3 Ways To Bust Through Procrastination

May 16, 2019

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski.]

More often than not we procrastinate when we’re afraid of an outcome. That’s why we can go and go and go, but when the end is in sight, we slow down; are we ready for what’s to come? Even when we’re excited about an outcome, there’s always a level of uncertainty, a chance things won’t go the way we planned them.

Those what-if’s can paralyze us, am I right? Yet, somehow, it’s at these times we manage to organize our refrigerator, write that thank you note to Aunt Gladys for last year’s Christmas gift, and scrub the bathroom floor – anything but finish what we need to finish. 

Here are three tips to help get you moving again and focused on what you need to be focused on: 

1. Break down what you have left to do into micro tasks.

As an example, on today’s agenda, you’ve got to finish a video and upload it on YouTube. All you needed to do was finish editing the video – everything else was done. Your ‘To-Do List’ read: “Finish editing video”, and it mocked you as the minutes and hours went by and your anxiety continued to rise.

So break it down. The list now becomes:

            – Format volume

            – Decide between takes 1 & 3 for section 2

            – Add title frames to at the 0:30 mark

            – And so on…

The tasks become more digestible and you can start to barter with yourself. “Ok knock off the title sequence, and then go have a snack and watch Last Week Tonight.”

What will end up happening is you’ll get so engulfed in the work you won’t need a break as soon as you think and you’ll most likely end up checking off a lot of those micro tasks in one sitting, it’s all about getting the ball rolling.

2. Face your fears.

We are paralyzed by fear. Once we face our fears, there’s nothing left to do but the work. So face your worries head-on.

Some people choose to write out their fears, or talk it out with someone. You could also go to your bathroom mirror, look yourself in the face and start talking.

“What if no one watches this video?”

“What if I realized I messed up in the video, I don’t have time to re-film?”

“What if someone else out there uploads something similar and it is more successful?”

Ok, well if no one watched a video you posted, you’d go back to the drawing board and see what could have done better to give people what they wanted or simply learn how to promote it better. You have plenty in you to share, after all, you’re building a career out of being creative and sharing your message, no?

If you’re not happy with the video when you’re done you have a choice to make – is it really as bad as you say it is, or is ‘done’ better than perfect and it’s worth posting so you have content to share while you get back to it and make a new one for next time? Either way, you won’t know until it’s done, and no matter what decision you make at the end, neither one is catastrophic. The world will keep turning and you’ll move forward knowing whether or not the video was up to par or not, rather than just assuming it won’t be.

Learning experiences are never wasteful. If the video turned out not to be your best work, it is what it is. It’s better that you tried and learned something rather than continued to sit in fear never knowing what needed to be improved for next time. Alright, well then no more excuses – after a good powder room pep talk it’s easier to get to work knowing none of your fears are truly that bad.

3. Set up an awesome reward for yourself.

It may seem silly but it works, especially when you’ve stuck to denying yourself something when you don’t reach your deadlines. Did you ever get grounded as a teen? Then there was a party you really wanted to go to and your parents were all, “Not until you finish all your chores.”

Was I the only one who grew up like Cinderella?

Now when friends call me to go out and I don’t have my work done, I ground myself. This way when I know there’s an outing I don’t want to miss I am motivated to work and remind myself how great it’ll feel when I can go out, without being stressed my work is sitting there waiting for me. The real reward is a guilt-free outing.

And the rewards you set don’t have to be big to be effective.

Get in the habit of celebrating your small wins, something even better to do with an ‘accountability buddy’. When there’s a daunting task to be completed or if you’re doing something that’s a bit out of your comfort zone break it down and then assign a reward to finishing each piece.

Maybe it’s a dance party in your room when part one is done and you can stay accountable by sending it to your friend or sharing it with your followers online. Maybe it’s talking a walk to the Starbucks on your corner and treating yourself to your favorite Frappachino.

Documenting your progress online is also not only a great way to stay accountable but also a way to let your fans into your process, allowing you to promote what you’re working on in an authentic and natural way.

Remind yourself that you’ve already accomplished a lot so far that at one point had felt like too much. Keep going. Let us know in the comments if these tips help you, or if you have your own solutions that work!

Tags: featuring procrastination