We all procrastinate. From the small, day to day tasks like cleaning up and sorting the garage, to the bigger things like pursuing a lifelong dream or when you are about to start a business. You are probably here because you want to know how to stop procrastinating.
Serial procrastinators know too well the wide gap between “I should” and “I did.” They can be incredibly creative when it comes to excuses, many of which may sound rational. However, they know deep down in their bones that it’s just another way to persuade themselves that today isn’t the right day or the right time.
Can You Actually Stop Procrastination?
The short answer is; not really. As you probably already know, tackling procrastination can be incredibly frustrating. Our minds are always trying to protect us from things that seem risky, harmful, can cause pain, or things that seem too difficult.
Instead, it is much more efficient to find a workaround and therefore, ensure it doesn’t take over your life. Whether you want to start a business or pursue one of your aspirations, here are a few tips you can use to ‘conquer’ procrastination:
Break Down Your Goals
Big, bold, and brash goals do a lot to light a fire under our bottoms. They can inspire and make us dare to believe in the ineffable. But do you know what else they can do? They can send you down the dark hole of procrastination.
Break down your business goals into small, bite-sized pieces that you can do every day or a few times each week. Even if the end seems far, everything will begin to clear up as you go along and as you undertake the little things.
Invented by Francesco Cirillo, this technique can be incredibly useful, especially when you are struggling to take action or to manage your time. In summary, it involves absolute dedication to a task for no more than 25 minutes (one Pomodoro), followed by a five-minute break. This immediately increases your focus and, other than prompting you to take action, it can easily double your productivity.
At the core of procrastination is perfection, or the idea that everything has to be perfect. While perfection can be a good trait, it’s also a double-edged sword. Timing may be crucial when it comes to success, but finding the perfect time or the perfect day is pretty much the root of practically all forms of procrastination.
We all want to wait until the perfect day to start a business, the perfect time to start exercising, or the perfect circumstances to confront a longstanding issue. But the trick is to embrace imperfection and to realize (and accept) that the perfect time may never come. Why sit around waiting for it?
The gates of change and action can only be opened from the inside. These three tips should trigger you to take action today. Nils Salzgeber has also written a practical guide that can be incredibly helpful to anyone who’s just about had it and would like to know how to stop procrastinating.