According to Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, everyone procrastinates. The key to increasing your productivity is decreasing the time you procrastinate. Simple, right?
In order to decrease the amount of time you procrastinate, you must know the answers to these questions:
- What tasks do you typically put off doing?
- What’s the stopping point or trigger on these tasks?
- How do you move past this stopping point?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the procrastination challenge. However, with a little bit of information and some self-reflection, you can overcome your specific trigger.
First, create a list of the tasks you typically put off…the ones on your to-do list that never seem to get crossed off.
Then, expand your thinking. What projects do you have that you’ve been thinking about doing “when you have time”? Add these to the list!
Next, identify your stopping point or trigger for each item you procrastinate on.
According to Pychyl, we procrastinate when we find a task unattractive. The more unattractive, the more we procrastinate. Unattractive tasks have one or more of the following traits:
- Lack of clarity
- Lack of brain space
Knowing which reason is triggering you will help you resolve your procrastination. (Be aware – two people can have completely different triggers for the same task.)
If it’s a lack of clarity, what precisely is holding you back?
- Do you need to define how the task fits in with your goals?
- Is there missing information you need to find?
- Are you unsure of the next, smallest step?
- Do you need to clearly define the expected outcome of the project?
- Do you make a list of the steps you need to take?
If it’s a lack of brain space, how can you create more space?
- Where can you make time for self-care?
- Can you create distraction-free times to focus?
- Will taking a walk outside help clear your mind?
- Can you change work locations – a coffee shop, somewhere outside, or in another room?
What is the strategy you need to bust through your procrastination?
Procrastination can be a major obstacle to success, but it doesn’t have to be. When you can identify what is preventing you from taking action, you can create a strategy to overcome the challenge. If you think procrastination is one of your time thieves, one-on-one coaching might be the answer. Let’s talk.