If you've ever tried stopping procrastination, you may have found it difficult. This is because stopping procrastination is a process and not an action that can be done in one step.
Procrastination is acquired and is developed over the years so stopping it takes time too. However, with the right techniques and perseverence, procrastination can be stopped giving you liberation and happiness.
So how do you stop procrastinating?
First of all you need to realise these three things:
When you do it
What you do when you do it
What excuses you give yourself.
For example, Linda has joined a gym because she wants to get fit and have a beach body in time for her summer vacation. However, she's only been to the gym once this month due to her procrastination.
So this is her situation:
When she gets home from work, she knows she should go to the gym but she sits down on her couch and see whats on TV (just for five minutes she's thinking). Five minutes pass then she watches another five more minutes until suddenly half an hour is gone. She then thinks to herself....."I'm too tired, I'll go tomorrow....anyways, there's five months until July....."
So from this situation, we can recognise the three issues:
When she does it - (After work when she sits to watch TV)
What she does when she does it - (Watches more and more TV)
What excuses she gives herself - (There's five months to go yet, too tired etc)
Now think about your own situations. When do you procrastinate? What do you do when you do it? and what excuses do you give yourself?
Quite often, you will find that there are certain patterns or triggers that cause the procrastination. Stopping the procrastination requires an interuption to the process. So what you need to do is develop a new action.
For example in Linda's case, when she comes home, she sits down and turns the TV on. We know that this action triggers the procrastination effect so we need to change this action. So for Linda, when she gets home from work, instead of sitting down, she needs to do something else such as walk upstairs to grab her gym bag then walk back down straight to her car and go to the gym.
You will need to do the new action consistently to see the results because the action is pretty much a habit. So replace the old habit with a new one and eventually you won't need to think about it. It will become an automatic response!
Another "trick" you can use to stop porcrastination is to short circuit the procrastination.
Let me explain.
This is the normal pattern of a procrastinator:
Task intended to do > Procrastinate > End up doing another task instead
By "short circuiting" the process, you can bypass the procrastination stage and just end up doing the intended task as planned. So how do you do this?
The answer is simple. DO NOT RATIONALISE.
When you start rationalising, you start an internal struggle with yourself and start thinking of reasons why you can't do the task. This kind of self talk is self defeating and imobilises yourself. This internal dialouge most certainly always ends up in wasting your time and stops you doing your desired task.
So for example, when you decide to go to the gym, don't sit down and start thinking about it because your brain starts to think of reasons why you shouldn't do it. When you decide to do the task, think instead: "I'll procrastinate later" and get up and do it. By then, it will be too late to procrastinate.
So remember the two tips to adopt:
Develop a new habit and short circuit the procrastination.
These two little tips will help you stop procrastination.
If you want to conquer procrastination once and for all, there is an excellent resource here.