None of us desire a trail of undone tasks stalking us all day. Furthermore, all of us have aspirations that we would like to realise. Yet, we very often do not follow through on finishing our affairs or doing what is required to reach our goals. We keep on putting off until that fictitious day called “Later”. Why do so many of us choose to live such unproductive and second-rate lives at our own expense?
The reasons we procrastinate mostly have one (or both) of two roots: fear or idleness. We are either scared of something – often subconsciously – and therefore do not step out and do what we need to do; or else, we delay activity because our desire for short-term pleasure overrules our motivation to get things done.
Let’s take a look at how we can deal with these challenges.
Gear against fear
We seldom realise that the reason we are prone to procrastination has to do with fear. (Scared? Who, me?!) Yet, if we delve a bit deeper, we might realise that we actually have loads of anxieties steering our actions more than we would like to admit.
There are many common fears hindering achievement. Some people cannot get going on a project, because they dread a product anything short of perfect. They feel distressed by the thought of losing control or not meeting perceived standards. Another frequent fear is that of failure. We cannot handle the judgment of others – or worse: ourselves. Our potential inadequacies scare us. We also fear running into problems along the way that we cannot deal with. The list goes on and on.
So, how do we overcome these scary obstacles?
Done is better than perfect – because nothing is less perfect than something that is undone! Force yourself (especially if you are a die-hard perfectionist) to be okay with minor deficiencies. Try to see things from a bigger perspective: Will it really make a difference if you do not get a distinction on that course you want to take?
Life will always come with challenges. View them as opportunities to improve your problem-solving skills and build character. So, rather than not starting that daunting task – humble yourself and get help; watch YouTube tutorials; ask for input; try again!
Many confining fears have to do with the terror of being exposed for who we really are and then being found wanting. If you like yourself – despite all your imperfections – you will experience much more freedom to take action. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for this matter of identity. If this is something you are struggling with, you will surely benefit from counselling – either from a mentor or professional. This could be one of the greatest investments you make in your life.
Without an anchor to give us reassurance, hope and peace, we cannot completely overcome fear. Having Someone higher than yourself to hold on and pray to is an invaluable weapon against anxieties.
Break those lazy bones
The search for pleasure is the driving force behind endless of human actions – or inactions. Think about it: It is more pleasant to watch a movie than to organise a cupboard. It pleases your body more to sleep in than to get up early and start that exercise programme. And so we postpone until “one day” when we might feel differently.
Get control over your sluggishness, by putting certain controls into place:
The problem with laziness is that it breeds more laziness. If you postpone because you are not in the mood to complete tasks, they will only accumulate and become a huge mountain that is just too overwhelming to climb – especially since the mountaineer is lazy to begin with! Do not allow your life to slip into this place of unmanageable chaos that will need almost superhuman motivation to deal with. So, tell your idle self to keep that mountain in mind when a molehill needs to be conquered.
Personal projects and chores seldom have deadlines and this allows us to procrastinate indefinitely. Therefore, treat these tasks as you would work assignments: decide on cut-off dates and set reminders.
Instead of allowing your appetite for pleasure to hamper you, why not leverage it to help you finish tasks? Have rewards for when you successfully complete something (maybe your favourite cup of take-away coffee or a day at the spa) and punishments for when you don’t (“No going on Facebook before I finish this!”).
It is very difficult to succeed without support. Get a friend to diarise your deadlines too and keep you accountable to meet them!
Procrastination is the murderer of productivity and inner peace. Do not allow doubts or sloth to stand in the way of you reaching your full potential! Just do it!
Visit my website to learn more: http://www.sarahscholtz.com/about/