5 Steps to Overcome Procrastination and Take Action


Do you procrastinate and often find a myriad of excuses as to why you have not got things done?

Do you procrastinate and often find a myriad of excuses as to why you have not got things done?

Do you feel overwhelmed with the many things you have on your “to do” list and wonder how you will ever get started doing them let alone get them all done.

Many people blame a lack of time as the reason why they do not get things completed on their list. Granted, time is precious and there are many demands on all of us. However, sometimes the size of the list can often be the biggest reason why people do not get things done. They just don’t know where to start. What I have outlined are 5 simple steps that can help you tackle some of your list? So let’s begin.

Think about your list of things you need to get done in the next week. Take one of the items on your list and let’s work with it.
For example maybe one of the items on your list involves: sorting through summer clothes and shifting to winter wear. You may have the task as “sort through my clothes and get rid of what does not fit me, look good or feel good anymore”. Perhaps you have put this off for a couple of seasons and now the task feels stressful and overwhelming.

1) Make a plan as to how you will approach the project. Are there things on the list that naturally work together e.g. sorting through drawers, closets, doing laundry, throwing out worn out items, recycling clothes to the Mission. Taking the time to get clarity on what needs to get done will often make it easier to figure how to get it done.

2) Break the parts of your list into 5, 10, 20 or 30 minute segments. Go through your list and make a “ball park” estimate as to how much time it will take you to get small segments done. Maybe you have a chest of drawers that you want to sort through? Will each drawer take you 15 minutes or 30 minutes? Go through your plan identified in #1 and figure out how much time each part will take you (roughly). Now you can attack the project in bits.

3) Identify any emotions you have about completing the task at hand. This is a very important part. A lot of people have some emotion attached to the project they need to get completed and these emotions may be getting in the way of getting the work done. Are there some negative memories associated with the clothes or do the clothes bring up negative feelings about yourself or others?

Name the feelings that you feel about the task. For example: “These clothes remind me when I was in good shape and I was taking much better care of myself, I do not want to sort them out because it makes me feel like a failure because I have gained weight”. Another negative emotion may be: “I wore these clothes when I was working at ___ and I got so burnt out working there, I cannot bear the idea of looking at them again”. By acknowledging that there are negative, unpleasant feelings associated with the clothes you bring awareness to this emotion which you can then deal with. Once you have recognized the emotion, you may want to ask yourself:

"What can I do right now to help clear this emotion”? Sometimes just identifying that you are angry, frustrated or unhappy can be enough to clear the emotion and help you to move on.

4) Set the intention to do one segment per day? Perhaps you estimate that the entire project will take you about 6 hours to do. When you complete small segments over the course of a week, it is often feasible that you can do 6 hours of work broken up into small pieces over the whole week.

Can you commit to one segment a day –
When you find that you have time in a day to do one of your segments –
Breathe, get to work, set the timer, when timer goes off, breathe

5) Celebrate!!! It is so important to celebrate your accomplishments however small. If you have set the intention to do small segments throughout the day when you have time and you have done that even once then celebrate. It is amazing how many people do not give themselves credit for the work that they have done because the project is not yet complete. This can often leave one feeling like “they are never enough”. The celebration may be as simple as saying to yourself – “wow, I committed to taking 5 minutes and getting one thing done and I did it”. What often happens when we take the time to celebrate we want to continue to do more of the same. So make sure you celebrate.

Taking Action means taking a step. Every one of the steps outlined above is important. Don’t skip any of these steps. The reality is with a plan that outlines workable steps and has the right blend of awareness, intention and celebration anything is possible. Good luck with your projects

Gerrianne Clare,

Family Guidance System


This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.