Do You Procrasturbate? - 7 tips to overcoming the urge

procrastination and how to overcome the shameful urge

Do you regularly feel the Shame of Procrasturbation?

Well stop! 

It's natural. 

We all do it. 

There I've come out and said it. 

In our day to day lives we all juggle so much, and expect a great deal from ourselves.  Procrastinating on the stuff that we know we should get to grips with is all too easy to do.  The things that will move us toward  our goals.  These are the things that get put on the back burner in favour of more seemingly urgent tasks.

The result? 

Guilt.  A sense of unease and anxiousness at not getting round to it. 

And, let's be honest here, a sense of doing something naughty or wrong.  Ok, so that last one is just me then is it? 

I first came across the term 'procrasturbation' when listening to the 'Tim Ferriss' podcast.  And it struck a cord.  It sums up the both the urge and the act of putting things off.  We all do it, but how many of us really admit it to ourselves?  How many of us attempt to rationalise it away, or pretend it doesn't really happen?  We put on an angelic face and get busy with our 'other' tasks. 

procrastination and stress

So, for all you secret procrastibators out there, here's my top 7 tips to overcoming the urge:

1.  Be Honest.

The first step is to acknowledge that you do indulge.  It's a human trait after all.  We are wired to avoid the pain of difficult and the challenging work.  Even the most focused and productive people recognise these urges.   The difference?  They accept it is real and take action to restrain it. 

Action:  Take the first step and write down on a piece of paper 'I am a procrastibator!".

2.  Identify your favourite 'procrasturbation porn.'

What are you routinely procrastinating over?  Usually, it is one or two key tasks, activities or projects that get pushed to the back of the line.  You will get round to them 'another day,' or 'when you have more time,' or 'when the right mood takes me.'  Sometimes, they just seem too big to get started on.  Or you have such a high fear of failure and, therefore, the easiest option is just not to start in the first place.  Perhaps your perfectionism kicks in - 'what's the point, it won't be good enough?'

Whatever the reason, recognise that there is nothing more certain than not achieving your goal if you don't even start. 

Action: Write down the top three things you routinely procrastinate over. 

3.  Priorities - what are they really?

The trouble with life is that it just gets in the way.  The day to day grind of life and work, the challenges and stressors.  They distract and tempt you away from focusing on what really matters to you.  And if you lose focus, you stop taking positive action towards your goals?

You no doubt have a sense of what is important to you in your life and work and the things you really want to achieve.

Action:  Identify the areas of your life that are important to you. 

Assess whether they are receiving the attention and action they deserve. Take your list from point 2 above. Reflect on whether those things you are procrastinating on regularly actually fit into your priorities.  If they don't then, maybe you can let them go.  If they do, then you need step 4.

Top tip:  Consider these areas of your life to get you thinking;  health, relationships, family, career, self development and spiritual, financial.  Jot down your thoughts

4.  Then prioritise.

Prioritise - Having identified the key areas in which you may have lost focus, identify the top three things you would love to make progress on 'if you had the time.'  Then identify the top priority.  This will become your focus. 

Action: Identify the one thing that that would make the biggest difference to you.

Top Tip: Focus on less to achieve more

5.  Chunk it down

The urge to procrasurbate often comes from the sense that the task or challenge is too big to handle.  It therefore gets relegated to the 'too hard tray' for some later date.  Enter, the power of 'chunking.'  Needless to say, it is one of the most powerful tools in your productivity and stress management kit.  So look at the priority you have just set yourself in part 4 above and decide how to break it down into smaller chunks.  Very few things need to be done in one big go and many will benefit from this chunking process.

Action:  Decide how the priority task can best be broken down

Top Tip:  Chunk by word count, section, or even task by task - if you really struggle, chunk it by time period - i.e. you will only work on it for 20 minutes at a time.

6.  Make a start

It really is that simple and it really is the most effective anti-procrasturbation tip there is.  Having 'chunked' down the bigger project or challenge. 

Action:  Take the first chunk and get to work. 

Top Tip: Take into account tip 7 to ensure greater success.

7.  Set a small daily ritual and do it first.

Having made a start the key now is to keep going and resist that prcrasturbation urge.  The answer is simple.  Keep your work period to a small chunk (say 25 minutes.  Even go as small as 10 minutes) and schedule it in daily.  Make it happen before you start with anything else, especially emails.

Action:  Carve out a small time slot every day to commit to working on a chunk at a time.

Top Tip: Make it the first thing you do each day that way you minimise the risk of becoming distracted with the day-to-day grind and succumbing to the procrasturbation urge

Ok, so there you have it.  Seven steps to banishing the 'procrasurbation' urge.  Get started now on those routinely put off area of your life.  You will make a difference.  You will move closer to achieving your goals, whether it's writing a book, completing a project or engaging in some new health and fitness routine.  And you will do so with a little less stress too.

And, don't forget. if you do succumb to the procrastination temptation, don't be too hard on yourself.  Just return to these seven steps and move on.  You are human after all.

SG out

Finding it hard to de-stress, take time-out or switch off?  Check out my free 6-step e-book - 'Emergency Stress CPR'

Dave Algeo, Stressed Guru is a speaker and writer committed to spreading the message - well-being and success need each other.  Get in touch to find out how he can help your organisation develop greater success with wellbeing, or learn more about his speaking and workshops.