How To Stop Procrastinating In 30 Days – Case Study

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For a long time I have been a S-class procrastinator. Wasting time whenever and wherever I can, for no apparent reason. I am 6 of 6 for reasons to procrastinate according to Lifehack.  I am not exactly sure when it started, but I am officially putting an end to it during this next month. So on my road towards eliminating procrastination, I have a few ideas in mind.

Create Tangible Goals

While intangible goals like ‘getting rich’ might motivate some people, it just doesn’t cut it for me. I don’t care about money, this is perhaps a byproduct of the way I was raised, and I’m not trying to offend anyone. I realize that perspectives vary a lot on this subject, and I am not telling you you should feel one way or another. But for me the idea of having money or owning stuff does not equate to a goal I can work towards. The most tangible money related goal for me personally is the idea of “financial freedom”, not to the level of being able to ‘buy whatever I want’, but being able to travel where and when I want, taking vacations when needed etc. The ultimate goal for me would be being financially free while also working a job I enjoy doing.

So I need to : 1. Identify different career paths I would enjoy (that are also not too taxing). 2. Work towards getting a foot in the door. 3. Proceed to pry it open with a crowbar and/or explosives.

This does not only apply to life goals, but also goals during the day. If you challenge yourself to for example do 60% of your work before 1 pm, you might find yourself better able to focus. (I’ve seen mention of creating micro-goals, or a timeline of sorts to help make it as tangible as possible, will definitely try this out.)

Stay Positive

Nothing turns into a long procrastination session as a long inner tantrum about the pointlessness of something.  If you don’t believe in your ability to reach the goals you have set for yourself, you will run out of energy and willpower before you even begin. So even if it might seem slightly forced at first, remain positive and keep working. Tell yourself you can do it enough times, and you end up believing it.

Start Immediately

Whenever I end up procrastinating for longer periods of time, it always seems to have started by telling myself: “Well just 10 minutes to relax couldn’t hurt.”  or “I’ll just do it first thing tomorrow”.  The more you put something off, the less appealing it becomes. So as a rule of thumb, whenever there is a task to be done, start as fast as you can. This might be the most important thing when it comes to stopping procrastinating, but sometimes it can be hard… which is why you need the motivation from the previous steps.

Identify When You Are Procrastinating

Let’s say you are taking an extra long second shower, or cleaning the dishes exceedingly slowly. Today I found myself walking home instead of taking the bus, maybe simply to delay what waited for me. Sometimes procrastinating doesn’t involve exactly doing nothing, but prolonging tasks that come before the one you are trying to avoid. Identifying and avoiding repeat happenings can help open up your schedule for doing the things you enjoy most.

Focus On Music Not TV/Movies

For me I do some of my most effective work when listening to music. I am easily distracted so perhaps having a consistent soundtrack is less of a distraction than random sounds. So whenever I find myself less than motivated, if I rely on music to provide an entertaining soundtrack while I do something worthwhile, that would be preferable to watching TV/Movies. If you find yourself unable to concentrate when listening to music, perhaps limit listening to it to enable yourself to relax when travelling from place to place. The main reason I spent so much time watching TV/Movies before was to avoid introspection. My perspective has a tendency to be very negative, and so I ended up putting off doing anything useful for the comfort of being entertained.

Remain Focused And Just Do It

In the end this is what it all boils down to. Even if you ignore all of the previous steps, as long as you are able to complete this last one you are golden. Instead of falling pray to every single little distraction, ignore them and stay focused on the mission at hand.  Setting out goals can help you with this as mentioned in the first step.

So for the next 30 days I will do my utmost to stop procrastinating as well as tell you exactly how I managed to do it. Hopefully I will be able to bring you some deeper insights in my upcoming posts.

Picture by hang_in_there under creative commons license.

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