Beating Procrastination Made Simple: A Two Step Process

(Last Updated On: April 23, 2017)

Do you ever wonder why does it seem other people achieve more than what you can?

After all, we all given 24 hours a day, right?

“LATER.”

“TOMORROW.”

How many times do you say these words in a day?

Do you procrastinate so much?

I’m sure you do!

Don’t worry, I will show you how you can beat procrastination in two steps.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is delaying tasks down to the last minute possible. Procrastinators sometimes have this over self-confidence, thinking “Hey, I don’t need the 2 weeks allotted to me; I can do it in 3 days.” That’s procrastination at its best.

the procrastinator

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And there should be nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you should congratulate yourself since you can do the task faster.

However, the procrastination problem arises when you do it in the last 3 remaining days – causing anxiety, stress and pressure.

Maybe a part of you now says, “I always delay or put things off.”

Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada says “Everyone delays or put things off sometimes, and that’s fine.” There will be times when delaying something actually benefits us. Delaying problems arise when it affects our capability to get things done.

Brian Tracy also said that we all procrastinate — but what separates high performers from the low performer ones is the ability to choose what to procrastinate on.

brian_tracy_procrastination

Effects of Procrastination

Procrastination is so dangerous that it does not only affect the procrastinator itself, but also the people surrounding you.

That means as you procrastinate you:

  • Affect your organization
  • Affect your family.
  • Affect your relationship with others.

According to statistics, 1 out of 5 or 20% of people need procrastination help because it affects their job, health and relationship. Chances are that you are one of them.

procrastination problem statistics

Here are the top 3 scary effects of procrastination on our life:

  1. Health issues. Procrastination can lead to stress and depression which makes you vulnerable to different health risks.
  2. Emotional issues. You will start to ask yourself if you can do it or not which can eventually lead to self-doubt and low self-esteem. Since everything is going crazy on your mind, frustration is inevitable.
  3. Screws up your ENTIRE LIFE. Putting things off can lead to ineffectiveness and inefficiency. Your damaged reputation can cause you to miss opportunities such as career advancement. Your relationship with others will start falling apart with the quality of your life. You will also risk making poor decisions.

Well, that is scary. But it does not mean that you should be afraid. Overcoming procrastination can’t be so easy, but it is achievable.

How to Overcome Procrastination in two steps:

Excited? Here it is! *Drum roll please*

  • Identify the cause of why you procrastinate.
  • Remove that cause.
In a nutshell..
You must identify the root cause of why you procrastinate and then apply the solution to it. This approach is what you call the root-cause analysis in which you identify and determine the root cause of a certain problem and taking the necessary steps to remove it. Here are the basics of Root-Cause Analysis.

root cause analysis basics

So that is how you avoid and fight procrastination in two steps.

Top Causes of Procrastination and How to Fight it

What causes procrastination? Here are the common reasons for procrastination and how to deal with it.

1. Lack of Passion and Motivation

According to Hongkiat, one possible reason why people are no longer committed and passionate in their work is that the “meaning” for doing it is already lost. This is normal. What fuels you today may not fuel you tomorrow. The reason that pumps you out of the bed every morning may not be there forever. What you should do is find meaning on whatever you do, either big or small. Learn to form new meanings and you will be motivated again.

comics about motivation

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Another trick that helps to replenish lost passion and motivation is to envision your future self. Imagine if you finished the task given to you, and imagine if you didn’t. How happy will you be to grab that success? Or will you rather be regretful?

Without motivation, we are good for nothing. We can’t accomplish anything. It is the motivation that pushes us into action.

Read: How To Get Motivated When You’re Feeling Slack

2. Lack of Skills

lack of skills meme

When you lack the skill set to do the project or work assigned to you, you will most likely escape on doing it to avoid any future disappointments. You will notice that you suffer from skill gap and skill mismatch which are very common in a work environment.

In fact, 70% of organizations have said that “capability gaps” is one of their top five challenges.

So how to do you fix the lack of skills?

In today’s era, the internet is our friend. Simple skills can easily be self-studied. A quick search using our buddy Google on “how to __________”can help you a lot. Most of the time you will find tons of articles and videos that will teach you the stuff you are looking for. You can also try other resources such as books and online courses to help you with your needs.

