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Links > Business Articles > Productivity >

The 6 P’s to Overcoming Procrastination

By: Kirsty O'Callaghan, Owner, Unity Words

You procrastinate when you put off things that you could be, or know you should be, focusing on right now - usually in favour of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you are more comfortable doing.

Putting off an unimportant task is not necessarily procrastination; it may just be good prioritisation! Or if you have a good reason for rescheduling something important, then you are not necessarily procrastinating. However, if you are just making an excuse because you really just do no want to do it, then you are procrastinating.

The key to taking back control is to recognise when you start procrastinating, understand why it happens and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better. To have a good chance of conquering procrastination, you need to be aware straight away that you are doing it. Then you can identify why you are procrastinating and take appropriate steps to overcome the block.

Here are six P's for creating a new habit of action rather than non-action or avoidance.

Pay off - Establish and brainstorm what are the great things that you will get once this is done. Why is it important to you?

People to tell and promise. Name your task and put a deadline on it, then tell someone or a group of people and promise to have it finished and ask for their support. This creates an atmosphere of accountability and is a psychological incentive for you to complete what you have been putting off.

Prepare and have a process. Prepare all that you need to get this task done and have a list, a diary and a process. What are you going to complete initially, and do you need to break it down into smaller tasks?

Pay attention. Be completely present with this task, no breaks, no interruptions and no distractions.

Practise - Just keep following this guide for all tasks you feel overwhelmed by or struggle to complete. You do not have to get it perfect, practise will allow you to create a new habit of work or task completion.

Praise and celebrate - Give yourself a big pat on the back and a reward each time you achieve your goal. This will encourage you to keep going forward.

A great action step is to aim to ‘eat an elephant beetle’ first thing every day. This means conquering your hardest, least desirable tasks first thing in the morning so you don't have to carry the load in your mind around with you all day.

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