Have you been troubled with your propensity to lazy around all day, not get any work done and then feel bad about it at the end of the day? Mostly it happens when the habit of processing mediocre, useless stuff as day dreaming, TV, Mobile phone, over sleeping & time-pass friends sediments itself as a Vriti (tendency) into our psyches. If you very honestly feel that you are closer to becoming a master procrastinator THIS very implementable post is for you only. Come on, do not be lazy. Read this blog post right till the end. I promise- you’ll dig something unique for your own self. Massive dreams require super massive efforts. And the sooner you start looking for real solutions and ways to deal with procrastination and beat laziness out of your system; the better it will be. See it is simple- ‘Energetic people are more successful’ (Only exception- Mr Beans) 🙂 .
Deadline stress is something which all of us feel closely and regularly in our lives. We get used to procrastinating till the 11th hour and then stressing out with frenzied last minute action which also results in substandard work. Most of us love passing time doing nothing; often forgetting that Time Pass = Time FAIL.
I mean yes, it is your life and your time and you are entitled to use it whichever way you want. But if you are wasting it being super lazy, then you also have no right to complain about unfulfilled dreams and unfinished goals.
So, for those who really want actionable and workable ways to deal with procrastination and beat laziness, I have these 6 practical ways that have worked for me in the past:
1. Set the Momentum right
This is the first rule in the domain of ‘How to deal with procrastination’!
Remember Newton’s first law of motion? An object in rest tends to remain in rest and an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless external force is applied.
Your inertia in life plays a huge role in how far you can go. And if you are dominated by an inertia of rest, I doubt you will be raking in frequent flier miles 🙂 … It is very important to keep your momentum right.
How to fix this inertia? Simple – Good habits. Live your days in good momentum and your laziness will remain at bay!
One of the simplest ways is to get up early in the morning. And make your bed the first thing after leaving it. There is a different energy in the unpolluted morning air that automatically inspires action. And the act of making your bed right after getting up signifies that you are already in task mode, ready to tackle your To-do list of the day.
People really underestimate the power of getting up early in the morning, spending time on their minds and bodies and freshening up with a cold shower. They would rather be lying on the bed, scrolling through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram timelines,spiralling down the social media rabbit.
If you ask me, I have not found a better way to beat procrastination than getting up as soon as I open my eyes and taking a shower first thing. When most of the world is sleeping, your early morning head-start is the confidence booster you need to face your day head on!
Keep a momentum of good habits. And your pace in life will get taken care of.
2. Write down your goals
A lot of people procrastinate simply because they don’t put much energy into their actions. I cannot stress enough on the importance of the written word. I have folders of goals and sub-goals, deadlines, achievables and deliverables – divided age wise, year wise, month wise and week wise.
There are so many books that don’t get written, projects that don’t get finished and dreams that don’t get fulfilled because people don’t have the habit of writing it down and it remains suspended somewhere in their mind space.
Unwritten goals have much less energy behind them. It’s like – you don’t have a benchmark and you simply live for the day to day. You have goals but they exist, somewhere in the back of your mind.
I have seen some of the top most leaders of our times succeed because they use the power of their goals and their clear step-by-step to-do lists to galvanize their efforts. In putting them on paper, you transfer your energy to them, you make them more real, more important.
So, write down the To-dos of your life. Then write down the deadlines and the prerequisites of those goals. Remember – what gets actualized, gets realized.
3. The 6P formula of planning
Brian Tracy talks about the 6P formula in his bestselling book, “Eat the Frog”.
6P stands for ‘Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance’
I would say, even a poor plan is better than no plan at all. Because it gives you some level of preparation which saves time later. For e.g. when you are cooking, you don’t put the pan on stove and then go grocery shopping. You plan ahead, prepare all the ingredients and then start.
The same approach needs to be followed for all your important tasks.
If getting up early and planning the day is not your cup of tea, then it should be an activity for before you go to sleep. Instead of binge watching youtube videos to put yourself to sleep, if you spend that time planning your next day, it will give you the feeling of being a man with a mission. It is your time after all, why not use it well.
One good way of making those blueprints is – to watch your KRAs.
If you narrow down your Key Result Areas and the output that you are expecting, it will easier to plan your activities. If it’s an activity that won’t get done if you don’t do it, it should be on the top of your priority list.
Your KRAs will lead you to better plans. And your plans will help you not procrastinate.
4. Implement and Improvise
Inertia of rest often sets in simply because we are waiting for things to be perfect.
