READ ME: How to stop procrastinating
On The Reset retreats I (Vicky!) lead a workshop all about feeling more organised and less stressed. It’s a popular part of our retreats and the big part that makes everyone sit up? How to stop procrastinating.
We all procrastinate to some extent. But for some of us if it becomes habitual and it can really get in the way of getting stuff done, leaving us deflated and feeling hopeless.
Let us give you some simple, practical ways you can overcome procrastination:
Understand how your brain works
One of the fun parts of the workshop we do on the retreats is using this fantastic graphic representation of what goes on in your brain when you procrastinate.
The biggest takeaway? Your brain wants to stay safe and keep doing the same things over and over. It doesn’t want you to do new things – because that’s scary and unfamiliar. The ‘instant gratification monkey’ in your head will drag you down and get you wasting time very quickly unless you are conscious of it.
So it’s not you. You’re not lazy, or bad or stupid for procrastinating. It’s how your brain is wired.
Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline
This is simple but we often don’t do it. When you’re trying to focus, are you clear about exactly what you’re trying to get done and when it needs to be achieved?
Write it down! Physically, with a pen and paper and make sure that goal is somewhere you can refer to and see – whether that’s a journal you use daily or stuck on your fridge.
Also set a time to get it done. We all know we work better when we have a clear deadline – remember when your boss says they wants that report by Friday? You get it done, right?
Which leads me neatly on to…
We are big on accountability at The Reset. The main focus with our retreats and events is bringing you together with like-minded people who can support you and help you grow.
If you have a goal and a deadline make sure you tell someone what it is. Telling someone and saying it out loud makes it real and means someone else knows what you’re trying to achieve.
Want to go one further to up your accountability? Set an accountability appointment with that friend – a day and time you check in with them to report your progress. Even just a text message you send on a certain day or at a certain time will boost your chances of getting things done.
Break your goal into small pieces
We love big, hairy, audacious goals at The Reset. But if you put them down on your list as one big thing you’re always going to procrastinate because your brain won’t be able to see a way to tackle it.
Break that big goal down into small steps. Things you can actually imagine doing, things that take 10 minutes maybe but that all add up to you achieving your goal.
Suddenly looking at that list becomes much more manageable to make a start on. It’s a much better alternative to not having a clue where to begin and just burying your head in Instagram scrolling for the 100thtime this week….
We are all very good at looking at the things we haven’t done, but how often do you take time to celebrate what you have done?
If you get into the habit of rewarding yourself for your progress and achievements, your brain is going to be more likely to want to repeat those new actions. If all you do is beat yourself up about not getting things done, why would you ever try anything new?
Find a way to reward yourself – it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated – just a little treat to congratulate yourself when you get things done.