You probably don’t even realize it, but when you’re stuck your mind is asking you these 10 questions. Tune into these questions and answer them. When you do, you’ll make a conscious decision of how to proceed. This is how you overcome procrastination instead of letting the habit of procrastinating run your life.
When these questions stay in your head unanswered, you stay stuck, with little chance to overcome procrastination.
- Do I really need to do this now, or can it wait until later?
Consider the consequences of delaying the task. Will it lead to further delays, missed deadlines, or negative outcomes? If the task is important and urgent, it’s best to do it now to avoid potential problems later. For example, if you have a project due in a few days, it’s best to start working on it now rather than wait until the last minute.
- Where do I even begin with this task?
Break down the task into smaller, manageable steps. Start with the first step and work your way through the rest. For example, if you need to write a research paper, start with creating an outline, then move on to researching, drafting, editing, and proofreading.
- What if I don’t do it perfectly?
Perfectionism can be a barrier to getting started on a task. Accept that mistakes and imperfections are a natural part of the process. Focus on progress, not perfection. For example, if you’re learning a new skill, focus on making progress rather than trying to be perfect at it right away.
- How long is this going to take me?
Estimate the time it will take to complete the task and schedule it into your calendar. Remember that it’s better to overestimate the time needed than to underestimate it. For example, if you have a meeting to prepare for, estimate how long it will take you to review the materials, make notes, and prepare your presentation.
- Can I delegate this task to someone else?
Consider whether the task can be delegated to someone else who has the necessary skills and resources to complete it. Delegation can save time and allow you to focus on tasks that are more important or that require your expertise. For example, if you’re a manager and you have a report to write, consider delegating it to a team member who has experience in report writing.
- What if I get interrupted while I’m working on it?
Anticipate potential interruptions and plan how to deal with them. Set aside dedicated time for the task and eliminate distractions as much as possible. For example, if you’re working on a project and you know you’ll be interrupted by emails, set aside specific times to check your email rather than letting it distract you from the task at hand.
- Is there anything else I can do that’s more urgent or important?
Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. If the task is important and urgent, it should be a priority over less important or less urgent tasks. For example, if you have a report due in a few hours, it’s more important than checking your social media accounts.
- What if I don’t feel like doing it right now?
Recognize that motivation often follows action, not the other way around. Start the task and you may find that you become more motivated as you make progress. For example, if you don’t feel like going for a run, start by putting on your running shoes and getting out the door. Once you start running, you may find that your motivation increases.
- Do I have all the resources I need to complete this task?
Make sure you have all the necessary resources, such as tools, equipment, information, or support, to complete the task. If you don’t have everything you need, make a plan to acquire it before you start the task. For example, if you need a specific software program to complete a project, make sure you have access to it before you start.
- What if I fail at this task, or it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to?
Recognize that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve. Focus on progress, not perfection. For example, if you’re learning a new skill, accept that you may make mistakes at first and focus on improving over time. If the task doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, take it as an opportunity to learn from the experience and make adjustments for the future.
Wrapping it up
Remember, it takes time and effort to overcome procrastination. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up or fall back into old habits. Instead, focus on progress and celebrate your achievements along the way.
By breaking tasks into smaller steps, setting specific goals and deadlines, creating a schedule, embracing imperfection, and holding yourself accountable, you can overcome procrastination and start achieving your goals. Good luck!