8 Ways to Slow Down The Procrastination Monkey

September 19

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Everyone procrastinates to some extent. There are always other things you could be doing. Shiny stuff you can look at, and other projects you can start. In fact, I sat down to write this post then immediately got back up to do something else. Procrastination at it’s best, ladies and gentlemen! Some call this the procrastination beast, some call it the procrastination monkey. Whatever it is, it loves shiny objects!


Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post or any other, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.

In a later post, I actually want to point out that sometimes procrastination can be useful. But for now, it’s undeniable that we live in a world full of shiny objects, which can be a real productivity killer!

I don’t think there is, or ever will be, a cure for procrastination. Feel free to correct me if you find it, though! So, the best thing we can do is recognise our procrastination for what it is then slow it down in the best way possible. Because let’s face it, if we allowed it run riot, it won’t be long before we’re typing “Britney Spears” into Youtube. And we all know there is no getting back from that one!

It may surprise you, but procrastination is often a way of coping with emotions that lead to stress. If we’re working on a project that is stressful, we will distract ourselves to avoid those feelings. Of course, this only brings temporary relief. The next day when find that no little fairy has done the work for you, the emotional stress returns. So, what can we do?

slow down the procrastination monkey

One of the biggest keys to procrastination is getting organised. Now, this might seem obvious. But it is incredible how many people procrastinate when trying to get organised. I include myself in this! This is often because we like to overcomplicate things.

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Make lists

Make lists but try to keep them realistic and straightforward. Include both small and the large things to do on these lists. The completion of little things could lead to significant accomplishments. In fact, if you have a big project, don’t even write the project on your to-do lists. Instead, write down all the smaller tasks that you need to complete for the project. This way, the big project won’t feel so daunting.

Tick things off

When you complete a task, mark it off. I love ticking things off to-do lists because it feels so good! Of course, it’s fun to watch your list grow shorter. But it is also surprising how this gives you a feeling of success and spurs you on to greater success.

Prioritise

Prioritise your lists. It is often a given that the most essential task is not always the most pleasant. This is why, given a choice, people would rather complete 10 meaningless tasks than one important task.

For example, paying bills that are due is more important than cleaning out a kitchen drawer. Yet, that drawer seems to get a lot of attention.

Each morning, set yourself three most important tasks, that you do first. Doing this will give you a morale boost and make you feel like you’re “on a roll”.

Slice up the pizza

You cannot eat a whole pizza in one mouthful, it is impossible. So, first you slice the pizza, then from each of those slices, you bite off manageable bites that you can easily chew.

The same process can be put in place for any goals or projects you’re working on. Take a step at a time and slice the pizza into smaller pieces. Before you know you've eaten the whole pizza.

It is said that the longest journey begins with the first step. Break down everything you do into smaller, manageable chunks. You’ll have less reason to procrastinate because you won't feel overwhelmed.

Manage your expectations

It is so important to have realistic expectations. If you have a large task that’s causing anxiety, it is pointless to expect you can magically tick this off your list. Instead, schedule time to do some of the smaller tasks related to the project. It will become much more manageable, and you won't be expecting too much of yourself.

Use a calendar or diary to list dates and appointments. Also use it to make sure you meet all deadlines for both short and long-term goals. Look at your schedule frequently and make sure you don’t overbook yourself. White space on your pages can bring a feeling of peace and relief.

Perfection doesn’t exist

Don’t believe you must do everything perfectly. You’re human, and humans make mistakes. Trying to be a perfectionist absolutely slows you down. There comes a point when you have to stop and be happy with good enough.

Nothing will ever be perfect. Take Apple for example. If my 2013 MacBook Air were perfect, a lot of people would be out of a job. It is not perfect, which is why there have been about 200 upgrades since I bought mine. Apple never strives for perfection. They strive for better than before

Start

Simply get started. Each day schedule time to work on the task at hand and eventually the task will be finished. But this cannot happen if you don’t start. I can think of many occasions when procrastination got the better of me because I felt a task would take too long. But actually, once I got started, I found it took no time at all. If you’ve been putting something off for a while, just start. The sooner it is done, the sooner you can stop feeling anxious about not doing it.

Give yourself time

Finally, give yourself adequate time to complete your task. Be flexible with yourself and don’t panic if you fall behind. If you need more time to finish, get it. And if you need help, always ask for help. So many projects never get done by feeling you’re the only one who can do it properly.

I’ve found that the procrastination monkey is more likely to appear when your time is short. It is also more likely to appear when you feel like it is all on you. Avoid these pressures by getting help and putting time on your side.

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Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post or any other, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.

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