We’ve all done it at some time or other. We put off our exercise routine until tomorrow; we continually delay finishing that project or starting that business. As for me? I’ve been keeping a ‘diary’ of my work routine and, well, it contains way too many blocks of time I call ‘Fuck Around and Find Out’.
Procrastination is the mother of all demons and can literally stop you in your tracks from achieving all that you desire. And, like me, you’ve got a touch of the ADHD, you’ll notice you may do this way more often than your peers. It’s What We Do.
So, what do we do about it? Here are a couple of effective methods you can use to get you out of your own way.
1. Do it now
Hold your breath and jump right in! I know, I know, but putting things off until the last minute is a bad habit and like all habits is ingrained in our subconscious mind and hard to break. It feels like the normal thing to do and we simply continue along our path, and we need to break that. To complete a task immediately may even feel strange or like a forced action.
2. Take baby steps
Sometimes we procrastinate because the task may be intimidating to us. Perhaps we have no possible inkling on where to start. I know I often feel this way about writing books. I mean, 80,000 words is a mammoth amount, isn’t it?
In these cases, it is a great idea to take it one step at a time. Say you’ve sat down with this amazing book idea (because you know it totally is), and are preparing chapter plans and for the fifth time this week, you’ve turned on the PC and looked at the blank screen. Or you’ve just remembered you need to do some more research before you begin…you’re still not ready.
You simply need to break down the project into smaller pieces and tackle each bit separately. Write down individual scene ideas on index cards, making sure to work through the list of essential scenes. The idea is to make each task an individual project and after completion of each one, celebrate and acknowledge your achievement.
3. Forget it
Why force the issue? If you have been ‘dragging your feet’ on something for a very long time (oh, hello, mirror), it may all be for the best. Something, somewhere is trying to tell you something. That something is your intuition and it is usually right! Often, for me, it’s just that the scene isn’t working and it’s not meant to work and I need to look at it from a different angle.
Think about something that you have been putting off again and again and again. What are the reasons that you need to complete this task in the first place? Does someone want you to do this? What is THEIR agenda? What are YOUR reasons for this lengthy delay? I nd it amazing that 99% of the time I put off doing something, I am thankful that I did! Disregarding a project after a long period of procrastination is however usually a last resort.
4. Support team
Do you put off tasks because you feel that they are too big and complex for you to handle alone? Or because you need assistance? Be honest with yourself. “No person is an island”. Ask for help! There are so many resources out there that can provide you with all you need to finish that book. If you’re a solo-professional and you put off answering emails, then don’t answer them yourself. Hire an assistant, get a family member to help. Procrastinating on life changing activities could be as a result of fear of the unknown. Get a mastermind group together, find a mentor, join a writing group, talk to other authors. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Just ensure that to kick this habit; you do what feels good to you in whatever method you choose. You’ll surely postpone procrastination for a very long time.