If you ask anyone if they are a procrastinator and they say no, then they are a lying. We all do it — we just happen do it at different ends of the spectrum. I know I am at the high end, and it is something I have to work on every day. As a Type A personality and self-diagnosed ADHD individual, I know procrastination can result in me “living in a van down by the river.”
Also, as a business coach working with business owners and executives, I know it is something I have to work on with them and do it in such a way that they are not offended or put off by me calling the kettle black.
Personally, and with my clients, I use the following approach:
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
What are you are procrastinating about and why? I know that I would rather do anything other than budgeting and planning. However, I have identified the issue, and it is me. The problem is not that I don’t like it, it is that I don’t want to be held to or “constrained” by a budget/plan.
Now that I have identified the real reason why I put it off, I can address it. During this process, I work through a series of questions with my clients and get to their real reason why. Although this is just the beginning of the process, it is the most important because you cannot treat the issue if you don’t know the cause and why you are doing it. Also, I lie… I lie to myself and others as to why I am putting things off, so it is important, to be honest with yourself and get to the real reason why.
JUST DO IT
“DO IT… JUST DO IT – Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” – Shia LaBeouf
This is what I have been telling clients and what I have put into practice myself. Place the item you know you want to procrastinate at the top of your to-do list and do it. At the beginning of the day you make this the first thing you do. Force yourself not do anything else until the item you have been putting off is complete. Don’t do anything else! I can give you a list of critically important items that we all can agree you must do, but don’t do any of it.
GO TIME – SET A TIME
Also during this JUST DO IT phase, set a reasonable amount of time to get it done. If it is 30 minutes, then set a time on your watch or computer (I have spent hours looking for an effective timer online so don’t procrastinate – use this one: http://e.ggtimer.com . Make this your GO TIME. However, limit this time to 60-90 minutes max. If you are a serial procrastinator and have the attention span of a goldfish, then set the initial limit to 30 minutes or less and work up to a longer period of time.
Finally, CELEBRATE your success. If this is something you have been putting off, be sure to write yourself a note, tell a friend or get yourself an ice cream. Do something that brings you happiness; your form of celebration is up to you! The celebration reinforces the action, and you will want to do it again in the future and not completely dread it.
Follow this approach AGAIN and AGAIN and you may find your procrastination is a thing of the past.