Most people have experienced putting off a task from time to time. Procrastination can be characterized as something that is more habitual. It’s a habit that persists over a longer period of time. Where people will avoid difficult tasks or goals persistently and will come up with a number of excuses why they can’t deal with it at that moment. Some may believe that they “perform better under pressure” as a way to avoid putting off something important. Perfectionism may also cause procrastination. The idea of having to get it “perfect” or falling short of expectations can also lead to putting things off. The good news is that this can be changed! Like any habit it takes work. As well as a consistent, realistic plan. This article aims to inform you about what causes people to procrastinate. In addition, it offers some tips and information on how you can work through it.
That deadline from work has been hanging over your head for weeks. You know you have to sit down and get it done, but something keeps pulling you away. Something turns your head and makes it focus on some other task that not be as important as that deadline. Perhaps your teenager keeps putting off that big term paper or science project. Choosing to hang out with friends or focus on less important tasks for weeks, wasting precious time that can be used to getting it done in a more realistic manner. Then as the deadline approaches, the stress and anxiety build up. There you are at 10 pm the night before it’s due. “I always work better under pressure” you tell yourself. Scrambling to put something together the night before it’s due. Not only does this lead to poorer performance and outcome most of the time. It causes undue anxiety and stress that can be completely avoided if you choose to handle the situation differently next time. Proper planning and self-evaluation can help you change. Understanding that we can shift our attitudes and how we value the task that needs to be tackled. It can help us overcome this unwanted behavior. As someone who used to procrastinate quite a bit growing up, I’ve personally gone through this change and can tell you that I will never go back! It takes some work, but the gratification of doing bigger projects over time will definitely make you feel better as well as improve the quality of your work.
What Can I Do To Stop Procrastinating?
There are a number of things you can do to help you work through your procrastination. Figuring out why you procrastinate and formulating a realistic plan is a great way to get started. There are many “lists” and “tips” you can find online. I’ve picked out a few that I thought were useful, and you can go over and implement this list on your own:
Break things down. Make a list. Breaking down a larger task or project into smaller, more attainable goals will accomplish two important things. It will structure the way you are about the complete the task, and second; it will not make it feel so overwhelming.
Start right away. Look at your list and focus on tackling one of the items on there as soon as possible. As you're focusing, think of positive reasons why you should get this done right now.
Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines. This creates accountability and clarifies the goal, as well as the amount of time you have to get it done.
Stop over-complicating things. Letting go of perfectionism is a big step. Getting things done relatively well is better than not doing them at all. Rather than anticipating a future situation where it can be “perfect”, but nothing ends up getting done. Perfection is the enemy of done.
Take some time to evaluate your current attitude towards the task. Perceiving the task in an overly negative fashion can make it insurmountable. Leaving you trapped in a downward negative spiral of unproductive thoughts. Take a step back. Really look at all the positives of getting the task done. How will you benefit? How you will feel once it’s done? Focus as much as you can on the positive. It will give you a spring in your step, and a new found perspective.
Make yourself accountable in other ways. You can either do this by yourself, or tell someone you trust about your new goals and list. Be sure that they will be non-judgmental if you get sidetracked. They should be able to help and encourage you through your rough spots.
How Can Hypnotherapy & Self-Hypnosis Help Me Along?
Hypnosis can be a great tool to help you along with your goals. There may be unconscious reasons why you procrastinate. Hypnotherapy can help uncover the “root causes” of this behavior and make you more self-aware of why. It can also help you “re-frame” self-limiting beliefs to help you move forward and become “unstuck”.
In addition, practicing self-hypnosis exercises at home can help you reinforce good behavior to develop new, positive habits. It takes consistent practice, but it can help most people change their old unwanted ways. Affirming positive habits and behaviors while in hypnosis can be more effective than if you are in a conscious state of mind.
If you have any questions, interested in trying out a session, or getting a personalized self-hypnosis recording made, please reach out and feel free to send me an e-mail.
Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, RHt - a research scientist & practicing Registered Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.