I thought that my love affair with procrastination would end as soon as I left university but boy was I wrong.
According to Google procrastination is ‘the act of delaying or postponing something,’ but to me procrastination is just another word for being lazy. And for me this is a major problem because it hinders me from being productive when necessary.
What do I procrastinate with? Many things but most recently my new healthy diet that I have been meaning to start since the beginning of March *sighs.* You may have the same problem with your gym attendance, finishing tasks, reading, maintaining relationships, starting new projects and much more.
When you find yourself saying things like “I can’t be bothered,” “I’m not in the mood,” “I just don’t feel like it” or “I’ll start/or do this tomorrow,” this is a sign that procrastination has kicked in. But how can we avoid procrastination? And how do we make sure that we make today’s decisions count?
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
The reason why many of us are so in-tune with procrastination is because working hard towards something can be very uncomfortable. Therefore we need to learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
2. Change your mindset
Like I always say “it starts in the mind.” I once watched a TEDx talk that was centred on changing thinking habits. The speaker spoke about programming your thoughts in a way that would associate pleasure with achieving your goals and pain with not achieving them. She said that the brain likes familiarity, so you have to make it become unfamiliar with your bad habits (AKA procrastination and laziness). Instead of saying “I don’t feel like doing this,” tell yourself “I need to do this.”
In order to change your mindset you need to become more aware of what you watch and listen to as it subconsciously influences you, whether positive or negative. For motivation and inspiration I watch a lot of TEDx talks on YouTube and listen to a range of podcasts including Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations and Elevation with Steven Furtick (I highly recommend both).
3. Create a weekly or daily to-do-list
This does not have to be extensive or long winded. It could be made up of two or three small changes to your ‘lazy routine’ that will bring you one step closer to having a productive day or week. Trust me, ticking off your to-do-list brings a sense of achievement that is priceless.
4. Start a new or change an old routine (begin with small changes)
It is better to start with small incremental changes that will eventually become your new lifestyle, rather than making big substantial changes that can be very uncomfortable and hard to maintain. Having a routine will help you develop productive habits (e.g. having set gym days).
5. Get your friends to hold you accountable
Your friends can your biggest ally. They can help support, encourage and motivate you through your journey and they might even go on the journey with you. Tell your friends to hold you accountable so you can avoid giving up and caving in.
As I recently heard “today’s decisions are tomorrow’s reality” – such a profound (but scary) thought.
So in your quest to end procrastination and laziness, what changes will you make today?