One spends more time and energy living in fear of a task than doing it simply. (Rita Emmett, These people who put everything back to tomorrow)
Whether at work, at home or with loved ones, some people have a reputation for always putting off what they have to do now.
If this tells you something, here are some strategies to relieve your life of the wicked procrastination !
Wait until tomorrow … and do nothing the next week …
The word "procrastination" is quite curious, do not you think?
It is composed of Latin terms pro- and Cratinus which means "the next day".
It refers to the general tendency to postpone what needs to be done.
Some consequences of this unfortunate and bad habit?
Sloppy work (or just not done), unfulfilled appointments, lack of motivation, loss of job and life satisfaction, loss of self-confidence, etc.
Instead of locking ourselves into this prison and inventing reasons for doing nothing, it is better to understand why we do not act and adopt attitudes that motivate us.
How procrastination works: What makes us demotivous and holds us back from action?
At the base of procrastination is usually a problem of motivation and self-vision.
What drives us to do one thing over another?
This is because procrastination has heavy artillery to prevent us from acting. Here are some examples.
1. Thoughts and imagination
We focus on the disadvantages of what we have to do.
It's boring, it's difficult, it's long … Pouark!
And if we suddenly imagine everything we have to do, things seem to accumulate and rise above the highest peaks of the Himalayas …
2. The lack of autonomy
To act is to take initiatives.
However, it is often more comfortable to indulge in a group and let others lead, decide and act.
We are never so well served by others.
To act involves asking oneself questions, adopting an active posture in the face of life.
If you want something to happen good and good in your life, you are the best person to do it.
The others can help you, of course, but first you have to book beautiful and intoxicating initiatives!
3. The fear of failing
The fear of failure is sometimes so great that we delay action until it is too late to succeed, simply …
We then have the ideal excuse to do nothing: it's not our fault …
But think for a moment of all that this fear brings to you of excruciating.
It commands inaction, inaction arouses frustration and self-doubt since nothing is achieved.
In turn, this context undermines self-esteem and trust.
We feel bad about ourselves, we feel ashamed of ourselves and we increase our fear even more (and with less of confidence, the impression of not being able increases).
You do not find it's very expensive paid to listen to a simple fear, a pure view of the mind straight out of an overflowing imagination but too busy sabotage?
If you do something, you may not succeed (first time), but you will get concrete information and experiences to improve.
You will also be proud to have done something, and you may also succeed!
4. The fear of succeeding
Yes, the human being is not at a paradox …
One can imagine why one would be afraid of failing, but afraid of succeeding? Really ?
But how can we be afraid of succeeding?
In fact, it's not so much the success that scares, but all that succeed implies.
- It can cause jealousy on the part of others, of our family.
- This can force us to honor new responsibilities.
- This can increase our expectations or those of others to the point of being afraid to disappoint.
- We are afraid of not being able to cope with the aftermath of events.
So, no success, no problem!
What can be done to remedy all those fears that hold us back? Here are some tracks.
The pleasures of action (really?)
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have seen on other pages how much I value action and discipline.
Pleasure and discipline.
These two words are usually cringe …
We can enjoy doing the actions we love.
But you know it's not about that.
I'm talking here about actions that make us procrastinate.
And can we really love the disciplined ?
I would say that my love affair with the discipline did not start quickly, and the flame did not ignite very quickly either.
However, when one tries the discipline applied to an action as unpleasant as useful, something flamboyant happens.
It's like starting a fire with the method of the Paleolithic era (and I'm not talking about the Paleo diet)
Rubbing two pieces of wood together to make a fire can take a lot of time.
But when the branch is inflamed, the fire spreads without more than we have to make efforts.
This is the discipline that makes us love what we hate first but that brings us a lot (to learn to write well, to obtain a diploma, to learn to program, to develop a company, to invest, to take care of one's health, to speak a new language, etc.).
But beware, if the discipline applies to master any skill, it will be harder to use to do things, say, even less enjoyable (like cleaning, depriving oneself of eating junk food, etc.)
It is necessary in this case to use a stronger medicine …
This medicine is a related theme dear to me: the long-term vision.
To motivate ourselves and to get a lot of action and discipline, we need to have a concrete idea of what we want.
If I had not wanted to become a good drummer (eggs still pass …), I would never have reached the level I have today and my pleasure to play would be very low.
In fact, I would not even play anymore … This is what happens often when we have no vision: we lose our motivation along the way.
