I frequently help clients with procrastination. They tell me why they haven’t followed through on getting things done like reading, exercise, eating healthy, making time for hobbies, and preparing for work projects. They know what they need to do, but they don’t do it. Part of my job is to help motivate them. Here are 3 strategies I use to help myself and clients overcome procrastination.
Key #1: Procrastinate on the Right Things
You should procrastinate on some tasks. You heard me right. Procrastination is a good thing when it’s on the RIGHT things. Give yourself the freedom to say “no”, delegate, and move slowly on some tasks. Neglect the right tasks and disappoint the right people. Maybe you need to neglect cleaning the house because you need time with friends. Maybe you can hold off on checking and responding to email because you have more important things to do. It’s all about prioritization.
Key #2: Count the Cost
Identify those tasks that, if you procrastinate, will cost you in the long run. If you procrastinate, you will harm friendships, hurt your family, or cause long term health problems. Connect how neglecting to do something now will greatly harm your future.
Here are the types of comments I hear from clients as they count the cost.
“If I don’t overcome my fear of flying I won’t be a viable candidate for the promotion.”
“If I continue to neglect my health, I may do irreversible damage.”
“If we don’t learn to budget, we may never reach our financial goals.”
These are the tasks you need to prioritize. Have the courage to count the costs now or live with the consequences later.
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Key #3: Ask a Friend to Help
When it comes to procrastination, accountability is crucial. This is one of the main reasons support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers work. For years, my friend Dave and I have asked each other questions weekly about important areas where we procrastinate. We usually do this while we work out together on Thursday mornings. I have broken bad habits because of my accountability with Dave.
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Question: How is procrastination harming your future? What do you need to do about it?