How to Overcome Procrastination

11/03/20 - Sara Dawson

With everything going on in the world right now, the struggle to find motivation and productivity is real. The need to overcome procrastination is also real, but can feel so far away. We have our ups and downs, our good days and bad. Time keeps going and it has a strange surreal feel to it. The days blur together and before you know it, another month has gone by and you wonder what you have to show for it. Can you relate? 

When times feel uncertain, it’s normal to feel the energy drain, and that makes everything feel a little (or a lot) harder. Not wanting to deal with reality (aka avoidance) is a classic procrastination type. Knowing your procrastination type (the reason why you procrastinate), is a great strategy in and of itself to turn your lack of action into results. 

The Classic Procrastination Types

Here is a summary of the classic procrastination types by lifehack.org and what you can do about them. Which one(s) best describes you? You may align with more than one of these types, like me (I am a blend of the Perfectionist and the Crisis-Maker – who’s with me?!)

The Perfectionist

Questions to ponder: Are you the type who never seems to get ahead because you are too busy sweating the small stuff? Do worries about writing the perfect sentence stop you from getting your thoughts down on paper? Does figuring out everything and everything about a first step stop you from moving forward?

What it is: You are afraid to move forward and fixate on the details because you need things to be perfect

Tip to overcome: Assign time limits and redefine your standards.

The Dreamer

Questions to ponder: Do big ideas excite you? Are you more of a strategy person than an implementation person? Do the brass tacks of a project sound daunting to you?

What it is: You enjoy setting the vision more than executing the plan and taking action.

Tip to overcome: Create specific, bite-sized goals, set deadlines, and track your progress.

The Avoider

Questions to ponder: Does constant worry about what others will think get in your way of taking action? Does self-doubt stop you from taking risks and trying new things? Do you prefer to stick to the safety of projects and tasks you already know?

What it is: You are afraid to take on tasks you think you will fail or will disappoint others in the process.

Tip to overcome: Like the dreamer, create specific- bite-sized goals with clear deadlines, complete your most challenging tasks first, and cultivate belief in yourself.

The Crisis-Maker

Questions to ponder: Do you often find yourself finishing work at the eleventh hour? Are you overly optimistic about the time it will take to complete a task? Do you find it hard to focus on one thing at a time and find time just flies by?

What it is: Like I’m doing right now, you wait until the last moment to complete your work because a deadline is exciting. 

Tip to overcome: Realize that last-minute work is most likely not going to be your best work, and implement time management tools such as the pomodoro method. 

The Busy Procrastinator

Questions to ponder:  Do you feel so overwhelmed that you feel like you don’t know where to start? Do you find yourself working on busy work just to keep busy? Do you find your most important projects never seem to get done? 

What it is: You struggle to prioritize the many things on your plate, so you hold off on taking action.

Tip to overcome: Learn to prioritize properly so your time and attention is focused on what matters most. 

A top view of a man sitting with both hands on the table and a clock in between

Negative Effects of Procrastination

If you’re like me, you don’t want the rest of the year to be a blur. You already know that procrastination is negatively impacting you. The time spent putting things off is usually accompanied by guilt or stress related to the feeling that we should be doing something that we aren’t. These feelings often negate the enjoyment of any other activities we are choosing to do instead of the task at hand. This stress adds up and can impact both our mental and physical well-being.

There is data that backs this up as well. In one such example from a 2007 study, FSU psychologists examined procrastination in the classroom. Early on the student procrastinators reported lower stress than non-procrastinators, but later in the year they reported higher stress and illness compared to the non-procrastinators. Procrastination does not serve us long term!

Need Procrastination Support?

Building and maintaining your momentum to overcome procrastination can be tough, and coaching can help! Partnering with a coach is such a powerful tool to help you set and achieve your tools. If you are ready to overcome your procrastination for good, schedule your free coaching consult with me today! I look forward to connecting with you. 

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