‘Yep, sure - I’m on it. I just need to quickly clean the oven, balance my accounts, walk the dog, shave my beard, plan my next birthday party and spend three hours in an insta hole....’ Sound familiar?
Start with why
According to life coach, Marty Nemko, figuring out the cause of your task-dodging behaviours is the first step. Maybe you avoid things that are too difficult, or too boring? Are you potentially freaked out by success, or by failing?
Once you have an idea of why you’re procrastinating, you can think about ways to address the cause—rather than the symptom. For example; if you’re bored by a task, like cleaning your flat: get a cleaner. Even if you think it’ll be extravagant, the freed up time and headspace is well worth the investment. Or, if your issue is that the task in question is too hard—can you outsource it, or learn a new skill to make it less daunting?
At some point though, whether we’re aware of the cause or not - we all procrastinate.
Here’s a handful of hacks to help you get on with it:
Three ways to stop procrastinating
- Think of future you
If the you in a couple of hours’ time would thank the current you for doing something—do yourself a favour and do it. A good point to remind yourself to do this is when you realise you’ve veered (or are deciding to veer) off course.
- Make it a ritual
For truly grisly tasks (I’m looking at you, expenses and spreadsheets), schedule a manageable chunk of time to do it bit-by-bit, like an hour every week. That way, you’re chipping away at it regularly, and it won’t feel like a behemoth to be avoided at all costs.
This requires some willpower, but works. Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on your task until the alarm goes off. Then, you get five minutes of play time to do whatever you want. Then start again and repeat until your task is done. You can obvs adjust the timings to suit you, but it works on the basis that you get rewarded for uninterrupted work time.