What is it that makes procrastination such an attractive alternative to motivation? What causes you to choose to watch television when there’s nothing on, play games when you should be working, consume food when you’re not hungry, or sleep when you’re not tired, if you know that you’re only wasting your time?
The answer is simple: When you dare to procrastinate, you experience an immediate (albeit temporary) feeling of delight. Distracting yourself from the more daunting tasks that cause you anxiety is seemingly enjoyable, but comes at the cost of lost productivity. The worst part is how it’s only after you’ve finished procrastinating that you recognize the true value in the time you wasted.
If you are frequently angry with yourself for participating in this self-defeating behavior, read on — this article will provide you with some motivational tips that can help you win the battle against procrastination.
Have clear goals.
This point cannot be stressed enough. Having clear goals prevents you from “sleepwalking” through life without an intended destination. Viewed in their entirety though, any goal can be intimidating. That’s why it’s important to:
Break goals down into smaller steps.
Imagine your goal is to become a concert pianist. If you never break that goal down into a series of smaller tasks, it will always remain a fantasy — it is necessary to get access to a piano, find a piano teacher, learn the basics of reading music, and to practice regularly.
Work in an area designated for working.
Creating a work area has two benefits:
- It limits the amount of “pre-work.” For instance, if you intend to practice piano on an electronic keyboard every day, it would be silly to keep that keyboard in storage. You will be less likely to practice every day if you have to assemble your work area every time you want to practice.
- Eliminating the steps involved for “pre-work” significantly reduces the total number of steps that remain in achieving your goals. Consequently, you’ll be able to achieve your goals faster.
Let go of perfectionism.
Perhaps the biggest contributor to procrastination is the feeling that you need to do something perfectly. When you set the bar at the height of perfection, you’ll end up intimidating yourself so much that you’ll never even start. Don’t dwell on every detail involved when breaking down your goals. Focus on what you should do first, decide how you can get started with that first step today, and let the details fall into place on their own.
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