrow? That is a comical saying that I have heard several times through the years. It sounds kind of silly but many people, like myself, fall into the trap of procrastination.
Trap of Procrastination
There are many reasons that someone may put things off or avoid doing things. The problem doesn’t really lay with putting things off for one day. A problem arises when things never really get taken care of. When this happens it is like an avalanche that just gets bigger as it moves down the mountain.
Severe procrastination can make things seem so out of control and can lead to physical and mental health issues. To be completely honest, my procrastination had reached out of control proportions at one time. While this was going on, I had such severe anxiety that I was barely able to function. The anxiety was nearly paralyzing and made the simplest of tasks seem monumental.
A Vicious Cycle
Once you start on the path to perpetual procrastination, tasks begin to pile on top of each other. Suddenly, your list of 2 tasks on Monday turned into 10 tasks by Friday. Nothing was accomplished and now it all seems too overwhelming to tackle. So, you put it all off for another day.
This vicious cycle can only lead to self destruction and an eventual breakdown of some kind. If you put off paying bills, the lights will be turned off and if you put off repairs on your car it may stop working. If you put off doing laundry then you eventually will have no clean clothes. The cycle will end and it will not be pretty and in most cases, everything will end at the same time. This not only piles tasks on top of tasks but piles dread on top of stress on top of more dread. Simply put this isn’t healthy! So, how do you stop the vicious cycle?
To learn more about why we procrastinate read this article at PSYCOM.
5 Ways to Stop Procrastination
1. Set a Timer and Just Get Started!
If it is a large task just break it up into 30 minutes sessions. Set a timer for 30 minutes and just get started on the task. After the 30 minutes are up, you will probably find that you have some momentum and you will finish. If not, set the timer for 10 minutes and take break. Keep going until the task is completed. If you are anything like me, the problem isn’t in the doing…it is in the starting!
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time
It is so easy to get distracted and doing so can make completing a task nearly impossible. While you are taking care of one chore, only focus on that single task. Keep a notepad handy to jot down other the things that you are tempted to start doing.
3. Make a List
This may seem like the most simple advice ever given but a list will help you stay focused. I find that being able to check things off of a list gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is also easy to keep going when you see how much is being done in a short amount of time.
4. Don’t Exaggerate!
The human mind is notorious for blowing things out of proportion. It is easy to look at a to-do list and imagine it taking 10 hours to accomplish it. The reality is that it may only take you 2 hours. Don’t allow your mind to exaggerate the complexity of the tasks.
5. Reward Yourself
Turn those things that you would rather be doing into your reward for completing you list! There is not one person that wouldn’t rather be binge watching a show than running errands. That is perfectly normal but sometimes things just have to be done. Use those things you want to do as rewards to motivate you.
The truth is that procrastination is a vicious cycle that will get you nowhere. All you manage to do is make tomorrow’s list longer and you won’t want to do them then either. It is time to take control and just get things done!