There are many reasons why we procrastinate, and eliminating those reasons will help us to stop procrastinating and start DOING. For example. I get a TON of emails daily. I’m not kidding. A TON. One of the tasks I hate to do more than anything is going through my emails. So I put it off, and then it gets overwhelming and I REALLY don’t want to get it done. It’s a vicious cycle. If I would just go through my messages once a day at the end of the day, it wouldn’t become this huge undertaking every time I try to do it, and yet, here I sit with hundreds of messages in my inbox… again.
Understanding exactly why we are procrastinating is key to overcoming procrastination in our lives.
We’ll start out with the reason I procrastinate my email task…
You don’t like the task
When you don’t like a task it can be next to impossible to want to get started. You dread it, and therefore you keep putting it off for another day. It is definitely hard to WANT to do a task that you hate doing, so there are a few ways you can get it done.
First, you can delegate the task. I have learned the wonderful joys of child labor recently. My kids have always had “chores” but they have been more of “I need to give you a job to do so you learn how to work” type of jobs. They weren’t tasks that I actually needed to get done. Now they are old enough where I can give them their pile of clothes from the laundry and they can fold and put them away in their own closets, or my daughter can unload the dishwasher, and sweep the floor, and so on. Delegating the tasks I hate the most from the housework has really helped immensely! You can also PAY your kids to do tasks you don’t want to do. Have a tedious task that will help you in your job, even if you work for yourself? Pay your kids to be your “employee” and they can get the job done. My sister used to pay her children to pack up the plates she sells for shipping (now she has an ACTUAL employee that handles that) because she hated that part of her business.
2 Swap It
You hate making dinner every night, and your friend or neighbor can’t stand to clean her bathrooms. Come up with a trade! She makes freezer meals for you to use during the week, and you come and clean her bathrooms once a week. I’ve even seen neighbors where each person in the group makes 4 dinners on their assigned night. They deliver them to the other 3 members of the group, and then they GET dinners from the other members 3 days a week. It greatly reduces the days you have to spend in the kitchen cooking, you just have to pretend you are feeding an army on your day to cook.
3 Reward Yourself
I’m not above bribery, even if it’s to myself. Just as it’s important to follow through on rewards for your children, it’s equally important to follow through on your own rewards. If you don’t follow through, then you won’t be motivated to do the task next time you plan on rewarding yourself, because you know that you really won’t get your own reward. Even if the reward is 15 minutes on Pinterest, or two Oreos, follow through right away! Often I even hold the reward ransom, such as … I’m not ALLOWED to get on Pinterest UNTIL I do this task. That definitely helps me to get it done quicker so I can get to my reward!
4 Create Deadlines
You received a task, and the deadline for it is so far in the future that you kind of put it out of your mind for a while. This happens to me especially with birthday’s and Christmas. I think… oh I have so much time to plan my daughter’s birthday party… and suddenly it’s a week prior to her birthday, and I haven’t planned a thing!
Problem: Future Deadline
This is definitely a problem for me. When I think of something that I need to do that is sooo far in the future it immediately gets put way back to the back of my mind, often never to be thought of again until the deadline is upon me!
Solution: Schedule Interim Tasks
The solution to this problem is to put things on your calendar or on your to do list with specific due dates. In the example above, with the birthday parties, I can schedule various tasks to help keep me on track. One month prior I can “book the venue” if it’s going to be a destination. Two weeks prior to the party I can schedule sending invitations. One week prior I can schedule grocery shopping, and ordering the cake if necessary. There are many tasks that can be scheduled out in any deadline induced task. Scheduling these interim tasks with specific due dates will definitely help you make sure you get your task completed ON TIME.
5 Start Small
When the task seems too hard, or it’s one of those we just don’t want to do, bite it off a little at a time. Tell yourself you’ll answer one email, or write one paragraph of that paper. Many times that little piece is just the nudge in the right direction we need to accomplish even more of the task that we set out to do to begin with. Suddenly that one paragraph has turned into 4 and you still have things to say! I would say setting out and starting the task is the most difficult part! Once you are there and doing it, continuing is easy. Also, when we actually start the task, sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be as hard as we thought, and completing it will be a cinch!