What can you do when you’re procrastinating and you’re an overwhelmed overthinker? The tips in this post can give you an extra push to beat procrastination, increase your motivation, and start figuring out how to stop being lazy and accomplish your goals.
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The Struggle to Get Over Procrastination is SO Real
When I ask my email subscribers what their biggest struggle is that prevents them from reaching their goals, I get a lot of responses. By FAR, the most common issue is procrastination.
Procrastination is SUCH a major struggle for MANY people. I’m right there with you!
We know it’s a problem. We wish it weren’t. But sometimes overwhelm and overthinking get in the way. We fall so far into the hole of putting things off, we don’t know how to climb out and get things on track again.
When the tasks you procrastinate on are actually important, it’s time to break the cycle. You can get things done! Sometimes it takes some different thinking and a little extra effort, but I absolutely believe you can win the struggle with procrastination!
I don’t presume to have all the answers for your particular situation. But as a fellow procrastinator who still manages to fight hard enough to get something done every day, I have some insights and tips that may help you.
3 Possible Reasons Why You Are Procrastinating
Before you try any new tips or ideas, the first thing you have to do is figure out WHY you’re procrastinating.
Some days you may have a nagging headache, some days the sun may be shining and you would rather spend time outdoors. Different reasons require different methods to get moving again.
To defeat procrastination long-term, you need to get really good at quickly recognizing the TRUE reason you’re not moving forward. Then you need to take specific steps to combat that situation.
There are plenty of reasons for procrastination. This is not a comprehensive list, as I’m more concerned with what you can actually DO to get moving again. Still, recognizing your issue will help you choose which tips to use first.
Reason 1: Health Issues and Procrastination
One thing to consider is that procrastination itself is linked to and suspected of being a possible cause of stress-related mental and physical health problems — Better Get to Work: Procrastination May Harm Heart Health – Psychological Science
That in itself should be enough to get you moving. If it doesn’t scare you into action, you may have a more serious health concern requiring medical intervention.
When you have health issues, it’s sometimes difficult to determine the difference between whether you are procrastinating or just having a bad health day. I do NOT have the answers for this. But I do have some resources you can check out:
Dealing with physical health issues: Mom’s Small Victories Blog
If you suspect you may have a health issue, please visit your doctor! A professional can help you seek treatment or rule out the possibility that your health is affecting your ability to get things done.
Reason 2: Self-Doubt and Perfectionism Lead to Procrastination
Self-doubt is the persistent voice inside your head constantly whispering “not good enough” or “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “who do you think you are?”
That self-doubt can lead to what many people call perfectionism. What happens? You become petrified of failure. You refuse to fail, to lose money, to “look stupid.”
To prevent that possibility, you take in ALL the information — blog posts, books, Facebook and dedicated forum threads, endless videos… You become a knowledge “expert” without having to do any actual work or gain experience.
Thus, you convince yourself you haven’t failed.
But you have failed, because you never actually tried to do that thing you thought would be interesting, or fun, or profitable. I don’t want that for you, and I hope you keep reading to find out how to turn things around.
Always remember “Done is better than perfect.”
Reason 3: Procrastination and the Overwhelmed Overthinker
Now THIS issue is one I’m extremely familiar with. Because it’s me.
At random times during the day, I’ll find myself sitting and staring off into space, my mind spinning with a neverending list of things that really need to get done… and the numerous possible scenarios of what could happen if they don’t get done or if they don’t go exactly right.
So what can I tell you about getting past that overwhelmed state where you’re paralyzed because your mind won’t stop thinking about all. the. things?
Well, you can read this post: Stop Thinking and Start Doing – A Goal-Setting Starter Plan
I wrote that post to help you set the groundwork to get past this hurdle.
Basically, do this: brain dump, find ONE FOCUS, and don’t worry about all those stupid little things. Teach yourself to look at the big picture of what you REALLY want and need.
The post you’re reading right now is meant to give you more information geared specifically toward beating procrastination. Please note that these suggestions are the ones that work best for me. Your mileage may vary.
5 Ways to Beat Procrastination
Many people will tell you to take small steps toward your big goals. They say lots of different small steps every day will help you reach all of your goals.