Yet every time I practiced (god it was boring at first!), I kept my goal in mind until I reached it, and that for years …
The vision is therefore a formidable weapon to make procrastination flee.
If you look closely, most of the successes that happened overnight took a lot of time. (Steve Jobs)
Different ways to counter procrastination
1. Take action: a door that leads to many benefits
Another strategy to finally take action is to stop thinking, procrastinating, and just starting what we need to do.
In this way, we cut short the maneuvers of sabotage of our unbridled imagination and we rush into the action we must accomplish.
The further you go, the more you will be able to cope with impressive events without letting you down. In other words, do right now what you like the least.
You will soon find that the activities were much less unpleasant than you thought …
2. Enrich the reasons why you need to take action
He is always "suffering" to start making an effort.
We prefer comfort and immediate results … We often did not develop the satisfaction of effort and savor the results that flow from these efforts.
Once we sit comfortably in an armchair and turn on the TV, it's hard to take action.
It is the force of inertia that seizes us …
We procrastinate often because we believe that action will bring us more suffering than inaction.
However, it is possible to associate more pleasure to what you intend to do.
Think about the results and the satisfaction you will get.
Also think about the discomforts you will feel if you do nothing, lost results, etc.
This is the best way to become aware of everything that fighting your procrastination brings you.
3. Divide your big projects into sub-projects
We often tend to procrastinate because we see the task as a mountain, splitting it allows us to achieve small goals on a daily basis.
These results are very motivating and make us want to continue!
4. Make your public commitments
This strategy is based on the fact that we often try to do things well if we know that we will be judged or evaluated by others.
This is why the fact of loudly proclaiming your commitment will be a source of additional motivation for you.
Avenues to deepen the subject
Are you able to look in the mirror and say you never procrastinate?
Otherwise, think of all that procrastination prevents you from realizing in your life, that will motivate you to decrease it.
Try to find the deeper reasons why you put things overnight.
I am not the type of person to put things overnight.
Yet, many years ago, before I began to lecture, speaking in public literally frightened me.
But I really wanted to make public presentations and publicize the content of my books to help people.
So after several months of procrastination, I confessed that my fear prevented me from moving forward.
What did I do ?
I put myself at the foot of the wall: where I give up this exciting goal, or I start right now to do what it takes to succeed.
Guess what was my choice?
And I have never regretted it!
The essential dimensions to carry out a difficult activity (which tends to make us procrastinate)
I have been working for many years now in the contexts where people carry out their activities, both in their personal and professional lives.
These are essential dimensions that I have observed that help to put aside procrastination.
If these dimensions are important for others, why not consider them too?
1. Make the difference between a wish and a real decision
A wish is vague and leaves it to chance (or destiny, depending on what you prefer) to realize it.
On the contrary, a real decision implies your will and your responsibility.
If you make the decision to do something, you are the only person able to succeed: it's up to you!
2. How important is the purpose (or activity) to you?
Does what you choose to do really match your choices, your tastes, your values, who you are?
Even the most trivial and repetitive activities, the ones that you least want to do, can be enriched with a new meaning if you get them right, if you see how they allow you to become more what you want.
This almost "identity" appropriation of your activities will nourish your motivation.
If you decide to learn to play a musical instrument simply to impress others, it may well be that procrastination is at the rendezvous …
3. Get to know yourself in the effort
Many things seem difficult to achieve before they become easy.
If you take the time to know yourself through your efforts, if you remember the successes that followed the moments of doubts and difficulties, you will convince yourself more than you can succeed if you make the effort.
The more you get to know yourself in this context and the more you can use these experiences as references to persevere in the future.
You can also inspire yourself by reading biographies of people who have achieved great things despite the many difficulties they have encountered.
In closing, here are three good reasons to take action each day:
- You discover everything you can do: you multiply discoveries, passions, possibilities.
- You know what mistakes to avoid because you commit them: you learn from your failures and you use them as a lever for your next actions that will guarantee better results. You also get to know you better by the way, which is not a small thing …
- You get results and you do not succeed: you may not succeed at first, but if you learn from your mistakes and persevere, you will end up getting what you want.
If you liked this article, know that it is from my book Ask yourself the right questions. You can get it in ebook version to read it in full.
A reading that I recommend to go further! 🙂
Does procrastination touch you closely in your life? What do you use to make her run away? I will be happy to share with you in the comments!