Thursday 7 January 2016

11 Powerful tips to help stop procrastination


So, I know I have been very quiet the last few weeks, and I apologise. I was on holiday for 3 weeks and had a bit of writers block with that. To my defence I started to write an article I wanted to post but I have been struggling with it for the past 5 weeks.

Yesterday, it was my 3rd day back in the gym, don’t know if you know already, but I am a bit of a fitness freak/fanatic. It makes me a happier person and I can promise you that if I skipped a few days the people around me would drag me back to the gym by my hands and feet, as I am generally a more pleasant person to be around if I have an outlet for my normal day to day frustrations. It’s my therapy (A lot cheaper than lying on someone’s couch talking about my feelings, I can promise you that).

So, where was I? Vacation? Never mind the vacation, keep that for a next entry. I was in the gym yesterday, contemplating  my blog and how to finish the story I was busy with, not really finding a solution. As I have told you before my brain is way too busy with a million things at once. Go read my first article about why it is important to know your personality type. So as per normal when I couldn’t find a solution for my blog problem (sounds like an addiction or something my “Blog problem”), I realised that that is one of the things I do, one of my not so favourite character traits.

I hesitate and prolong the situation if I don’t know the answer, or I don’t want to make a choice. I drag things out; sometimes end up in tears, frustrated with myself for not making a decision, for not being able to know what I want to do. I concluded that writing my blog is more of a reflection on my life than I initially realised.

Sometimes you need to stop, scrap the piece of paper you are writing on, throw it in the bin and start over. You need to wipe the slate clean in order to make sense of the chaos in front of you.

Obviously being a “new year, new you” everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions, what are you going to do differently, and what are you going to start or what are you going to finish?

Well, I am a fan of New Year’s resolutions, and at the age of 25 and a half,  I realised why.

I procrastinate. That is who I am, a procrastinator, and that is OK, It is not great but it is OK. Now I know what to fix.  I need to scrap the paper, start over, and hopefully the words will flow without hesitation. Well what do you know, it seems to be working. You will know  what is the right thing to do. Don’t force the things that don’t come naturally to you. I don’t mean “don’t do anything about it”, I mean if you are hesitating to do it, maybe there is a reason.

Although I am not going to try and change myself, I am going to try and speed up the process, not only for me but also the people around me (and deciding what to eat at a restaurant is small fries in comparison to what I am talking about, although that all seems to be a problem for me as well). The things I do today could change someone's life. The decisions that I have to make have an influence on the people around me as well and I know it can be frustrating for me so how much more for the people around me, especially big life decisions.

In the same way  I am not a professional but I seeked help with regards to my problem around procrastinating EVERYTING! Cestine Chua  wrote an article in this regard on So I am going to follow these 11 practical tips to overcome my problem with procrastination. I will keep a diary, and let you know if it works for me in 2016. 

11 Powerful tips to help stop procrastination (Oh golly, here we go. Do I have to start today, why not Monday?)
  1. Break your work into little steps. Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, and then focus on one part at the time. (Grab a pen and paper) If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now
  2. Change your environment. Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your work space. One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. (I don’t want to work when I get to bed…)
  3. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines. Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late. (Jup that’s me!) Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act. My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date; else my goals will be put off. (I will need to try and implement this, anyone knows of a good diary to buy?)
  4. Eliminate your procrastination pit-stops. (But it is so easy, and more fun!) If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate. Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you. I know some people will out of the way and delete/deactivate their Facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic/extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.
  5. Hang out with people who inspire you to take action.  I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviours. (I need more of them) Of course spending time with Steve Jobs/Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies. Identify the people/friends/colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.
  6. Get a buddy. (this work really well for exercising, get a gym buddy) Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other. I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.
  7. Tell others about your goals. This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. (This is scary, what if you fail, then everyone will know? Maybe start with one or two people? Your spouse?) Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. (That’s what I am scared of) (Read why the friends you keep are responsible for your success)
  8. Seek out someone who has already achieved the outcome. What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.(takes a bit of research, maybe telling the people around you about your goal will help as they maybe know someone in the field)
  9. Re-clarify your goals. If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that. Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break will do too) (Done that) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not,what can you do about it? (So many questions, it is answering them that is the problem!)
  10. Stop over-complicating things. Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? (Yes) That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? (YESSS) Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything. Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination.
  11. Get a grip and just do it. At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day. Reality check: I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it. (Well I am game to try it! Let’s go 2016)

This sounds simple enough right?? I am excited to start ordering in a restaurant, I am sure it will easily save 30 minutes! Let me know in the comments below if you are going to try it and if it works for you!

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