Waiting for Tomorrow
Procrastination… Most of us fall victim to it. I certainly do at times. Psychology Today reported that as many as 90 percent of college students are chronic procrastinators. We put off to tomorrow — or next month — something we know we need to do today. We feel guilty for it. We feel less productive for it. We lose confidence for it.
One characteristic (which does not apply to all bad habits) of procrastination is that we know when we are doing it. It’s clear as day. And because we know when we are falling victim to delaying our work, we can make conscious efforts to change our behavior.
Here are actionable steps to try when you fall victim to bouts of procrastination:
Work in Sprints
Set a timer in short increments. Start with five minutes. Make your goal for each sprint very simple and attainable: to actively work during that period. Focus on action and not on results. As soon as you begin the timer countdown, start working. Once a sprint is complete, take a short break and set the timer again for five minutes. People are surprised at how quickly they get enveloped in their work when they race against the clock. This is an effective way to begin work that we often put off or worry execute perfectly.
Plan to reward yourself for starting your work. Don’t punish yourself, but do offer yourself a reward after working for a period of time on the new project. Like work sprints, focus on activities and effort, and not on results. Once you reach a work goal, such as one hour of project work, reward yourself with something you want, like a snack, a short walk, or a chat with a friend. Then, get back to work.
Make Incremental Progress
Think about why you’re not starting. Often we avoid ideas that we have built up as amazing due to a fear that they may not be as good in reality. We don’t want to be let down. So, we just delay. If you think this may be happening, restate your project idea into bite size pieces. Instead of one big idea, write down the elements of the idea sequentially. Identify the element you are most confident about to motivate yourself to begin, and tackle it. Once you begin working and make progress, you will feel better about moving to the next, more challenging elements.
This is your work. You take pride in it. You want to see your idea come to fruition. Think about why it’s a great idea. Think about the value of the idea. Write down your thoughts on paper. You will begin to generate more excitement which will help motivate you to begin and succeed.
This article was written by Avenue Group Founder Jeremy Greenberg