How to Slay the Procrastination Beast
What is the biggest thing holding you back from achieving your dreams? Why do you postpone taking the steps needed to free yourself from bondage?
The answer often lies in a single word: Procrastination.
Along with its fellow bedfellows like “fear”, “comfort zone”, “laziness” and “do-not-rock-the-boat”, procrastination is responsible for keeping billions of people around the world from achieving their potential. The more you practice it, the more mediocre your life will be.
Procrastination is that millstone around your neck. It may keep you in your safe zone, but it dampens dreams and annihilates ambition.
What should you then do to slay this monster keeping you from crossing the bridge to possible success?
#1 Transmogrify Your Tasks
Like Steve Jobs, you need to distort your tasks in such a way that it is perceived as something noble, worthy and fun to do.
A good way to do so is to use the power of your imagination. Here, I love the example of Calvin and Hobbes, and how Calvin turns seemingly mundane everyday occurrences into heroic adventures.
#2 Schedule It in Your Calendar
Whatever gets written gets done. Whatever gets schedule gets done too.
When you put something down in your calendar, you are committing a chunk of your future time to handling the task. This increases the likelihood that you’ll start working on it while preventing other distractions from crowding it out of your life.
#3 Make a Public Commitment
To increase your commitment to completing your tasks, you may wish to share what that onerous task is with a friend. Or better still, broadcast it to the whole world by sharing it on your social network.
The thing is this. When you make a public commitment that you’ll complete a certain assignment or project, you’ll feel a deeper sense of obligation and responsibility to that job.
This helps to ensure that you’ll fulfill what you’ve set out to do.
#4 Start and Let Zeigarnik Take Care of the Rest
Telling the whole wide world what you plan to do isn’t enough. You need to begin doing it.
Now this doesn’t mean that you should complete it all in one sitting. On the contrary, having such thoughts may derail your efforts (“Oh, it’s too difficult!”, “I can’t complete this mammoth task!”).
Instead, do what Bluma Zeigarnik would have advise you. Leave something undone at the end of each day or week so that you can revisit again. Apparently, this would trigger a neurological signal in your mind which ensures that it’ll “nag” you to work on that job until it is completed.
Which brings us to the next point.
#5 How Do You Eat an Elephant?
The answer is a single bite at a time.
To overcome the procrastination hump, break down that huge monstrosity into mini milestones. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither would that much-needed task that could launch your career in a new and exciting trajectory.
Tear that task into its component parts. Like constructing a Taj Mahal, lay it a brick at a time.
#6 Whistle While You Work It
Make it fun to do that task by mixing and matching it with something you enjoy.
For some, this could include listening to enjoyable music. For others, it could be having a sip of your favourite cuppa. For yet others, it could be working from your favourite secluded location with a gorgeous view.
The thing here is to create the conditions that are ideal for you to enjoy not just the destination but the journey itself.
#7 Visualise Your End Goal
Sometimes, the long journey of a complex project may make it seem formidable. As a content marketer, I am well aware of how long it takes to build my agency online.
Perhaps one way to make each step easier to take is to visualise what you dream of achieving. Let it sit in your heart and mind for a bit. Feel what it’s like to be there. Make it as pulpable and real as possible.
What other strategies would you recommend to slay the procrastination beast? I’d love to read your ideas.
Walter is the founder and editor of Cooler Insights — a critically thinking content marketing, public relations and personal branding agency. Fuel your business with the latest insights in digital and content marketing, public relations and personal branding.