According to one large-scale study, procrastination also has huge financial implications. It is associated with a $15,000 drop in annual income. In addition, procrastinators are more likely to become unemployed. Ouch!
Don’t get me wrong … All of us procrastinate occasionally. However, not all of us are procrastinators. There are two types of procrastinators: (i) situational procrastinators and (ii) chronic procrastinators.
Situational procrastinators are people who delay due to the specific task itself (i.e., because the task is unpleasant to them) or an altered physical or emotional state (i.e., low levels of energy, or being sad or upset). Chronic procrastinators—those who perpetually struggle to finish tasks regardless of the situation (i.e., people prone to self-sabotage, perfectionism, fear, etc). Procrastination is more than a mere lack of time management. It includes an emotional element of guilt, shame, or anxiety as well. Chronic procrastinators often recognize the temporal harm triggered by a delay but have difficulty overcoming the emotional urge to divert their attention elsewhere.
Are you a procrastinator? Here’s how to close the gap between intention and action once and for all …
6 Practical Strategies to Eliminate Habitual Hesitation
Slice the pie.
Shout it from the rooftops.
Struggling to stay on task? Tell other people about your intentions. Share your goals with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Whenever you see them in-person or online, they will likely ask you about your projects. Giving them a status report will help to keep you accountable.
Ditch the distractions.
We all get shiny object syndrome from time to time. It’s part of the shorter attention spans of modern humans. So, if you really need to get something done, make it difficult to get distracted. For example, when I am working on a novel, I will sometimes turn my phone to silent, disable automatic notification features, and/or temporarily deactivate my WiFi if I feel like I am getting distracted by emails, voicemails, or social media check-ins. Be conscious of what is keeping you from more important tasks, and find ways to eliminate or remove them (even if only temporarily). Create an environment for success by preparing your workspace (i.e., decluttering it so you can be more productive), closing the door to your office, or attacking the most challenging project first, etc.
Establish mini deadlines.
One big, looming deadline is often an invitation to procraste. This is because it gives the impression that you have plenty of time to keep pushing everything back … until it is too late, that is. One of the things I love to do when I have a project is to create multiple mini target dates for completion leading up to the actual deadline. First, I will break up the project into smaller tasks (see tip #1), then I will determine when each of those tasks should be completed. So, essentially, I will condense each job into monthly, weekly and daily tasks until the project is complete.
Be sure to designate a specific date for each task to avoid jeopardizing the final deadline!
Change your environment.
Typically, when I start procrastinating, it’s because I am feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Apart from rest, one of the quickest ways I like to counter any unnecessary delays is with a change in scenery. This can be as simple as working in my living room instead of my home office, spending 15 minutes in nature before starting my work for the day, or revamping my workspace with art and décor that better inspires me. Physically remove yourself from your current environment and work elsewhere for the day. Or, you can make small changes to refresh the space you’re usually in. Regardless of how big or small the changes may be, shifting your environment is a surefire way to combat the elements that may be sidelining your focus.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you to take action.