How to stop putting things off for later?
The habit of putting things off until the last minute can be a big problem both in business and in everyday life. Lost opportunities, overtime, stress, overwork, resentment, guilt are signs of such a habit. This article will help identify the root causes of the habit of putting things off for later, and show how you can overcome it.
1. Replace “I need” with “I want to.”
Firstly, the understanding of the “need” to perform certain actions is the main reason why we put them off for later. When you tell yourself that you “must” do something, then you realize the compulsory nature of this action, and automatically feel a sense of internal resistance.
Putting the case aside later acts as a kind of protective mechanism to keep you from performing unwanted actions.
If the task you are postponing has deadlines, then when these deadlines are approached, the discomfort from the task itself is blocked by stronger sensations from the consequences that will occur if you do not start solving it immediately.
The resolution of this blockage is to understand and accept the fact that you should not do anything that you do not want to do at all. Even if serious consequences await you, you are always free to choose. No one makes you do it anyway.
The decisions you made in your life have led you to the present situation. If you do not like the current state of affairs, you are free to make other decisions that will lead you to other results.
And note that you do not put off all your affairs for later. There are things you do on time. Perhaps you do not miss your favorite TV show, or you can always find the time to read the forum you are interested in on the Internet. In each situation, the choice is yours.
So, if you postpone the start of work on a new project and feel inner compulsion, then realize that you are doing it of your own free will. Tasks that you solve on your own are much less likely to be put aside.
2. Replace “Finish” with “Proceed.”
Secondly, considering the task as something big and indivisible will definitely lead to you putting it aside. When you are focused on completing the task, and at the same time do not have a clear idea of the steps you need to take, you create for yourself a feeling of overload. And in this case, you connect this unpleasant sensation with the task itself and postpone it for as long as possible.
If you say to yourself – “I have to prepare the papers today” or “I have to complete this report” – most likely you are putting yourself into a state of stress and putting off the task for later.
The solution is to think about starting work on a small part of the task, instead of imagining that you need to complete the entire task.
Change the approach. Instead of asking, “How do I finish all this?” – Ask yourself, “What small area of work can I do right now?” If you simply begin to solve the problem many times, then you will eventually come to its completion.
If one of your tasks that needs to be solved is to analyze the trash in the garage, then the thought that you have to remove this pile of garbage at one time plunges you into a sad mood and you put it off for later.
Ask yourself how to start with solving at least a small part of this task.
For example, come in a garage and sketch out a few ideas on a piece of paper for small ten-minute garage cleaning activities. While you are doing this, you can take and take to the trash some of this large pile of garbage.
Do not think about doing something significant. Just focus on what you can do right now. Applying this approach regularly, you will eventually start the last small area of work and eventually complete the solution to the whole problem.
3. Leave perfectionism and allow yourself to be imperfect.
The third type of erroneous thinking that leads to procrastination is perfectionism. The thought that you must do the job right away and flawlessly puts you in a state of stress. And you associate stress with a task that needs to be solved, and thus create all the conditions for yourself to postpone it for later.
Stop putting off the matter until the last minute, in the end to find a way out of this trap.
Tell yourself – now there is not enough time to do the job flawlessly.
But if your task does not have deadlines, perfectionism can lead you to endlessly delaying this task. If you never even set about the task that you always wanted to do very well, perfectionism is probably what keeps you from doing this.
You can fight perfectionism by giving yourself the right to be an imperfect person.
Have you ever used a computer program that could be called perfect from all points of view? Unlikely.