3 Questions You Need to Answer to Stop Procrastinating Today
Procrastination. Who does that? Definitely not me. But, for those of you out there who may be struggling to find the will to finish that task or project looming overhead, here are three questions that should help get your procrastinatin’ (definitely a word) butt in gear.
As we go through these questions, we’ll need an example. Totally hypothetical, but let’s imagine that I have been procrastinating on writing this post. It’s 6pm on a Friday night, and I’ve been putting off the post I need to write all day with eating, Instagram, and a totally unnecessary trip to Home Depot. Hypothetically speaking.
There are three questions I like to ask myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the thought of a certain task. I’ve found working through my answers to these questions often gives me the perspective and motivation I need to push forward and get stuff done. For best results, take out a pen and paper and physically write down your answers. It’s easier to process, and the physical act feels like you’re taking taking action to complete the task at hand. (And you are!)
Question #1: Why am I doing this thing?
Why is this dreadful task on your to-do list anyway? This may seem silly to ask, but remind yourself why you wanted to accomplish this thing in the first place. You probably had some good reasons - like maybe keeping your job.
In my case - I want to write this post because I’ve committed to writing regularly, and I want to accomplish my goals of helping people get unstuck in life and furthering the success of my site, alifesofull.com.
Question #2: How does it make me feel to not have this thing done?
When we procrastinate and put something off, for some reason we feel like not doing it will be less painful than actually doing it. In reality, though, procrastination usually causes us more grief. Sometimes this grief just feels like an amorphous cloud of bad. It’s really hard to wrap your head around that kind of feeling unless you are intentional about pinpointing it. Which brings us to question number two.
For me - Not having this post written makes me feel anxious, burdened, unproductive, lazy, and like I’m derailing myself from my plans and goals. That’s a big cloud o’ bad.
Question #3: How will I feel when this thing is done?
Once you have a grasp on how procrastinating has made you feel, write down how you will feel when the task is complete. Duh, right? It will help, I promise.
For me - When my post is written I will feel lighter, accomplished, relieved, productive, successful, and back on track to reach the goals I’ve set for myself.
Take a moment to sit and experience what it will feel like to cross this thing off your to-do list. Close your eyes and feel all the things you just wrote down. It feels good, right?!
All that stands between you and that good feeling is this little thing you’ve been putting off. It’s time to take action! If you find yourself getting distracted and resorting to your old procrastinatin’ ways, go back to the questions and the answers you wrote down. Remember why you’re doing this, how uncomfortable it is to not have it done, and how great you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished the thing. If you’re facing a huge daunting project, break it down into manageable tasks and run through the questions each step of the way. Every step is progress.
Why This Works
It’s so easy for us to build things up in our heads and kid ourselves into thinking not making progress is more comfortable than doing the stuff we know we need to do. In some cases, we even do this with things we really want to do! The mind is a powerful and mysterious thing. Practices like this that seek to understand what we’re really feeling and why help us become more self-aware and ultimately more successful at navigating life.
By taking time to sit and process what we’re feeling, why, and how we want to feel instead, we are able to gain clarity, get perspective, and make better decisions. It may seem obvious, but these three little questions have gotten me unstuck on numerous occasions. Give them a try next time you find yourself putting that task off for later.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go cross something off my to-do list.