Simple Steps To Overcome Procrastination

Bend it like Beckham, Kuch  Kuch hota hai, Chak de still being my favourite movies not because of my love for Mr.Khan but because of my love for games. Though watching the lead in all these movies not even dribbling, shooting and holding the ball with correct technique got me goose bumps (or anger bumps if something like this exists) but still as they were about sports I watched them, if not more at least half a dozen times. Basketball was the first love of my life. I spent most of my teenage years playing this sport. In fact I even thought of making my career out of it. But alas, it was ruled out by the facts that MBA’s and CA’s are more respected in our society than an average rated sports person. So changed my mind as per the demand of time and turned out to be an under learned management person.

This was about me a decade ago now sports just comes in my dreams and vanishes as soon as I enter the reality world of smart phones, tablets, apple, oranges and grapes. Today I am fortunate enough to stay in a high rise set up where all the facilities are just a step away. I have my personal Cosco ball, my Nike sports shoes, Puma Tees and Adidas shorts, waiting to be used and touched. I also have the most valued, rare and talked about thing of this era “THE TIME”.  My craving for the sport is also on; just that something is stopping me. So from one Saturday to the next Saturday to next month’s Saturday is as much on. The right Saturday is still to come.Yes! Yes! You got it right! It’s the big trap of none other than the Monster “PROCRASTINATION” that’s trapping me within it.

This is a story which we all can relate to,but I have heard many similar stories from my clients, friends and family where they have buried their goal, desire or passion deep inside,or they have wrapped it with a fancy wrapping sheet of “PROCRASTINATION”.

Just give it a thought when was the last time you did something that you were crazy about, or you felt that “This is what is for me”. Most of the time we all have the urge to do what we used to like but we always postponed it by few of these safe guarding excuses like ….

“I will start working on my personal growth goal once this project is over…”
“Once I am back from my break, I will start my guitar practice…”
“I will join yoga classes when my little one will start going to school…”
“I am still settling in this new city to give time to my start-up dream…”and so on.

Procrastination, a word which begins with a positive affirmation “PRO” is full of negativity in it. It has the power and muscle to drown a fish, to stop the ever increasing electricity bill of any house and to redirect the Chandrayaan space craft back to earth.

Few of the supporters of this are :

“ I am trying…” ; “ I am thinking…” , “ I should have if…”; “I wish I had…”; “It’s not the best time of…”; “Only if I could..”

Procrastination is a self-harm tool; which can wipe off your ambitions, creativity and talent; without even letting you know about it. It is different from laziness, as you always have the will and drive to do it. It’s just that self-determination and sense of urgency that is lacking. At times people also try to camouflage by stating “I am analysing the situation”.  Doing over analysis is best described by Shiv Khera in his book:  You can win as “Paralysis by Analysis”.     

It is a trap, in which none of us want to fall but still it’s not easy to escape from it. Long term procrastination can make one spectator in their own life. Life coach suggest many different ways to reduce/control it. Let’s see few very common and easy tricks to avoid it:

  1. Perfectionism and Procrastination: A vicious loop: Don’t get into it
    Perfectionism is considered as mother of procrastination. At times we delay the work in urge of doing it perfectly.The search for best time, more research, complete information and flawless performance; is a great thing to be/do. But when all these elements cause delay in your job it’s the red alert of “Procrastination”.
    Do not wait; the time will never be “Just right”. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. Most of the times its better to start with good option rather than waiting for the best one to knock your door.
  2. Ultimate objective seems too far off: Break it and make it
    For all the people who are carrying those extra pounds in their body, reaching from XXL to S seems very luring but achieving it might seem impossible at that stage of time. So, rather than giving up the whole big project why not to divide it into smaller and possibly more achievable goals. When you are faced with a big task, it helps if you break the task into smaller, more manageable parts. This will help you avoid stress and procrastination. So thinking of losing 1 kg every week seems more practical and doable than shredding 10 kgs in 2 months.
  3. The first step is the hardest one: Just go and take it
    The initial start-up is the hardest part, after that, it is usually easy to just keep going. At times we just delay the initial step of the work once it gets started we begin enjoying it and then the joy of completion is more than the waiting comfort.
  4. Optimism about future: Trust your present more
    “I am a last minute person…”, “I work better in pressure…”, “There is still some time, I will manage…”, “I have decided what to do (but how is still unanswered)…” These are some of the statements we hear in our day to day life from people around us. These are those super confident people who think if a task can be done last minute why to start it today. They have more trust in the future than in the present. Future is unpredictable and things happen suddenly and unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we are not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.
    We can’t banish procrastination entirely. But as a life coach I suggest we can definitely make it less appealing. Frustration of a procrastinator is not that they couldn’t achieve their dreams; it is they couldn’t even start acting on it. 

Here’s a simple exercise for you to start with:

Step 1: Make a list of all the tasks/activities/hobbies you are procrastinating.

Step 2: Put a start date against each one of them.

Step 3: Write cost associated with procrastination (cost could be in monetary terms, heath or emotional loss)

S.No Tasks/ Activities/Hobbies Start Date Cost (Monetary/ Health/Emotional Loss

This activity:

  1. Gives you clarity about the priorities. At times tasks juggling in our mind are more than when we put them on paper.
  2. Start date will help you to track the delay you are making. It will increase the pleasure associated with acting in a timely fashion.
  3. Cost putting will increase the pain associated with procrastination. Making you want to get away with it. 

Write in comment section what are the opportunities you have missed in life because you thought you will do it later? Those are the best self-learning lessons for you.

So let’s stop procrastination “TODAY”, I mean really TODAY and not “Sometime Soon”.

Are you doing it today?