This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Rachel Gibbs, M.A.
Procrastination: an endless rut of feeling like we can’t accomplish something. It’s by far one of the most frustrating and annoying feelings, not only for ourselves, but also for those around us it affects.
Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t go outside to play because your sibling put off cleaning his or her room? What about now when you can’t leave the office because your co-worker waited until the last minute to do his or her part of a team project? Regardless of whether we like it or not, our actions affect others.
I’m here to help you end the cycle of procrastination. Even though it may sound counterproductive, sometimes the best way to stop procrastinating is actually to procrastinate just a little bit more, but in a way that promotes a move towards action. In other words, going for a short walk might seem like a waste of time (or another form of procrastination) but if it jumpstarts your mind, it’s a worthwhile 10 minutes to take before starting the task at hand.
1. Stop complaining about how tired you are and how many obstacles are standing in your way.
We all face hardships, blocks, hurdles, storms or whatever else you want to call them. How you deal with those things, how you learn how to dance in the metaphorical rain or jump over the hurdles, will determine your success and happiness in life.
2. Search the web for motivational quotes to get you going.
“No Rain, No Rainbows.” –Ancient Proverb
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.” –Ancient Proverb
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
3. Make yourself a cup of coffee or your favorite tea.
Or grab a snack. Getting up and moving to another room, even if it’s only for a short while, can jumpstart your brain into work mode.
4. Take a shower.
Wash that blockage down the drain. Cleaning your body can also clean your palate and reset you for the task at hand.
5. List the top three positive outcomes of achieving your task.
Instead of focusing on what could go wrong while accomplishing what you need to get done, think about the positive things you’re going to gain from doing it!
6. Think about the part of doing this task that you enjoy.
Most tasks have some enjoyable component to them. Focus on what you like about what you have in front of you, no matter how simple or how small. Enjoy the very act of doing your task for what it’s worth.
7. Send a text to someone important in your life to let him or her know how much he or she is loved.
Gratitude creates happiness. Happiness is motivating.
8. Lock yourself in a room with the thing you need to do.
Don’t leave until you make some progress. Put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or axe to the grindstone.
Stop looking for external motivation. Stop letting yourself procrastinate. Start going through the motions of making progress. At first it might feel forced, but eventually you’ll get into a groove.
What are your tricks for getting past procrastination? What helps you divide and conquer?
Rachel Gibbs, M.A. is a Marriage Family Therapist Intern specializing in individual, couples and group therapy, focusing primarily on couples, relationship, and sex therapy.
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