In every Procrastinator’s life, there are tasks we just keep avoiding like a mosquito.
Yesterday I tackled one task I’ve been avoiding for a long time.
Here’s the 8-Step framework I use to overcome my (irrational) procrastination.
Question 1: What’s not getting done?
We have a tendency to push things out of our conscious minds and develop blind spots -until we try to fall asleep — when we suddenly remember it all!
Swap the ‘to-do list’ for the “what’s not getting done list”.
Question 2: Why?
Once you’ve done Step 1, ‘why?’ is the next question you need to face.
Take a moment to investigate your emotions.
Is it fear, boredom, lack of clarity, or anxiety?
If you name it, you can tame it!
Question 3: Will it go away?
Some things might ‘disappear’ when you wait long enough, and some won’t.
Will your toothache or taxes go away? Probably not.
Will opportunities go away? Most likely yes.
Question 4: How will I feel about myself if I don’t do it?
Will it help me or derail me?
Is running away from the task worth smashing my self-confidence?
Question 5: How will I feel about myself if I get it done?
Now, imagine how you may feel if you manage to do what you’ve been avoiding.
Picture the pride and the sense of relief.
That’s how self-efficacy is born.
Question 6: How long do I think it would take to get it done?
Sometimes we are so busy avoiding the task, that we never really think how long it would take to get it done.
We often avoid for weeks something that would take 10 minutes.
Question 7: How can I make it easier?
Here are fool-proof ways for making something easier to start:
- Make the task smaller. Start ridiculously small!
- Make it fun — play music, find buddies
- Get a shadow — find accountability by working alongside someone
Question 8: Can I just get started?
Getting started is usually the toughest part.
So instead of thinking of finishing the dreaded task, focus on JUST STARTING IT.
Set a timer for 2 minutes and see where it takes you!
BONUS Question: Can I outsource it?
Sometimes the investment is not worth it and you’d be better off using your energy somewhere else.
Sometimes we need outside help to get back on track.
We often run away from monsters that — upon investigation — happen to be paper tigers.
Using the procrastination awareness log helps you x-ray your emotions and manage them more effectively.
So, don’t fall into the trap of blaming and shaming yourself.
Do this instead.
TL;DR: Questions to beat procrastination:
- What’s not getting done?
- Will it go away?
- How will I feel if I don’t do it?
- How will I feel if I get it done?
- How long would it take to get done?
- How can I make it easier?
- Can I just get started?
BONUS: Can I outsource it?
That’s it! Now it’s time to ask yourself what you’ve been avoiding — and get back to work!
Start with self-compassion, and go from there.