How to Avoid Procrastination

Some top tips from Carole Ann Rice

Is there something in your life you keep putting off?  Do you find yourself needlessly surfing the net, watching Jeremy Kyle or eating direct from the fridge to avoid something?

Perhaps you are trying to ignore that difficult phone call, tacking your tax return or studying your last scary-looking bank statement?  It may seem like a good tactic to cross your fingers and hope it will go away but you know deep down doing the ostrich doesn’t get you any where.

Now remember back when you have been in a similar position before, you know that you will feel better, lighter, happier and liberated when the job is done.  So why is it then that we procrastinate when it’s better to get the job done?

Procrastination is fear-based behavior.  We start to build up a whole set of assumed negative outcomes before we even start the job. For example we might think the following:

  • It is going to be too difficult/will take a long time
  • It might be painful or make us feel bad about ourselves
  • It won’t be “perfect” so why bother?
  • What if we fail or are rejected?

These, we must remember, are just negative assumptions but our inner critic is having a field day.  Our negative internal dialogue is setting us up to fail; making us feel insecure, vulnerable and disabling our energy to the point of inertia, even depression.

But you can get out of the rut and into the groove.

Here are some of my top coaching tips I use to help my clients teleport themselves out of analysis paralysis and into action.

  • Start by setting yourself small time limits.  20 minutes dealing with the task then and a 5 minute break – tea, washing up, a walk – then start again.
  • Be accountable to someone – email or phone a friend or relative and show what you have accomplished.  Or better still hire a coach!
  • Build in small treats for work accomplished – a nice bath, phone a friend, a glass of wine in the evening
  • Do the tough stuff first. It then gets easier.
  • Keep to-do lists to 3 actionable things
  • Be realistic with timescales.  Don’t attempt to do a week’s work in a day
  • Ask yourself if you are stuck – is this better to do this in 1 hour or 20?
  • Don’t aim for perfection aim for progress
  • Remember obstacles you have overcome from the past.  You did it then you can do it now.
  • Imagine how good you’ll feel when you’ve done it!

Taking action means being responsible, facing up and being an “adult”.  Taking care of business may sometimes feel painful and onerous but when we confront the tough stuff and deal with it we grow and feel more in control.

In the words of the great Martin Luther King “Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step”.

Or as the more current soothsayer Nike would put it – “Just do it”.

If you would like further tips on procrastination or would like to book a 30 minute free trial session contact Carole Ann Rice

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Cover photo by: Emilie Ogez

Who is Alex Butler

Hello, I'm Alex Butler and I founded the KindredHQ community and blog back in 2011 after I re-started a freelance career. I LOVE freelancing and I wouldn't swop the freedom, control and joy of working for myself for anything. But I realised how much I missed the company and energy of other people - of having a team around me. So, I got a few people together one day with our laptops, a jar of coffee and some jelly babies and we sat and worked together one afternoon. We've been doing that every week in London, UK since then! I am still 100% freelance and I like to share the everyday highs and lows of being a freelancer here on the blog.

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