by Matt Boyd, co-founder of Sqwiggle.com
They’re staring you in the face.
Your inbox says you have 27 unread messages waiting for your response. You know for a fact there are some important ones but you don’t care. It can wait until tomorrow.
Or can it?
Does procrastination have a dominant position in your daily life cycle? If so, then you’re just like the millions of people who deal with the same issue. Unless you’re some sort of cyborg freaky-madness with slightly parted hair, pocket protectors and a tucked shirt who never puts things off until the last minute, then you’re just human and that’s okay.
Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. – Wayne Gretzky
At a surface level, it seems awesome. Sitting around all day in your underwear, eating Cheetos and playing Super Smash Brothers all while not accomplishing a single thing, until tomorrow that is. That’s the life, but not really. Procrastination has a way of affecting your mind and poisoning your “justdothefreakingthing” receptors.
Yes, I said the “justdothefreakingthing” receptors. These are the microscopic holes in your brain that magically release a chemical which allows you to see reality for what it actually is and push forward on the task you’ve been sending to the back seat of your brain.
Ok, I might be full of crap but..
Procrastination has this way of making you feel like you’re acting in a totally logical manner by telling your subconscious that “I’m just resting” or “taking healthy time away from work”. If you could see from an outside perspective, you’d realize that you’re not thinking straight.
Procrastination can affect different areas of your life in different ways. It can wreak havoc on your business or potentially disrupt your mental health with destructive patterns and a snowball effect of emotions that can quickly entrap you.
It’s real and dangerous but what can we do about it?
Some Practical Steps
I’ve taken time to gather my thoughts and put together a list of seven ways to keep your “justdothefreakingthing” receptors in full working order so that you’ll have the strength to push through and complete the tasks you’ve been working against.
Recognize Procrastination and Stop It At The Source.
One thing that’s always helpful is to see procrastination as it starts to creep in and catch it early. Doing this will help you put a stop to it and move on before it has a chance to spread like a virus. Procrastination is tricky and catching it early is a great way to push through.
Work on a Different Task That’s Equally as Beneficial.
Sometimes, stepping away from the task is the best way to handle the situation. This will allow you to focus on another aspect of your work while your appetite for the task that’s giving you trouble has a chance to grow. This method can only work if you’re not under an intense deadline.
Get an Accountability Partner.
Social pressure means a lot for some people. Getting a partner to help you through these particular moments can mean the success of the task at hand. Just the idea of having someone push you might help give the necessary energy and drive that you need.
Set a Deadline With Your Accountability Partner.
Another great way of using your accountability partner to their fullest potential is to set a deadline. Nothing will motivate you more than the possibility of your partner becoming slightly angry or even disappointed by your failure to produce at an agreed upon date.
Think About Tomorrow and How Your Tasks are Piling Up.
Another great way to motivate yourself past the procrastination is by thinking through the consequences of your actions and how tomorrow will be much more difficult because you decided not to work today.
Take a Vacation.
If you find yourself frequently procrastinating, then there’s probably an underlying cause. It could be a number of things, most of which can be solved by taking some scheduled time away from your work. Sometimes, it’s necessary to go away and free your mind of the stress that comes along with your daily task list. This can be healthy in the proper setting.
Don’t Get Burned Out.
I mentioned previously that there might be an underlying cause to your procrastination. The fact is, you might just be burned out. Becoming burned out with your work can be somewhat detrimental to not only your mental health but also the overall happiness of your family. Protect yourself from burn out at all cost.
Procrastination can be a dangerous thing, not only for you but the people around you. Think heavily on this and the many consequences that could come from a life of self inflicted ignorance on the importance of your daily tasks. Everyone is different so finding a method that works for you is a very important step in controlling your “justdothefreakingthing” receptors.
Matt Boyd is co-founder of Sqwiggle, an app designed to make remote working a more collaborative experience. Follow him and his journey as a remote worker, productivity blogger and distributed team builder at his blog http://blog.sqwiggle.com or on Twitter.