Another thing you can do is task delegation. You can’t master all the skills in the world so delegating the tasks you are not capable of doing to others can save you.

Some other methods of learning new desirable skills include:

  • Volunteering

Believe it or not, getting ourselves involved on volunteering opportunities can help us get valuable skills that can help you in your career advancement, or even make new friends and develop a relationship with others.

Read:  

How Volunteering can Help You Gain New Skills.

Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits

  • On the Job Training

After an employee is hired, On the -Job-Training is provided for developing his skill set for a task or function in his workplace.

See: On-The-Job Training: Definition, Advantages & Importance

  • Job Shadowing
Job shadowing (or work shadowing) is a popular on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development intervention. Essentially, job shadowing involves working with another employee who might have a different job in hand, might have something to teach, or can help the person shadowing him or her to learn new aspects related to the job, organization, certain behaviours or competencies. [Wikipedia.Org]
  • Auditing a Class

Auditing a class means sitting in a class, but you won’t be graded or given credit on it at all. This is usually done if you just want to enrich and explore new knowledge on a particular field you like.

Read: When should you audit a college course?

3. Perfectionism and Fear

Do you feel like it is your duty to accomplish every single thing you do perfectly? For perfectionists, success can never be enough. They always think they have more to do and more achievements to grab.

The Perfectionist Scale

Perfectionism hinders immediate action. Since you are in a “perfect mode”, you will think a lot and stress yourself out very quickly making you delay your tasks. You put your tasks off as long as possible because there is this fear that you will unable to accomplish your tasks perfectly.

Perfectionists suffer from this Perfectionism-Procrastination infinite loop. It is a cycle that you should break. It hinders essential things like productivity.

Procrastination-Perfectionism loop

To battle this, just take action. Yes, you may be imperfect at the start but it is way better than not taking action at all. What do you want? An imperfectly accomplished action or a perfectly planned task but still undone? Just get started. Just take those little imperfect steps one by one towards your goals. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to get started. It does not exist. You can find additional resources and deal with the problems as they arise later.

Being a perfectionist brings FEAR too. You are afraid to be blamed for the outcome of an action.

“What if I can’t do it right?”

“What if I am not good enough for the job?”

The best way to fight fear is to have faith in yourself. Trust in your capabilities. Think that what you do is easy and it will never bring you down. Say to yourself that you can do it and you will be able to do it.

Now prepare, take a deep breath and START.

4. I’m Stressed!

day and night stress

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If you are stressed and tired, chances are high that you won’t get things started. Aside from that, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems like the risk of stroke and heart attack.

The simplest thing you can do (and you can even start doing it today!) is to focus on one thing at a time. By simply doing the tasks one by one, you are reducing your workload where you can highly focus on the current task at hand.

Nothing is so stressful when you have fun and welcome humour. Learn to enjoy what you do, share a joke and funny stories, laugh a lot and you can relieve stress and fatigue easily. Even for just a few minutes, find time to enjoy yourself.

According to HelpGuide.org, you can also reduce stress by:

  • Improving your physical and emotional self.
  • Breaking bad habits and negative attitudes that cause stress, and;
  • Improving relationship with others, and learning to effectively communicate with

Need more tips? Check this 33 tips from Positivity Blog.

5. Don’t know where and how to start because it is just too many (Overwhelmed)

Do you feel like you are trapped on a never ending supply of work and you feel so overwhelmed with a number of things happening at the same time? Or you have a basket full of ideas of what you need to do, but you can’t make yourself start putting action into it because you don’t know where and how to start?

Maybe you are multitasking and you are not good at it. Believe it or not but 98% of people fail at multitasking, are you one of them? Multitasking is good only if you know how to. If you are going to multitask, you should do it right otherwise it will hinder you. You can easily be overwhelmed if you are not good at multitasking. Change this mind-set and avoid it at all cost if you are not good at it.

Also, learning to say no to the things that will not add value or bring you closer to your goals can also help you overcome overwhelm.

And always remember, you can always seek help from others.

Whenever you feel overwhelmedTry to seek help from others

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Read:

Overwhelmed? 8 Ways to Overcome It

How to Start When you Don’t Know How to Start

How to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed and Start Moving

6. I’m too Lazy

to-do list nothing
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This is pretty self-explanatory. You are procrastinating because you are just too lazy to accomplish things. Laziness can be caused by a lot of factors, but low energy levels seem to be the #1 cause. When you are drained, even small and simple tasks seem to be a lot of work.

