No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
For many years, experts have been trying to understand the psychology behind procrastination, ready to combat it with strategies on one hand and the ability to execute on the other. The painful reality of procrastination is that it derails us from our work and ultimately weakens our ability to make a powerful impact.
Our approach to procrastination should be like a lion chasing a gazelle – without excuses. Often our greatest challenge is taking on the hardest and most important tasks of the day. Though our time is limited and so is our energy, it pays to focus on the items that give us the biggest productivity boosts throughout the day.
So how can you stop procrastinating and start to overcome it?
Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, stated that 95% of the population procrastinates at times with 20% being chronic offenders. With twenty percent of the population identifying themselves as procrastinators, for some it’s a lifestyle they’ve committed themselves to, at least for an unknown specified period of their life. But what effect does procrastination have on our lifestyle? One of the many symptoms of procrastination is that it takes away from the life we could be living. Students might miss out on academic achievements because of playing video games, watching television, or oversleeping. This could be the result of a deep-seated issue like low self-esteem, fear of success or failure, or perhaps an environment not suited for proper motivation.
Killing the Giants
We are designed to keep between five and nine ideas in our head at once, but it’s natural with all the information around us each day that we tend to want to retain it all. This creates the fierce overwhelming sensation of stress.
Procrastination never works, and daydreaming about convenience never creates actual convenience. When you get to the time that you think is convenient, guess what? You’ll have other things to do and other things that interest you. People who are highly successful have disciplined themselves and have conquered the habit of procrastination. They understand the power of executing their tasks daily.
So, how does one stop the procrastination? You do it. In fact, that is the first step. Write down all your tasks, priorities, and everything else you must do for the next week.
Turning Discipline into Actionable Steps
Just like a business executive organizes his or her files into categories, each file with a designated name and subcategories under each folder to make sense of where everything is to effectively produce the outcome they desire, you must know the order of your list of things to do for the week and what items belong under each category or folder. Organizing your list allows you to know the order in which you are going to accomplish your tasks. Always remember to limit the number of items under each category. This will help you keep track and avoid overwhelm.
Always focus on the benefits that follow the completion of a specific task. What would be the reward for completing the task? Why is it important?
Is your closet messy? Are your dishes dirty? Are you behind at work or in school? Just imagine what it would be like knowing that the tasks have been completed. Take a moment to be as detailed as possible. How does it feel? What are you seeing, hearing, and smelling?
This is called future pacing. The idea of visually stepping into the future accomplished, giving you the motivation to proceed in the present.