I work with this amazing woman, we'll call her Melissa, who says she's a horrible procrastinator.
The story she tells herself about herself is that she's someone who puts things off until the last minute. She says she succumbs to every little distraction, and that she wastes time on things that don't really need doing (like organizing her desk for the thousandth time) to avoid doing the important things (like finishing her latest work project).
I know many of you can relate because you've shared that you also put off doing your work by…
Taking personal calls in the middle of your working hours.
Deciding you're too tired and just need to nap.
Scrolling social media for hours on end.
Deciding the house really needs to be cleaned before you can do anything else.
Then the end of the day comes or your deadline arrives and you realize you haven't completed the work you set out to do.
You know procrastinating is a problem – and like Melissa, you may be looking for a way to solve it so it doesn't affect your work and productivity so much. That's why I'm going to share the simplest solution I have in my toolbox today: You need to stop calling yourself a procrastinator.
Because the biggest issue you have is that you believe you're a procrastinator. And because you believe it, you allow yourself to do things that prove that label true again and again and again. You procrastinate, and then think well, that's just me being me so you never break the pattern.
Don't worry. You can do something about this – and it doesn't require 7 steps or excessive willpower either. Instead, you need to flip the switch and find a new belief to focus on when you find yourself going down the path of procrastination.
Call it a mantra, call it a new thought to think. What you're looking for is a simple statement that gets you thinking and acting like you're the kind of person who gets work done, not the kind of person who procrastinates doing the work.
Here are a few options that could work for you…
I don't procrastinate.
I don't get distracted.
I get shit done.
I do things today, not tomorrow.
I'm choosing to take action, not delay it.
Adopt one of these statements, or create your own. Then once you've found a belief that resonates, use it. Say it out loud when you catch yourself indulging in procrastination. Put it on a sticky note and post it on your computer monitor as a subtle reminder. Write it on your bathroom mirror where you'll see it every day.
If you can do this, you'll slowly start to believe that you're the kind of person who gets stuff done, not the kind of person who procrastinates. And as you take the actions that prove your new thought to be true, your trust in it – and belief that you're a person who has overcome the tendency to procrastinate – will grow stronger.
P.S. When it comes to beating procrastination, changing your beliefs is key. But it never hurts to have some practical support too, which is what you'll find inside my FREE guide 3 Steps to Simplify Your To-Do List. To download a copy of the guide and learn how I use my to-do list to keep me focused and productive, just CLICK HERE.