I am a champion procrastinator. I know what I need to do to get things done, but then it all piles up and I feel completely overwhelmed, worry that it won’t be perfect, and consequently do none of the things. I have put together a few tips that have really helped me start to move instead of being frozen.
My first tip is to make and write down a list. I say write it down so that there is visual progress and accomplishment when you cross things off. Don’t fill it with pie in the sky crazy jobs that you are never going to achieve all in one day. Add things that will help you achieve your goal but that you can actually do. For example, personally, it might be write a blog, add twenty photos to the calendar gallery on the website, follow up my emails, and post on my social media accounts. I can do those things, I can cross them off, and feel like I have accomplished something. They work towards my big goal and create discipline in the small things. Break your big to-do list down into little achievable steps so it seems less overwhelming.
My second tip is set goals. I have my big dreams and my big goals, but I also set smaller goals so that I can actually see the goals being met as I follow my dream. Goals keep you focused, achieving smaller goals along the way stop you from procrastinating and momentum to keep going. When one of your goals is achieved, that crazy dream seems so much more possible.
My third tip is buy a diary or set up a calendar on your device (and actually use it). I am very much a write it down in a diary person. Last year one of my goals was to not just buy the diary but actually use it. Every day. A diary keeps you on task, it sets out a plan for the day before you start, and you can add your to-do list and small goals to it. I make my own diaries through https://www.personalplanner.com/US/. You can choose the type of diary you want and have the option to add things at the end. I always add heaps of lined pages, if you are a musician you might want to add manuscript paper (paper with blank staves). You can even have colouring or sudoku! I use my photos on the back and front cover because it reminds me of my big dreams.
This next one is not fun! If you know you procrastinate, have someone that you trust hold you accountable. You need someone who loves you and believes in your dreams. It needs to be someone who is wise enough to tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. You also need to be aware that if you give someone that role in your life, if they call you on something, you have given them permission to do that. You don’t get to give them attitude. We don’t always love people who hold us accountable but we generally need it.
Be consistent in the little things. If procrastination is a problem for you pick one task that you need to get done to make your dream a reality, and be consistent in it. One of the things I have been working on is consistency of posting on my social media accounts to build my profile. My goal was to post every day on my photography and oils/inspirational accounts. I haven’t hit it every day but I am definitely achieving it pretty consistently.
Don’t beat yourself up. One of the reasons that I am a champion procrastinator is that I am a perfectionist. I hate screwing up. If it goes badly, then I feel like a failure, throw my hands up in the air, and quit. If you don’t get everything on your list done, or one of your goals isn’t achieved by the date you expected, that doesn’t mean you failed. Get up the next day, add the thing you missed to your list and try again. Keep working at your goal until you hit it.
I left my favourite until last – reward yourself. Something I do when I am struggling with procrastination is to reward myself. The rewards can be anything, personally, I tend to use an episode of something I am watching. I might decide that I need to do three hours work on my website and then I can watch one episode. It makes it easier to stay focused if I know that I have something I am looking forward to waiting for me at the end. I also find that I enjoy the reward so much more if I don’t have lots of things I should be doing hanging over my head. This actually has a basis in Psychology (operant conditioning and behaviour modification) – eventually, you will be able to work without the reward (but where’s the fun in that?).
So that’s it, some tips that have worked for me. I am very much still a work in progress but these have been invaluable in helping me.
Article supplied with thanks to Lorrene McClymont.
About the Author: Lorrene is an author and photographer from Natural Hope Photography.