How to beat procrastination, another article by Travis Bradberry for LinkedIn. Once procrastination gets ahold of you it can be tough to shake off. Even highly productive people battle procrastination. The difference is they beat it by using a calculated approach. Procrastination stems from negative emotions that hijack your mood. Once you’re under the influence of those emotions, you can’t bring yourself to work. It is an ever deepening cycle:
Too much time has passed, I’d better start.
I can’t focus. Feeling guilty about wasting time.
Putting this off. Not in the right mood.
To exit the loop you must take control of your mood.
Figure out why. It could be simple (need a break or get something to eat) or more complex (you’re carrying the team on your back or you’re dissatisfied with your job).
Remove your obstacles. By planning ahead you can maintain focus and avoid procrastination.
Jump right in, no matter what. Then you mood improves dramatically, and it’s easier to stay on task.
Cut holes in your project. Break big tasks into smaller bite sized segments to make it less intimidating.
Work in the right environment. Keep yourself away from TV, electronics, etc.
Enjoy small victories. When you check something off your to do list you build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation, increasing the influence of testosterone, further increasing confidence and eagerness to tackle challenges – keeping you fired up and moving forward.
Get real. Unrealistic goals make you discouraged and make you succumb to the negative moods that fuel procrastination. Realistic goals keep you positive.
Take control of your self-talk. Thinking “I’m not going to procrastinate” ensures that you will indeed procrastinate. Instead think about what you will do and how great it’s going to feel to have it done. Fix your mind on the action you want to take, not what you’re trying to avoid – don’t think about a white bear.
Don’t be a perfectionist. You can edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. Get going to produce something, then work to make it better.
Focus on results. Getting there may not be fun, but the result is.
Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up just sends you back to the doom loop.