The truth is – they never will be. There are beta launches of websites and software and developers often fix bugs as and when they come up. Manuscripts are edited multiple times before they are ready for print. Masterpieces rarely get produced in one go. In waiting to perfect your remaining 20%, don’t put your first 80% on hold!
The point being – ‘implement and improvise’ is a great way to keep up the momentum of action and not let yourself become a procrastination ninja by waiting around for the perfect time. You have your set of goals, you have a plan to achieve them, you work on it now. Don’t wait.
And people who write down their goals are more likely to be in the implementation mode – for they know what is it that needs to be done. Rest of us are generally clueless amidst the general chaos of life 🙂
As Lao Tzu puts is beautifully, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step”. No matter how daunting your work might seem, if you never begin, you will never reach. Be it daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals or yearly goals – your baby steps count. Don’t underestimate the power of being a ‘work in progress’. But there will be no progress, if there is no work at all.
Believe in your baby steps. It is similar to how you do a plank exercise. Initially you won’t be able to hold for even 10 seconds. But with daily, disciplined practice, I have seen people reach up to 5 minutes. But those first few days are important; when you force yourself to keep aside your utter laziness and just do it because your rusting body probably needs it very badly.
5. Pareto’s Principle – the 80/20 rule
The simplicity of the Pareto Principle is what makes it brilliant. Surpassing the economics behind the principle, let me tell you what it means for procrastinators.
20% of your activities will lead to 80% of your results. The rest 80% of your activities are just alliteration and decoration. So, in the horde of 10 equally time taking tasks, you need to figure out which are the ones that will generate most value for you.
A small exercise – take a minute and write down 3 most important things you want to do in your life. Repeat the exercise for 3 most important milestones you want in your career and 3 in your personal life. These 3 will probably be the 20% that will lead to 80% of all good things for you.
Now, if you have to procrastinate absolutely (because it is your second nature!), you procrastinate on those 80% activities that give you 20% results. Not the other way round.
I know a lot of people have FOMO i.e. fear of missing out on important things in life if they are not everywhere. But trust me – if you are everywhere, you will probably end up nowhere. To find fulfilment of your own goals, you will have to let go of certain things. The sooner you realize this, the better off you will be.
In this internet generation, fighting FOMO becomes more difficult because of our incessant need to be connected and communicating continuously. Technology is just a tool. If used well, it can serve you and make you more productive. If abused, it will definitely add scores to your mastery of procrastination. (Here’s how you can stop your smartphone from hampering your productivity.)
Knowing what requires your immediate attention and what can be put off for later – is an important exercise in managing your time well. What would be the point of doing efficiently, that which need not be done at all! Thus, this 80-20 rule is very crucial for prioritizing and planning.
6. Time Division
Procrastination often comes with a tendency of getting distracted. These days, social media does a great job of swaying people away. Research says that once you get distracted on the internet, it takes 20 minutes before you can focus on work again. That’s a lot of time wasted.
A better idea is to divide your time into unbroken chunks. Give yourself 90 minutes of interrupted work time by putting your devices on silent and logging off from other places. And slowly try to increase this time to 2 hours, 2.5 hrs and so on.
The same pattern can be followed for personal activities like exercising, spending time with family etc. I see a lot of young people procrastinating more often when it comes to physical fitness. Their excuse is that there is no time after work. In reality – it is all about habits. If you decide that you absolutely have to run for 30 minutes, no matter how late you come back from work – after a few initial failures you will eventually find yourself on the track literally and figuratively.
Similarly, people have the habit of giving into the social media temptation like it’s an itch in the groin that needs to be addressed right away – even when they are with family, amidst important conversations. It is not only rude, but is also a setback for your positive momentum.
The funda is very simple. If what you do does not take you towards your goals, it takes you away from them.
So, the question then is – is procrastination taking you a step closer to the things you want to achieve in life? Probably not.
But here’s the catch –
I can give you only ways. No matter what you read here or anywhere else about ways to deal with procrastination – you won’t achieve anything till you step out of your comfort zone and take the first step. As it is said, one can take the horse to the water but not make him drink it.
No tips and tricks will be useful, till you shake out of your lazy slumber and tell yourself – enough is enough! Till you begin to actively choose for yourself – procrastination or prioritization?
One Life. Do not fritter it away just like that. Rise, Shine & Fly away. The world is waiting for you to pour your exceptional skills & talents into the marketplace. Only .01% people will do. The remaining 99.99% will spend their entire lives time passing & in just existing. You be the former. And for that – ‘Be Energetic first’.