“Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.”
– Denis Waitley
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”
– David Allen
ACTION leads to MOTIVATION~ It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
Ask yourself: Honestly, what is realistically the worst that could happen? Take a couple of deep breaths to calm down your mind a bit. Then ask yourself this question.
You’ll realize that in most cases the worst thing that could realistically happen is not that bad. It may sting for a bit. But it is something you can handle. And it is a situation you can find something to do about if this worst case scenario were to happen.
Realize: you will stumble and that is OK. It happens to anyone who steps outside of his or her comfort zone. It has happened to everyone you may admire and who have lived a life that is inspiring.
It is simply a part of a life well lived. And if you reflect on what you can learn from a mistake then that will be invaluable to help you grow and improve.
Learn to set time-limits for small decisions at first. If you have trouble with overthinking then set a time-limit for when you have to make a decision. This might seem a bit scary though.
So start small and set a 30-60 second time-limit when trying to decide if you are going to work out or reply to an email. Do that for a while and then move on to slightly bigger decisions. And then even bigger ones after that.
Go small. Just ask yourself: what is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling with my goal/dream? Then take just that small action. And tomorrow or later on today you can do the same thing again. If that question still lands you in procrastination then ask yourself: What is one tiny step I can take to get the ball rolling?
Single-task each little step. Focus on just the one step you are taking. Nothing else. Otherwise it is easy to get lost in thought, to go off track or to feel uncomfortable or fearful. So keep your attention on just this one action and step forward.
And after that, the next one. Let these actions build day after day into something bigger. And before you know it you’ll have gone quite a distance on your journey.
Procrastination hindering you? Ten things you should know.
How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Timeless Tips
Below is one of my favorite tales written by a SMART volunteer named Charlie
DISARMing the Procrastination Weasel Revisited
There’s a voice… much like the Addictive Voice… trying to get you to procrastinate… this voice is the “Procrastination Weasel”. The Weasel represents your old collection of procrastination thoughts.
If you’ve been around SMART for a while, you’ve probably heard of the ‘Alcohol Salesman’ or ‘Enemy’ we talk about when using DISARM. The Procrastination Weasel is a close friend and ally of the Alcohol Salesman.
Instead of trying to sell you alcohol, the Procrastination Weasel wants to stop you from taking actions in your interest… and he isn’t satisfied until he’s robbed you of your money, health, and opportunities, made your house a mess, and has sunk you into depression. The Weasel’s mission is to take your self-efficacy, your self-acceptance, and waste your valuable time.
The Weasel is well-trained in how to affect you and is brutal in his tactics. He knows when to pop up and strike! Here’s a list of his tactics:
This is where the weasel pops up when you are set to take positive action and he creates an unwanted diversion. The result is playing video games, watching TV, daydreaming or another ‘safe’ activity. “Let’s do something else instead!” the Weasel will tell you, and instead of going to the gym and working out you comply and stare at the TV with a bag of Cheetos.
The Weasel can convince you some of these diversions are somehow more important because they are happening Now. “Untold Secrets of the Ancient Pyramids” is only on TV NOW… and this paperwork will be here all week!”
The weasel tells us lies about our capabilities to get his own way… “Forget it buddy!” the Weasel will say “You can’t do this!” This Weasel attack is aimed at your self-acceptance as well. The weasel rates you and tells you that you’re just not capable of carrying out the task.
The Weasel is a drama queen! With hand to forehead, the Weasel will tell you how awful your task is going to be. By the time the Weasel is done, a task as simple as washing the dishes becomes the Bataan Death March. The weasel’s tactics here include ‘warning’ you that you will be bored, threatened, and inconvenienced.
Another way the Weasel can awfulize a situation includes playing up the discomfort of telling someone else “no” to get a task accomplished. The Weasel will try to convince you that pleasing others is more important than your task.
Shouldn’t Have To
The Weasel is great at telling you when you shouldn’t have to do things. “You don’t deserve this!” the weasel will say, laying out an entitlement that allows you to avoid the task… even though it’s in your best self-interest!
Another version of this tactic is “The Excuse” where the Weasel coaches you into an alibi that seemingly absolves you of your responsibility and creates a false entitlement to justify the avoidance.
Later Is Better
Here’s where the Weasel convinces us that there’s no lack of pressure, therefore our interest is served in waiting.. and waiting.. and waiting again. “Relax! Conditions will be better later! There’s no reason to rush into this!” Here tasks are put off for another day… over and over.
The blitzkrieg tactic will try to convince you “It’s just too much!” The Weasel will pile one thing upon another until the tasks, including the old ones, appear insurmountable.
“It’s hopeless!” the Weasel whispers in your ear “so why bother?”
The following anti-Weasel tactics are aimed at reducing the effect this procrastinating pest has on your daily life.
Figure out how the weasel has been affecting you today. Write down the ways you been procrastinating and understand his game.
Battle Plan, Tactics, and Logistics
Create a reasonable mission statement and get your weapons ready for dealing with the Weasel. He’s a tough adversary, but he can be defeated! Here’s some anti-weasel tactics:
1. Create Clear Goals
The Weasel loves when our goals are not defined as it gives him the opportunity to flank us by telling us we aren’t achieving enough. Making clear goals allows us to accurately plot and measure our progress.
Don’t just have goals, work backwards from the goal you’d like to achieve and lay out a plan! If you’d like to achieve catching up on your paperwork at home, schedule time when you can start this task.
3. Anti-Weasel Chunking
Don’t give the Weasel the opportunity to do the blitzkrieg on you! Break tasks into smaller bits and pieces to prevent getting overwhelmed. Don’t insist that the entire task has to be done at once! Instead of “cleaning the house” as a task, start with one room, or simply schedule small amounts of time for these tasks.
Create a schedule whereby you can deal with re-curring tasks in an efficient manner. For instance, schedule time to do paperwork when you are least likely to be interrupted.
5. Use an Action List
The Weasel doesn’t want you to feel a sense of accomplishment! Create an action list that not only points to the tasks at hand, but allows you to record your successes!
6. Create Your Own Motivation
“Action Creates Motivation” is an anti-Weasel tool! Use the 15-minute tactic on the Weasel to get going… just get up and work on a task for 15 minutes… the activity will create your motivation. Break it into an even smaller time, say 5 minutes, if an all-out Weasel attack is occurring.
7. Pick a D-Day
Set a date and plan to declare war! Get all your goals, plans, and anti-weasel training in place… and decide when you are going to deploy!
8. Deal Effectively with Setbacks
The Weasel is a skilled enemy! Don’t believe you’ve lost the war if he wins a battle or two. Watch out that you don’t start believing his propaganda! Make adjustments to your plans and re-deploy.
9. Catch-Up and Keep-Up
Dedicate your resources to both catch-up and keep-up tasks. Try to deal with items as they come up rather than to have them end up in your catch-up pile.
10. Use Your SMART Weapons!
When the Weasel attacks your self-acceptance, your self-efficacy, or your motivation, use your SMART tools against him! ABC it, study USA, or lay out a CBA to help your resolve. Go to a SMART meeting and discuss it. Do whatever it takes to get your plans back in motion!
11. Practice, Patience, Persistence
Understand that defeating the Procrastination Weasel is a matter of practicing anti-Weasel techniques. The more you practice, the easier it becomes! Destroy the Weasel’s morale by being persistent in your fight… but be patient with yourself as you hone your battle skills.
12. DISARM the Weasel
HALT! Who goes there (in my thoughts)? OH! It’s YOU, Weasel! Take THIS!