Procrastination kills. It kills businesses, it gets people fired from jobs, it destroys relationships, it is the best friend to mediocrity because it keeps people from achieving their goals and going after their dreams.
How do you overcome procrastination? Ultimately, of course, you just need to get off your rear and get moving. But when you are procrastinating something, it’s usually due to fear.
- You’re afraid of failure.
- You’re afraid of rejection.
- You’re afraid you’ll get into trouble.
- You’re afraid of being laughed at.
But sometimes, you’re just being plain lazy. You know that the task ahead of you will benefit you, but it’s another thing to do and you don’t want to take the time and effort to do it. Or, consarn it anyway, it’s just too much work.
Regardless of the cause of your procrastination, the following strategies are guaranteed to beat it.
Strategy #1: Dangle a carrot in front of yourself.
What kind of reward can you offer yourself for completing a certain task or reaching a goal? Stay within your budget, but consider some of the following ideas:
- You’ll get to play at your favorite entertainment venue.
- You’ll go see a movie with a friend.
- You’ll go out to dinner at a nice restaurant.
- You’ll buy that new novel you’ve been wanting, but didn’t want to pay the new book price.
- You’ll spend half a day outside – a local park, the nearby beach, etc.
- You’ll buy yourself a favorite healthy treat.
- You’ll hire a maid service for a couple of hours one week so that you don’t have to clean your house.
- You’ll take an extra hour to read a favorite book and have a special drink or snack.
Strategy #2: Have an accountability partner.
Find a relative or friend who is willing to be mutually accountable to you. That is, you hold them accountable to make progress toward their goals while they hold you accountable to make progress toward yours.
If you know you’re going to have to tell someone about your progress even just once a week, you are a lot more likely to stay motivated the rest of the time to at least achieve what you committed to achieving, if not go beyond that.
In fact, you might even challenge each other to go a certain distance more than you thought you could during a certain week and see who ends up achieving more.
Strategy #3: Have a failure board.
What a great idea! I just thought of it just now, as I was writing this post. 😉
You’ve probably heard of “dream boards”, where you have a corkboard full of pictures and words that represent your ideal life. Instead of a dream board, have a failure board. Fill it with pictures of stressed out, unhappy people and other pictures and words that illustrate where you think you will end up if you continue to procrastinate instead of taking the bull by the horns and doing what it takes to become successful.
Actually, here’s a better idea: have a board where one half represents your ideal life, and one half represents failure. That way you have positive as well as negative motivation. The two working together will likely have a synergistic effect; that is, together they will have a much more powerful impact on your thoughts and actions than either one alone would.
There are other ways to overcome procrastination. But the above methods are some of the most potent. If you struggle with procrastination, put one or more of those keys in the motivation lock and get moving!