Sounds nice, right? A little bit of effort here and there, and eventually, magically, everything you ever wanted will be accomplished. And you will have beaten procrastination without even realizing it.
To clarify, I’m talking about the method of doing a little bit on each of your MANY big goals every. single. day. This is different than the “small” things that need to be done every day — those are habits and routines. It’s also different from breaking down ONE goal into smaller, separate actions.
The problem is, small steps on many goals at once don’t work for everyone. I love the idea, and I LOVE that it works for some people. Heck, maybe it works for most people. But for me, nope. And I suspect that’s the case for many overwhelmed overthinkers.
You know what happens when I try to do all. the. things. in small steps?
A whole lot of nothing, that’s what.
Why? Because it’s too easy to look at that tiny step I’m supposed to do today and think, “It’s so tiny, and I have so many other things to do on ALL the goals, I’ll just catch up tomorrow.”
Then I’ll start thinking about all those other small steps I’m supposed to do every day. A-a-and that’s all she wrote, folks. My brain starts to spaz out. (Ha! How many years has it been since you heard that term? Can’t hide my inner ’80s girl.) Too many things on my mind shatters my focus.
So if small steps on all. the. different. things. aren’t working for you either, try these 5 ways to beat procrastination.
1. Get Visual
It will help you remember WHAT you are working toward, WHY you’re working toward it, and HOW MUCH TIME you have to get it done.
If something digital actually WORKS for you, then go ahead and use it.
But think about this — if you’re NOT moving forward and getting things done with your digital planner or calendar, then it’s not ACTUALLY working. Try something physical, where the constant sight and touch will make you feel closer to the project and continually motivate you.
2. Reset Your Sense of Time
This is my favorite new tip to beat procrastination!
First, set a specific goal with a short deadline.
Now, start thinking about that deadline in hours instead of days or weeks. According to the Psychological Science article mentioned above, by changing your thinking in this manner, the deadline will feel closer and you will be more motivated to take positive action sooner.
This idea was new to me, but I started changing those numbers in my head and it really does make a difference!
3. Use Technology
If you’re an overwhelmed overthinker, you may have ADHD, or you may not. Either way, I’m gonna lay odds that you get distracted super-easily. This is why you need safeguards in place to protect you from yourself.
Use a timer, ALWAYS.
You can do this two different ways with the timer on your phone. One, set it to count down a certain amount of time for working. Or two, if you always underestimate how long it takes you to do things, use the stopwatch feature, turn your phone over, and go about your task in the normal way. When you’re finished, check to see how much time it took. You’ll probably be surprised.
Put this information to use when creating your daily routine and schedule.
If you only give yourself 30 minutes to do something that you’ve proven to yourself always takes an hour, just give yourself the hour.
Otherwise, you’re likely to not even begin because internally, you KNOW 30 minutes isn’t enough time. (There’s that procrastination!) When that happens again and again — at the end of the day, you feel like you’re hours behind because you scheduled too tightly.
If something like Facebook is your downfall, be sure to use a blocking app that works across all of your devices so you don’t “cheat” by getting on your phone’s FB app when you’re supposed to be working on your laptop.
4. Develop Your Finishing Instinct
For one day, finish everything you begin. Even if it’s only one thing, stick with it and complete it.
How do you feel? Tired? Accomplished? Amazed that it took so long to do one thing? Or surprised that you got it done so quickly?
Do the same thing the next day. And the next… and the next… until it’s habit to ALWAYS finish what you begin.
5. Build Passion
Passion trumps procrastination. I cannot say it any more simply than that.
If you do nothing else, you MUST become overwhelmingly passionate about one focus. Preferably something good, ‘kay? Not video games or keeping up with the latest celebrity gossip. Please?
More Resources for Beating Procrastination
Next Steps to Defeat Procrastination
I certainly hope you found a tip or two here that has motivated you to work on beating procrastination. If you have, would you please do two things?
- Choose a tip to implement RIGHT NOW.
- Get off the computer and get to work!
Get off the couch and Build Your Best Life.
You’ve got this!
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