How to Tame Procrastination as Practice for Success

You might not believe you can tame procrastination as a path toward success.  You might believe that success is about coming up with great ideas or doing the impossible feet all the time … but most success is the result of doing the boring crap consistently.

[Tweet “Success is doing the things that no one wants to do.”]

Success is doing the things that no one wants to do. Whether that thing is exercising to lose weight, searching for and getting a better job, studying To do better in school, or saving money for a vacation, the process or achieving the goal is often not much fun at all.

Let’s face it, in most cases, you know what needs to be done. The real challenge  … the real challenge is getting yourself to do it.  Am I right?

Dealing effectively with procrastination is nothing more than getting yourself to do things you don’t want to do. It is great practice for learning how to become successful.  If you can defeat your procrastination, you can accomplish just about anything.

[Tweet “If you can defeat your procrastination, you can accomplish just about anything.”]

The Normal Process of Procrastination

  1. You think about doing something. The first thing we do before we do nothing is think about the thing that we may or may not do.  That is exactly how we start the process of DOING something as well.  The first step in getting schtuff done is the same step we use to sit on our butts and do nothing.  (Interesting, huh?)
  2. You notice how it feels. Once you think about doing something, you feel some sort of way about it, right?  Every thought we have generates a feeling or emotion. When it feels good, we do the task. That’s why it’s so easy to get off the couch to get some cheetos (or is that just me?). It’s not as easy to get off the couch to go outside and paint the shed.  Nope, not nearly as fun.
  3. If it feels bad, you avoid it. Once you have the feeling, you kind of categorize it … right?  I feel good, let’s do it!  I feel like crap … danger, danger, danger Will Robinson.So if your alarm bells go off that this task is going to suck you go into deflect mode.  What can I do to NOT do this thing that will suck?  You see, you have your own, consistent ways of deflecting tasks you don’t think you will enjoy.   Think about it … do you know what you do when you’re procrastinating? If not, consider making a list of the things you do to avoid doing tasks you don’t like.
  4. When the feeling of putting off a task feels worse than the feeling of doing it, you finally take action. Think about it folks.  As much as it sucks … you will eventually pay your taxes, take out the trash, apply for a job, or work on your research paper.  We eventually do the things we are putting off, right?

The process of normal procrastination is something that we all do to some extent. Unfortunately, this way of thinking about doing a task does not always work well if you’re trying to get ahead or reach a difficult goal.

[Tweet “When the feeling of putting off a task feels worse than the feeling of doing it, you finally take action.”]

An Alternative Method for Unpleasant Task Completion

  1. When you feel bad about a task, try to get excited about being given an opportunity to learn a new success skill. Those few moments right after you think about doing a task is the moment that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.  If you are a chronic procrastinator, chases are you are less successful that you could be.  The most Successful people do the hard things necessary, the boring things necessary, to get ahead.
  2. Take a minute to notice what you are feeling. Sit with the discomfort of the task you don’t want to do. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Notice where you feel the irritation in your body. Is it in your head? Your chest? Your Stomach? Take the time to concentrate on that area of your body and relax it.  Try to release release the tension you are feeling in that moment before deciding whether to do the task or not.
  3. Spend five minutes doing the task you want to avoid. Anyone can handle a boring or crappy task for five minutes. Often, getting started is the hardest part, so become an expert on getting started! You will often find that you will continue beyond your five minute goal. Congratulate yourself for lasting at least five minutes!  We all could spend a little more time celebrating the small wins!
  4. Forgive yourself for failing. Somedays you win, others you lose. Working through discomfort and defeating procrastination is a challenging skill to learn. Just get back on the horse and keep trying.  This is one of those skills that will 

[Tweet “Often, getting started is the hardest part, so become an expert on getting started!”]

Procrastination is a very human habit. There is little doubt that the reason we do it is our brain attempting to be helpful. Consider how disasterous poor decisions could be 100,000 years ago. Our brains had to be thoroughly convinced that an idea was worthy of execution before it would allow us to act.  Otherwise we became a sabortooth tiger’s dinner.  (Or not, you get the idea.) .

Try doing something today that you don’t want to do that could easier be put off until another time.  Practice doing things you don’t want that are small so you can build the anti-procrastination muscle.

Decide for yourself that right now is that time. Use your urge to procrastinate as fuel for learning to be successful.

If you are struggling with procrastination, find a coach or accountability partner if you need support.

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This is Jackie Schwabe Reminding you to  Embrace your Pause, Play the game you want to win, and Prosper with a Life by Design, Not by Default.


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