Updated: Jan 25
Procrastination stops us from achieving our goals. Here are five effective strategies that you can use to overcome procrastination and empower yourself.
In a world where many distractions compete for our attention, staying focused on things that truly matter in life is challenging. We are inundated with too many opportunities in this data and information age. Spoilt for choice, there is just so much that we can do, and we often end up not doing anything at all. In other words, we procrastinate.
From putting off our exercise routine till tomorrow to delaying starting that side hustle- we all procrastinate some time or other. Procrastination is like your credit card- fun and easy to use till you get the bill. It immobilises us from achieving our goals.
Strategies to Overcome Procrastination
Here are five effective strategies you can use for overcoming procrastination. Like any other skill, you need to practice them until they become an automatic response.
1. Be Clear on What You Want
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. The first step to stop procrastinating is getting clear on what you want from every single area of your life. This clarity will empower you to look past distractions that may throw you off course. It gives you a direction to build a mental picture of life.
Feeling out of control is one of the most destructive effects of procrastination. It is easy to jump from one task to the next if you don’t know what you want. Before doing something, you should know the underlying reasons for the same. This will provide you with a sense of purpose critical for staying focused long term.
2. Take the First Step Now
One of the fastest ways of overcoming procrastination is utilising the power of immediacy. What can you do immediately? What action can you take at the moment that will move you closer to your goal? Hold your breath and jump right in! Don’t wait for all things to be perfect before taking the plunge; just get it going.
Putting off things until the approaching deadline is a bad habit ingrained in our subconscious minds. It feels normal; in fact, immediately completing a task may even feel like a forced action. No matter how small a task, doing it immediately breaks your procrastinating mental pattern and puts you back in control. Often you will figure out what to do next after taking that first step.
3. Chunk Down Your “Big” Tasks
We often procrastinate because the task ahead seems intimidating to start. One of the most powerful strategies for overcoming procrastination is breaking big tasks into bite-sized pieces. Take it one step at a time.
Focusing on climbing Mount Everest will put you off immediately, but the goal appears more achievable if you focus on climbing seven small mountain sections. After climbing up each mountain section, celebrate and acknowledge your achievement.
Chunking down your “big” tasks empowers you to regain control of any challenge by cutting it down to size-your size.
4. Forget it if your heart isn’t in it
Are you dragging your feet on something for a long time? It may be for the best. Maybe your intuition is at work here, telling you that this is not right for you.
Think about something that you have been putting off time and again. What are YOUR reasons for the delay? What are the reasons for you to complete this task in the first place? Does someone want you to do this? What is THEIR agenda?
Be honest with yourself. If your heart isn’t in it, and you are doing something at someone’s behest, maybe it is not meant for you. Move on to something else. However, abandoning a project after prolonged procrastination is usually a last resort.
5. Get a Support Partner
Do you put off tasks because they seem too intimidating for you to handle alone? “No man is an island”. Ask for help! Many resources are available to provide you with all you need to carry out your job. If you are a solopreneur delaying answering emails, don’t answer them yourself. Hire a virtual assistant, find some college students wanting experience, get a family member to help.
Procrastinating life-changing activities could result from fear of the unknown.
Form a mastermind group, find the right life coach, join a support group. You need not do it all by yourself. Just ensure that you do what feels good to you- whatever be your method of choice to kick this habit. You will surely be able to postpone procrastination for a very long time.
Success in life requires an investment of time and effort from you. So, stop procrastinating now and make that investment by putting the above strategies to work. They will help you move past short-term obstacles to create a life of fulfilment.
Smita Das Jain is a Certified Personal Empowerment Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Through her ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Program, Smita enables busy working professionals to create a career they love, find time to do all they like and live the life they choose. Smita has more than 14 years of leadership experience with Fortune 500 companies like KPMG and JLL. She is also a speaker and a bestselling fiction author. You can learn more about Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com.