This is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination. I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic! So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.
Get it done early
You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.” We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error. Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction of being finished early or the comfort of knowing you have more time to work the bugs out. In Part 1 of this series we talked about training your brain, and reinforcing an earlier deadline for yourself can help you stay focused and on task, which prevents procrastination.
Get others onboard
One factor in breaking down your project into bite-sized pieces is to determine if any of those pieces should be done by someone else. Consider who has the information or resources you need and ask for their help as soon as possible. Remember, other people struggle with the tendency to procrastinate, too, and they’ll need adequate time to provide you what you need. Another factor in gaining cooperation from others involves those outside the sphere of your project. The real world includes people who need or want some of your time and attention. Balancing good relationships with keeping your nose to the grindstone can be challenging. One key strategy is to invite others to contribute to your successful project completion by scheduling their time with you when it doesn’t interfere with your peak efficiency. If coworkers stop by, let them know what time you will be available, after the block of time you scheduled for your work. Record your phone greeting to indicate what times you will accept and/or return calls and ask family and friends to call at convenient times, if possible. Others can be the most helpful if you politely offer clear boundaries for your availability.
So, you’ve finished your project – you scheduled wisely, exercised self-discipline, beat your deadline, and didn’t lose any friends in the process. So, whether it’s just a round of high-fives at the office, a special dinner at your favorite place or a luxury cruise, do something to celebrate. Be sure to share the credit with others who helped because that is an investment in creating an environment in which everyone can work together to overcome procrastination and achieve success together.
Don’t put it off another day. The sooner you start, the sooner you succeed in overcoming procrastination!
Live, Work and Relate Well!
Dr. Todd is a licensed psychologist, executive coach, published author, and national conference and seminar speaker. He has been a featured expert on national and local radio talk shows and television news programs.