Does this sound familiar?
An exciting new project comes along and you're energized and ready. You imagine how wonderful it’ll be when you’re finished! So you start making plans for how you’ll meet the deadline.
Within the coming days, you find it difficult to feel motivated to work on the project. You're unsure what to do, or whether you're on the right track. Perhaps you start doing a little "research," which turns into hours of surfing the net, checking Facebook, the news, and the weather...
As the days pass, you find yourself falling behind and feeling anxious. Yet, you can't seem to get started again. What happened to your rush of motivation? The looming deadline now feels like a heavy weight on your shoulders.
That’s the negative power of procrastination! Putting off tasks until the very last minute, getting distracted, and ignoring them are all self-defeating tendencies.
Have you ever thought “I must be the only one who procrastinates like this?”… Well, we have news for you - you’re not alone. Did you know that one in five people have a chronic procrastination problem? Did you also know that 95% of the US population want to overcome their procrastinating tendencies?
You know that the consequences of procrastination can be high. Missed deadlines can ding your reputation, cost you promotion opportunities, or even damage your organization’s reputation. Meanwhile, getting in just-under-the-wire can put undo pressure on your colleagues.
At home, ignoring a dead lightbulb day after day isn’t a huge deal. But if you keep avoiding the repairs and other chores you’ve promised to complete, that can dishearten loved ones and erode their trust. Chronic procrastination can also trigger anxiety and stress, aside from feeling constant pressure day in and day out.
If you’ve tried to stop procrastinating in the past, you know—it’s not easy. Distractions, perfectionism, overbooked schedules, a fear of messing up, or distaste for the task at hand can all get in the way of your good intentions.
And if you’ve already been procrastinating on your project, new distractions amplify the guilt and frustration. They quash momentum and slow progress to a death crawl.
You might be surprised to learn, however, that our brains are actually designed for distraction.
Procrastination has ancient origins. Our brains evolved to zero in on “clear and present danger” via the well-known fight-or-flight response to a threat. But in the absence of an immediate physical threat to our lives, our brains are easily distracted. That’s why when you sit down to do your taxes, your attention wanders with every passing noise, thought, or physical sensation.
But don’t despair, there is a way out.
Once you’re aware of this tendency, you can learn how to overcome distractions, so you can stay on track to meet your goals and most importantly, relieve that horrible burden that you’ve been living with.
The key to getting things done isn’t waiting for motivation to magically strike at the 11th hour before the next deadline. It’s knowing how to safeguard against distraction.
It may sound too good to be true but it’s not.. Studies also show that procrastination stems from our unrealistic expectations about a task. We tend to be either overly optimistic (“I have plenty of time! What could possibly go wrong?”) or defeatist (“I’ll never get it right, so why try?”).
You're better equipped to overcome ever-present distractions when you balance optimism with pessimism, since optimism aids you in starting a task and pessimism assists in staying focused. Thus, by balancing your motivation with a splash of pessimism, you can accomplish goals and realize your dreams.
Once you learn how to balance your motivation with your pessimism, instead of feeling the constant stress, guilt and frustration of not being prepared for a deadline…or the embarrassment and consequences of actually missing a deadline…You can start tasks and projects with greater ease and motivation and keep your momentum going right through to completion.
Can you imagine freeing up energy and having more fun with your friends and family? Having more time to read, garden or exercise. Imagine having the bandwidth to pursue your big life goals. Imagine, feeling relaxed and enjoying your life more!
The good news is that with the right tools and techniques, you can stop distractions, energize your motivation, and triumph over procrastination.