“Following-through is the only thing that separates dreamers from people that accomplish great things.” – Gene Hayden
César had just accepted a promotion, and somehow he was always rushing when it came to finishing important projects. He decided to reevaluate his time-management skills. He started keeping a log of his work, and when he forced himself to specify exactly how he spent his time, the results were shocking. He spent the majority of his time on tasks of lower importance, consistently shoving the most crucial ones to the back burner.
He knew he needed to overcome the insidious habit of procrastination if he wanted to succeed in his new role.
Is procrastination negatively affecting your own life and career in these ways?
- Robbing you of valuable time.
- Increasing your anxiety.
- Causing you to rush on important projects.
- Decreasing your self-confidence.
The habit of procrastination deserves special attention because it is so widespread and costly. In addition to robbing us of time, procrastination causes us to question our own value and abilities. It makes us feel inadequate because we can’t get everything done, or done well.
When you’re procrastinating, you’re not managing time well. You might be staying late but still not getting everything done. You might be wasting time multitasking rather than devoting the necessary focus to those tough tasks. You’re also not producing your best work.
How can you overcome the pervasive habit of procrastination?
Stop procrastination in its tracks with this success formula: Motivation + Energy + Action = Results.
Motivation generates energy. Energy cultivates action. And action over time will always produce results.
Any action you take will generate energy and take you from a place of stagnation into movement. Start with something inspirational to motivate you. Then take steps to increase your energy so you can take action. If you do these things, you can’t help but produce results.
One powerful form of motivation is having someone else to hold you accountable. It doesn’t have to be a boss. Tell one of your coworkers what you plan to work on that day. Check in later that afternoon about what you’ve accomplished. Ideally, find someone who also wants to overcome the habit of procrastinating, so you can support each other with regular check-ins!
Consider why you’re procrastinating, too. Do you typically find the tasks you’re procrastinating on challenging, boring, or confusing? Break them into manageable steps so they won’t feel so daunting. Maybe an hour of that boring task is actually the perfect activity after a high-energy morning of meetings. If you’re feeling confused about how to carry out the task, outline all the steps involved. It will be much easier to jump in when you can envision how it will all come together. Overcoming self-defeating behavior will decrease the mental energy it actually takes to get started, giving you more energy to fuel your efforts.
Try to do the task you dread most first thing in the morning instead of procrastinating on it. Stop wasting mental energy stewing about those tough tasks for the rest of the day. Plus, accomplishing a challenging task will give you a powerful dose of motivation to carry you through the day!
Give yourself a reward for taking action on tough tasks, too. Treat yourself to lunch at your favorite restaurant, or order that book you’ve been dying to read. All this will continue the cycle of motivation, energy, and action.
If you need more guidance and inspiration, a leadership coach can help you learn to prioritize your work for maximum impact. Having expert insight will help you to see and address patterns and issues you may not have spotted on your own.
César realized that as he stopped procrastinating, he became more productive and accomplished. His confidence increased and his leadership abilities shone. He felt calmer and more in control, ready to take on new challenges.
As one of the top 50 motivational speakers and coaches in the U.S., Joel is a pro at helping clients to overcome self-defeating behaviors and step into their full potential. Contact him today for expert insight on the key changes you need to make to advance in your career.