3 Ways I Approach Goals to Combat Procrastination
Feeling unaccomplished or overwhelmed even after completing what seems like hundreds of tasks? What looks productive from the outside, may in fact be subconscious avoidance behavior indicative of a procrastinator. This was me, and now I’m sharing the 3 ways I approach goals to combat procrastination.
Now, let’s unpack this idea further by defining what procrastination is, what are some of it’s common traits, and what tips you can apply to help you effectively get out of your own way and reach your personal goals.
What is a Procrastinator?
Procrastinators are often people who unnecessarily delay actions or decisions and develop counterproductive habits and methods to distract themselves from priority tasks usually intended for personal development. A procrastinator may appear busy in their day to day, but when it comes to their personal goals and aspiration, there are many roadblocks they encounter. Some of which may be self-imposed. Overtime, if this becomes practiced behavior, it can lead to more concerning issues that not only affect your physical health but also your mental.
This was me!
However, I didn’t realize it until I started identifying habit forming traits that were not only counterproductive but also unbeknownst to me, quietly feeding a mild depression.
Let’s all face it, procrastination is something we are all challenged with at some point in our life, so don’t feel alone. Nonetheless, we must understand that it is a chosen behavior we can ultimately change with more in depth awareness of self. Our quest today is simply to understand why we might chose to continue to put off things until tomorrow that we can accomplish today and what we can do to combat those negative choices.
Common behavioral Traits a Procrastinator may display:
- Lack of Time and Vision
Procrastinators often make common excuses that they don’t have enough time or an unclear direction for their future. When people cannot process the outcomes and benefits of completing specific goals, they don’t work towards them.
- Lack of Organization and Easily Distracted
Procrastinators often don’t keep a schedule of their tasks, forget, and never meet their deadlines. Moreover, external factors including technology and the social media era makes it even more challenging to stay focused on our goals.
- Unnecessary To-Do List and Lack of Prioritization
Procrastinators often set way too ambitious goals or have too many tasks to complete on their to-do list. They are also unable to eliminate the nonessential functions to focus on the important ones. People set tons of goals to achieve in a short period, and by the end, they don’t have something valuable to mark as completed on their list.
- Postpone Completing the Goals
Sometimes, you might find the motivation to work on your goals and make progress towards personal development. But, you tend to lose momentum and not reach the finishing line of the plan you started.
Common personality traits procrastinators may share:
- Low conscientiousness
Lack of discipline, structure, organization, and achievement-oriented behavior. On the upside, people that exude low conscientiousness are often more flexible to change and on-call demands.
- Impulsive Behavior
Acting on a sudden desire without any planning and consequences of one’s actions.
- Low Self-efficacy
Procrastinators often believe that specific goals are challenging for them to achieve no matter the push or pull.
- Low Self-esteem
Procrastinators often believe that they cannot perform tasks, are inadequate, and cannot achieve goals promptly.
Identifying the 3 types of Procrastinators:
The above behavioral and personality traits are just some commonalities I have identified and read about but doing your own research you may discover more. Nonetheless, when you start recognizing any of these traits, it important to reflect and gain some insight on possible triggering experiences.
By assessing your personal experiences, you might find clarity to determine what’s triggering your “procrastinator type“. For example, someone who may have been scorned with judgement for not accomplishing something may fall into a avoidant procrastinator. They tend to avoid task-oriented goals for fear of being judged or self-criticized. Another type is a perfectionist which would fall into the category of decisional procrastinator. They generally struggle with indecisiveness, commitment, missing or losing out and have trouble deciding how prioritize what’s important or significant. The last type are often considered impulsive and are described as arousal procrastinators. They purposely avoid tasks until the last minute and get a “thrill” out of working under pressure or panic.
How I combat procrastination
To me, all of the above have a lot to do with a Limiting, Negative and Fixed Mindset. This type of mindset, ultimately hinders us from achieving our life’s design. I am no expert on the topic, but I do feel compelled to share my experience and insight with women like myself who may be struggling with procrastination. The following approaches are broad enough to put into practice when you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed working towards your passions and aspirations. If you are dealing with deeper, more emotional traumas, please seek the help you need to overcome those issues first. Ultimately, there are so many methods and approaches you can employ to take back control of your life, become more self aware of the roadblocks in your way and empower you. I am just sharing what’s helped me so far on my creativepreneurial journey.
One of the most trivial reasons people cannot reach their goals is that they set unclear, overly ambitious goals, and/or don’t have a system or process in place. Before trying this approach, it would be beneficial to determine if you are a task-oriented or goal-oriented type of person.
