Procrastination is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. Keep reading to find out how to overcome procrastination, get going and get stuff done!
I’ve been meaning to write a post about procrastination for some time but keep putting it off!! But seriously, it is so easy to put things off, especially where housework is concerned. Whether it’s the dishes that need done, the laundry that needs folding or just that old pen that needs thrown out – it’s very compelling to say ‘I’ll get to that later’. But as any procrastinator knows, getting to it later is not the best solution. Later means you waste time scrubbing plates that could have been rinsed, rewashing laundry, or getting frustrated at all the pens you have that don’t work! This all adds up to a whole lot of bad time management, a lack of productivity and feeling like you’ve been busy all day but got nothing done. It’s time to learn how to overcome procrastination.
Result of Procrastination
There are so many times when I get frustrated because a task I have been putting off has to be done NOW (and I’m rushed for time). Or a task has become bigger because I didn’t just get it done quickly when I first noticed or decided that it needed to be done.
I then get overwhelmed because I now have more to do. Bad productivity.
I end up angry with myself for not doing it sooner. Bad time management.
This leads to low self-esteem and a lack of motivation to do more tasks.
Which takes my right back to the beginning of the procrastination cycle.
So why do I do it?
In order to tackle our procrastination we need to identify what is stopping us from doing the task. There could be a number of reasons. I found a great list from Jacqueline Sinfield at Untapped Brilliance, and have added a few of my own.
Fear of evaluation
Fear is a big thing that holds us back. This could be fear of what other people will think, fear of failure, or even fear of success. I realised recently that I have a fear of taking the initiative. I’m sure this is a major player in my procrastination so I need to delve into that more. It feels safer to stay in the status quo – but of course it is not and I always realise this too late, but then make the same mistake again.
Facing a large task, a huge number of tasks, or even just making a decision can be very daunting. So I just put it off. The problem is the tasks just get bigger.
Lack of Motivation
Housework is not very motivating at the best of times. We know the children will just mess up the room as soon as we have tidied it; the dishes will need washed again in a few hours; we are back in the laundry folding washing AGAIN.
Laziness and lack of energy
Sometimes my procrastination is just down to plain laziness and a lack of energy. When I sit down at the end of a busy day, after a disturbed sleep the night before due to the children, I’m inclined to just leave any task I then remember about.
So what can I do about it?
How to overcome procrastination
JUST DO IT
Many household tasks only take a few minutes, so just get it done when you notice it.
For example, when you see something that needs to be put away – do it now. Not every task needs to be made into a big job that has to be carefully planned and will take a long time.
For example, I’ve seen many decluttering instructions which suggest emptying everything out and sorting everything into boxes. This system can be quite daunting as you will have a bigger mess before you are finished, especially if you have young children who will get in the way and distract you. I love the alternative approach from A Slob Comes Clean, where you just pick up one item at a time and put it away.
Give yourself five minutes and see how productive you can be. You might be surprised at what you have achieved, and may then continue longer. You will also be more inclined to tackle the task the next time when you realise it doesn’t take as long as you think.
Do a large or unpleasant task first
Tackling a major or unpleasant task first, and seeing it successfully through to completion psychologically creates a natural high with increased energy levels, enthusiasm and raised self-esteem. Energy combined with stamina and determination enables you not only to start on your tasks and carry them to completion but also to do them well. Exploring Womanhood
Have a WRITTEN Plan
Set up daily habits.
If you are doing something regularly then you are less likely to procrastinate. Having a daily routine and weekly schedule are some of the best tools to help with productivity as you don’t need to stop and make a decision. You just follow the habit or schedule. As you do these tasks regularly the job becomes easier and you are less likely to get overwhelmed.
If you are a subscriber to The Fruitful Homemaker you can download my printable schedules from my Freebies page. Not a subscriber? Simply fill in the box below and you are on your way!
Here are some more posts to read about setting up routines:
Keep a journal or To Do List
If the task isn’t part of your daily or weekly schedule and can’t be done immediately, then add it to a list for later. I’ve never been very good at keeping a journal and would only occasionally write a To Do list if my day was going to be really busy. However, I came across the Bullet Journal system about 6 months ago and have never looked back! I now write in it every day and it is great for keeping me on tracking and helping me to remember things.
I’ve also just started using The Organized Life Planner which is great at keeping me organized with my priorities, routines and habits.
OneNote is really helpful for all those little things you want to take note of throughout the day.
Break a large project down into smaller tasks
If you write a large project, like ‘Decorate the kid’s room’ in your To Do List it will probably just keep getting put off as it looks so overwhelming. However, if you write ‘make a folder to collect ideas for kid’s room’ then you are more likely to get started on the project and then move on to the next step.
Make a checklist of all the little tasks involved. Not only will you not have to make decisions about what needs to be done, you will be encouraged and motivated to continue as you tick items off. I find Asana really great for this as I can assign subtasks within a task and can have a whole lot of tasks assigned without having to rewrite or take up space in notebooks.
Here’s a great way to keep track of your projects and keep them moving along – my simple project planning board.
Set yourself a Challenge
Make it into a game by setting a time limit or a number of items to be decluttered. You could get the children involved in this too and show them that work can be fun.
When you feel like putting something off tell yourself that you can have or do something pleasant when you have completed the task – whatever works for you.
Improve the Environment
You won’t want to work if the environment is a turn-off. Make sure the room is not too hot or cold, play music, listen to a podcast, put up pictures to motivate and encourage you.
Think of the big picture
If the task seems mundane, like doing the laundry, think about the greater benefits of getting it done – like everyone having clean clothes.
Don’t over think things
You will make it into a big job where you will worry about failure.
Here are some more resources I found helpful.
Why Procrastinators Procrastinate from Wait but Why
7 Common Causes and Proven Cures for Procrastination from Marc and Angel Hack Life.
Tackling Procrastination from Clean and Scentsible
Self-Discipline with housework from A Virtuous Woman
7 Ways to Beat Blogging Procrastination from Blogging Tool Kits
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Now – time to fold the laundry!
Do you have any further tips for how to overcome procrastination?
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