Imagine finishing those things we’ve been putting off. Imagine finally knowing what to do and accomplishing it. We’ll feel great because we’re getting things done and moving closer toward our goals and dreams. So stop procrastinating, and see how you feel. I bet you’ll feel great!
Sadly, most people don’t feel all that great, because most people go through life procrastinating.
They delay doing tasks until the very last minute, and then either they have to deliver poor quality work due to rushing, or they have to suffer the embarrassment of requesting a new deadline.
Procrastination is one of the biggest killers of all goals. Most people fail to reach their goals because they procrastinate on taking action. They just don’t work on their goals. If we don’t take action, we’ll never get results. And if we don’t get results, we’ll never achieve our goals.
Therefore, if we want to accomplish our goals and live our dreams, let’s learn to stop procrastinating. Here are five effective ways to stop procrastinating and put ourselves into action mode.
1. Maintain our energy level.
You read that right. We have to maintain our energy level if we want to get rid of procrastination and get things done. Why? The reason is simple: when we have the energy and when our willpower is strong, we’re more able to do the work.
Conversely, when our energy level is low, so is our willpower. And this is when we’ll want to put things off.
So get enough sleep. Studies have shown that we need at least seven to eight hours of sleep each day to maintain our productivity. Besides getting enough sleep, we can take short naps to regain our energy during the day.
Extraordinary people such as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo da Vinci took short naps during the day to prevent burnout.
Never underestimate how the lack of sleep can make days unproductive. It’s better to have 10 productive hours and accomplish quality work than to work for 20 hours and get little done.
So let’s keep our energy level high. Get enough sleep and take a short 15-to-30-minute nap when necessary.
2. Make a public commitment.
It’s difficult to work when we don’t have the commitment. People often get their work done because they commit to it.
There’s a saying that “If we’re interested, we’ll do what’s convenient. If we’re committed, we’ll do whatever it takes.”
So create the commitment we need. Put ourselves on the line so that we’ll have no choice but to do the work. And we can achieve this through making a public commitment.
Just tell others who will support us about what we’re going to accomplish. Imagine telling all our friends that we’re going to hit the gym and lose 10 pounds in the next two months. Think we’ll feel more pressure to achieve this target?
It’s like getting ourselves an accountability partner. Our partner will check on our progress from time to time, and thus, we’ll feel more of a commitment to doing the work.
We can also bet with a partner or spouse. If our goal is to write a 1,000-word article each day, then any day that we fail to achieve our goal, give our spouse $50. This will definitely increase our level of commitment and put us into action!
So put ourselves on the line. Make a public commitment to the goals or the work we want to get done.
3. Stop procrastinating and get motivated.
Another common way to stop procrastinating on our work is to get ourselves pumped up. This method is especially useful for people who procrastinate due to lack of motivation and drive.
If we find it hard to work on our tasks because we don’t feel motivated, here are some ways to boost our motivation:
• Listen to inspirational music or songs. We can find plenty of motivational and uplifting clips on YouTube. Save a few that will drive us, and listen/watch them before starting work.
• Repeat our affirmation, or have a pep-talk. Did you know that a pep-talk is a great technique to get pumped up in sports? The athletes individually talk to themselves, or they gather around and do some shouting to boost their energy levels. We can do that as well.
• Perk up our body movement. A sedate body position, facial expression, breathing, or posture automatically influences the mind to be too placid. So the next time we’re feeling unmotivated, let’s just stand up, do some stretching, and jump a few times. We’ll instantly feel the energy permeating us.
There are many ways to motivate ourselves. All we need to do is to find a way that works for us and then apply that technique when we need it.
4. Build a supportive environment.
One of the most underrated ways to stop procrastinating is through the use of a support environment. A certain motivational speaker I’ve seen has a powerful saying:
“If you want to fly with the eagles, don’t swim with the ducks. If you run around with losers, you will end up a loser.”
~ Les Brown
So be aware of who we’re going around with. That support environment has the power to influence us. That’s why successful people often network with other successful people. Like attracts like.
And if we interact mostly with people who procrastinate on their work, their negative energy will influence us. We’ll join them and delay doing our work.
Building a supportive and motivating environment doesn’t only apply to the people we mix with; our workplace plays an important role too.
Research shows that a messy work table full of papers and things tends to decrease our productivity compared to a clean and minimalist work area.
Hence, improve our environment if we want to stop procrastinating and be productive.
5. Manage our inner voice.
“I’ll do it later” is that little inner voice talking that causes most people to procrastinate on their work. Beware that inner voice.
Whatever we think to ourselves, we become. Successful people think about their dreams and about reaching their goals a lot, and that’s why they’re always in action.
On the other hand, ordinary people think about what to eat for dinner, which game to play, which friend has updated Facebook, etc., and that’s why they procrastinate on their work.
We have to watch our thinking and manage our inner voice to stay productive. Instead of saying, “I don’t have enough time for this task,” ask ourselves, “What one small step can I take to do this right now?”
And never use the word later, because later will become never. Let’s not give ourselves the chance to delay and procrastinate. Instead, train our self-discipline and use productive self-talks that will put us into action right away.
Those are five effective ways to stop procrastinating on our work and goals. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to start with just one of those five techniques to overcome procrastination. We don’t have to apply all five at the same time. Let’s find out which techniques work for us and apply more and more of them to our daily lives. Then we’ll stop procrastinating and succeed!
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