How to stop delaying things for later? (part 1)
The habit of putting things off until the last minute can be a big problem both in business and in everyday life. Missed opportunities, overtime, stress, overload, resentment, guilt are signs of a similar habit. This article will help to identify the main reasons for the habit of delaying things for later, and show how you can overcome it.
1. Replace “Need” with “Want.”
First, the understanding of the “need” to perform certain actions – and there is a main reason why we postpone them for later. When you tell yourself that you “have to” do something, you realize the forced nature of this action, and automatically feel a sense of inner resistance.
Postponing the case for later acts as a protective mechanism to keep you from performing undesirable actions.
If the task you are putting off has deadlines, then when you approach these deadlines, the unpleasant sensations from the task itself are overlapped by stronger sensations from the consequences that will come if you do not start solving immediately.
Allowing this lock is about understanding and accepting the fact that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Even if you face serious consequences, you are always free to choose. No one’s forcing you to do anything.
The decisions you made in life have led you to the present situation. If you do not like the current state of Affairs, you are free to make other decisions that will lead you to other results.
And note that you do not put off all your Affairs for later. There are things you do on time. Perhaps you do not miss your favorite TV show, or you will always find time to read an interesting forum on the Internet. In every situation – the choice is yours.
So, if you postpone the start of work on a new project and feel an internal compulsion, then realize that you are doing it on your own free will. Tasks that you solve on your own, are much less likely to be put aside.
2. Replace “Complete” with “Proceed.”
Secondly, the consideration of the problem as something great and indivisible, will definitely lead to the fact that you’ll put it to the side. When you are focused on completing a task and at the same time do not have a clear idea of the steps you need to take, you create a sense of overload for yourself. And in this case, you link this unpleasant feeling with the task itself and postpone it as long as possible.
If you say to yourself – “I have to prepare the papers today,” or “I have to complete this report,” you’re probably throwing yourself into a state of stress and postponing the task for later.
The solution is to think about getting started on a small part of the task, instead of imagining that you have to complete the whole task.
Change your approach. Instead of asking, ” How do I end this?”– ask yourself “What small piece of work can I do right now?”. If you just start to solve the problem many times, you will eventually come to its conclusion.
If one of your tasks is parsing the stuff in the garage, the thought that you have to clean up this pile of garbage at a time makes you in a sad mood and you postpone it for later.
Ask yourself how you can start by solving at least a small part of this problem.
For example, come to the garage and sketch on a piece of paper a few ideas for small ten-minute cleaning activities garage. While you’re at it, you can take some of this big pile of garbage to the dumpster.
Don’t think about doing something big. Just focus on what you can do right now. Using this approach regularly, you will eventually begin the last small area of work and eventually complete the solution of the whole problem.
3. Leave perfectionism and allow yourself to be imperfect.
The third type of misguided thinking that leads to delaying is perfectionism. The idea that you have to do the job immediately and flawlessly – leads you into a state of stress. And you associate stress with a task that needs to be solved, and thus create all the conditions for yourself to postpone it for later.
Stop postponing the case until the last minute to eventually find a way out of this trap.
Tell yourself there isn’t enough time to do the job perfectly.
But if your task does not have a deadline, perfectionism can lead you to the fact that you will endlessly postpone this task. If you’ve never even started a task you’ve always wanted to do very well, maybe perfectionism is what keeps you from doing it.
You can fight perfectionism by giving yourself the right to be an imperfect person.
Have you ever used a computer program that could be called perfect from all points of view ? Hardly.
Realize that an imperfect job completed today is always better than a perfect job delayed indefinitely.
Perfectionism is also associated with the awareness of the task as something big and indivisible.
Replace one big perfectly done job in your brain with a small and imperfect first step.
This first step can be very, very imperfect. But you can always go back to him again and again.
For example, if you want to write an article in five thousand words, allow yourself to write only a hundred words to begin with.
4. Replace the feeling of loss with a guaranteed joy.
The fourth mental blockage is that the task is associated with a sense of loss. This means that you believe that the implementation of the project will displace from your life a significant part of the pleasures and joys.
Does it take the rest of your life to complete the project? Are you telling yourself that you should be alone, working late, never seeing your family, and never having fun? It’s not like it’s highly motivating, but still many many many people say it to themselves to force themselves to do something.
Imagining pictures of long hard work alone, without time for entertainment – this is a guaranteed way to postpone their Affairs for later.
To combat this way of thinking can be doing the opposite. Define first the guaranteed areas of joy in your life and plan your work “around” these areas.
This may sound counterproductive, but this psychological technique works very well.
Determine in advance the time you will spend with your family, time for entertainment, time for sports, time for social work and personal Hobbies. Guarantee yourself time for your favorite activities. Then limit your working hours to what’s left.
The most productive workers in any field tend to work less and rest more than workaholics.
If you view your work time as a valuable resource rather than as an uncontrollable monster that can destroy other aspects of your life, you will feel more balanced and you will be more focused on the task and efficient in using your work time.
This is evident in the fact that the optimal working week for most people is 40-45 hours. Longer-term work has the opposite effect in terms of productivity and motivation. And in the long run, less real work is done.
What if I came to you and said, “you can only work ten hours this week.” Your sense of loss will be reversed, won’t it?
Instead of feeling the withdrawal of time for entertainment, you would feel the withdrawal of time for work.
You’d change your attitude.
“I want to have fun” would change to “I want to work”, your motivation to work would increase significantly, and all traces of delay would disappear.
I also highly recommend that you devote at least one day a week to classes that have nothing to do with your work. This will give you the necessary energy and desire to start a new working week as soon as possible.
Having a guaranteed weekend will increase your motivation to work and reduce the desire to postpone things.