Learn to rest, sleep and exercise. These three things help us replenish lost energy due to a tiring day. It helps us to regain our energy levels making us pumped up again for the next tasks.

Check out these amazing articles for more tips:

How to Stop Being So Lazy: 10 Simple Habits

How to Overcome Your Own Laziness

Ways to Fight and Overcome Laziness

7. Lack of Discipline

Self-discipline is acting on what you think instead of how you feel. You will encounter lots of times when you know and think that it is important to finish a task but you don’t feel like doing it – in this case, you lack discipline.

To overcome the lack of discipline is straightforward: Don’t wait to “feel like it”. Don’t wait for that perfect comfortable moment before starting. You can begin with small steps first to help you start.

After that, REPEAT. Self-discipline should be practiced daily. Make it a habit.

8. It’s too difficult you know!

If the task seems hard to do, you will naturally want to get away from it. The difficulty of work is a common cause of why you procrastinate. The work is too difficult and it is not within your comfort zone that’s why you are afraid to face it.

The distinction of winners from losers is that winners say “It is possible!” while losers say “It’s too difficult!”

winners and losers difference

What you can do to overcome the dread of a difficult task:

First, know your biological prime time – it is the time when you have the most energy. It is the time of the day when you are most productive.

Read: Do You Know Your “Biological Prime Time?”

Seconddissect the difficult task into 2 parts – the easy and the hard part.

Third, do the hardest part on your biological time.

The logic here is to do the hardest part of a difficult task on the time of the day when you are at your best because you have the high energy to deal with it. Later on the day, when you are physically and emotionally drained, that’s the time you deal with the easy parts!

Another thing is that difficult tasks can give you the biggest relief when it is done. Imagine how proud you will be if you’re able to finish a difficult task. This is called “positive reinforcement“. It tells your mind to stop procrastinating and start doing things NOW.

9. Lack of focus

Focus is giving 100% attention to your tasks. You need to master the art of focus if you want to bring yourself forward towards your goals. But what if you are easily distracted while you work?

lack of focus

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To have a laser focus on whatever you do, you should have a crystal clear vision of what you want first. If you don’t like what you do then focus can easily be broken no matter how determined you are. When you see your goals so clearly, you will then have all the drive that will push you through your tasks.

Distraction is the worst enemy of focus. Lack of focus hinders things from happening.

Learn to eliminate distractions. Think of the things that distract you while you are working and then get away from it.

Need more tips? Check out these amazing articles:

11 Steps to Insane Focus: Do More of What Matters

How to Focus Your Mind: Develop a Laser-Sharp Mental Focus

So these are the common causes of procrastination and how to stop it. Did you find one that applies to you? If no, you can dive deeper into the root cause of your procrastination problem using a method called 5 WHY’s.

The 5 WHY’s

The 5 WHYs originated from Toyota Motor Corporation as a critical component of their problem solving technique. Taiichi Ohno, the father of Toyota Production System, described 5 WHYs as “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach . . . by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”

The 5 WHY's: A simple tool for Root-Cause Analysis
The 5 WHYs process is simple. To do it, identify your problem first and then ask a series of WHYs and your answer to the 5th why will be the root cause. We will use the 5 WHY analysis on solving procrastination.

5 why process flow chart

Example:

Problem: John can’t start reviewing his lectures for his final exam.

WHY? He is easily distracted.

WHY? He can’t stop checking his social media accounts every minute.

WHY? He has an easy access to it!

WHY? He can open his social media any time.

WHY? He has his smartphone next to him. (The ROOT CAUSE)

Easy right? So that is the root cause of why John procrastinates in the example. Possible fix? John should set aside his phone during study time so he can start reviewing his lectures.

So again, the cure for procrastination can be achieved in two steps:

  • Identify the cause of the problem.
  • Remove that cause.

Read: 71 Most Startling Procrastination Quotes

Wrapping It Up

Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.Victor Kiam

Overcoming procrastination is a process. Beating it does not happen overnight. What’s important is you’ve taken action — the necessary steps that you need to take, otherwise you will be stuck.

You know Nike’s slogan? Remember it the next time this evil procrastination is dealing with you.

Nike Slogan Just Do It


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