Do you excel at checking things off your To-do list and meeting short deadlines or are you more focused on fluid strategies and plans to see the vision through and through? Knowing this, will help bring out your strengths when implementing the SMART process. This is a tried and true strategy talked about and used by many people who have shared their success story.
Here’s how it goes:
Specific – Write your goals in clear, understandable, particular statements that comes from a positive mindset. Think of it as a goal affirmation. Let me give you an example. When I want to complete a blog post for my brand, I write my goal as ‘I will write 300 words each day until completion.’ I make sure to avoid vague and ambiguous statements that may impact me emotionally.
Measurable – I develop a strategy to measure the goal, and it helps me feel control over the situation with lower chances of being overwhelmed. I attach a time frame to the specific purpose, as I will work on the blog post for one hour or using the Pomodoro technique and I will do it in the early morning or when I feel more clear-minded and productive.
Attainable – When I set goals, it is important that every aspect is in control and doesn’t depend on something outside my control. When I need some research first I give myself enough time to factor in that time as well as to look for inspiration.
Realistic – It is important that you are real and ambitious about the goal. I always try my best to set achievable goals. I would choose to work on 300 words for 1 hour instead of 1000 words in an hour because it lacks a realistic approach.
Time-oriented – I love brain dumping and writing down tasks in my Notion app. Read more about my Notion set up and why it’s a game changer. It doesn’t mean I have to complete them all in one day but, it helps me draw a clear and specific vision of how to prioritize my time each day. Often, I have the challenge to avoid distractions from social media marketing, work related demands outside my brand and of course the day to day life working at home with a whole husband and dog. So if I set time frames for when important tasks need to be done, I don’t feel overwhelmed when the day is done when it’s time for self care and quality time.
Over time, I have been developing a better daily routine that suits me well to work on specific projects. I often finish my simple and easy tasks by the early am before everyone is up. I then try and break for my day self care routine and after a much needed workout or nap, I can reset and set aside time in the evening to work on creative tasks for my personal brands. The most important concept to keep in mind, is that the goal is not necessarily the focus, the focus should be on the approach you have in place to facilitate reaching the goal. If you don’t form productive habits within your approach, your goals will never be met.
But, what if you tried the SMART process and still struggle to stay motivated? Here’s where the second approach has helped me get over the hump simply by rewarding myself when I’ve set and reached small milestones.
People tend to procrastinate when they feel overwhelmed with not just tasks, but life in general and never let up to reward themselves for their hard work . I’m here to tell you, take a break and reward yourself often more than not. Celebrating the small accomplishments counts for more than reaching the goal itself. The psychological affect it has on your performance motivates you to build momentum. Once you have momentum, you can become unstoppable.
However, if you find yourself punishing yourself (self-sabotage, self-judgement, etc), more than embracing, celebrating and rewarding yourself and what you are learning and experiencing, it may be time to completely halt everything and withdraw from all life’s pressures to release and reset. Some people in the social media space may refer to this as a self care break.
Release & Reset
It is essential to take self-care breaks from your activities and focus on your physical and mental health. Sometimes, the reward is only effective when you feel balanced in your mind, body and spirit. Imbalance can affect all of us for the various reasons with or without realizing our life is out of sync. When I feel out of alignment, it’s usually time for me to dig a little deeper and unpack and manage my emotions.
I recall a time in my life about a year ago becoming so overwhelmed with life that I felt compelled to just stop everything I had been working on or working towards and just run away. I was experiencing so much anxiety because I seemed to fail at always trying to meet these high standards I set for myself. I was always creating this unnecessary pressure to meet my own deadlines under super tight, super limiting constraints and I don’t even know why. Even though everyday I woke up, I was at my desk for long hours, it was never enough time to get things done and I didn’t have the team or finances to delegate. It was at a time in my life where although I was extremely ambitious, I lacked the tools and know-how so every endeavor seem to come with a huge learning curve.
I say all that to say, I needed to release and reset, then reward myself for any accomplishment big or small which helped me build momentum to work SMARTER, not harder. One thing that truly helped me was doing the internal work and writing down my thoughts to help me unpack and manage my emotions. This was encouraging and reassuring because it helped me recognize what was causing my anxiety and fears and helped me learn to accept that life is intrinsically full of uncertainties.
This time around, instead of going to the computer I decided to turn off the computer and create and publish a journal that I could write in and associate every emotion I was feeling from my experiences and thoughts. It was then I discovered how much of my distress was associated with technology. Using it daily was adding to the pressures of life and I needed a break from that too.
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Now, anytime, I feel like I am feeling overwhelmed or in my feelings, I shut down all my technology and electronics, go somewhere peaceful and pull out my Attitude of Gratitude Journal.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and if you’ve tried any of these approaches. In the meantime, feel free to grab a copy of my journal, available now on Amazon.