I’ve had the idea to write this blog for a long time, so I guess that makes me no expert on the topic, however I have much experience with procrastination and have learned how detrimental it is to overall success. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to keep putting things off for the future and, as we all know, the future is not guaranteed. I could have died yesterday and then this blog would have never been written. See what I mean?
Just as easy as it is to put things off, also known as procrastinating, it’s just as easy to do the thing that you need to do. It comes down to the decision you make in that moment, it’s simple, you either do it or you don’t. When you don’t and you continually repeat that behavior then you never get anything done, and that’s when you become known to your friends and family as a procrastinator. However, in that same moment, if you decide that you are going to do it and then you get to work on whatever it is and you keep repeating that behavior, that’s when all the things you wanted to do start getting done. If I want to start waking up early to exercise but every morning when my alarm goes off I hit snooze, and then hit it 3 more times, eventually I run out of time to workout and I have to leave for work- and as most procrastinators say, “I’ll wake up early tomorrow and workout.” Then they go about their day the same way they have been for the last 5 years. Then what happens? Tomorrow comes and they repeat the same behavior, caught in the vicious cycle of procrastinating and never really advancing with their goals, and they wonder why they feel depressed.
Procrastination isn’t an easy habit to change but it’s important to start recognizing the responsibilities in your life that you tend to put off until “the mood feels right” so in that same scenario you can set yourself up for success. If I’m aware that every time my alarm goes off I automatically hit the snooze button then I could try setting multiple alarms and putting my alarm out of arms reach so I have to physically get out of bed to turn it off, then once I’m up that’s half the battle. I’m a step closer to exercising today than I was yesterday. Whatever it is that you’re trying to do, just start by committing to do it for 5 minutes, research shows that you’re likely to keep going once you get started. Instead of setting out to read an entire chapter in a book just start out with the goal of reading for five minutes, instead of setting out to run a mile just start out with the goal of running for five minutes, instead of setting out to clean your entire house just start out with the goal of cleaning for five minutes.
The 5 minute trick won’t magically solve your problem with procrastination (I got side tracked several times while I was writing this), but what it does do is get you to take action and over time all of those actions start to build on each other and you’re closer to your goals than you were yesterday. Before you know it, you’ve finished the book, started running 2 miles, and your house is always clean. By committing to five minutes, you started building a habit of “taking action” instead of “waiting.” If you’re always waiting, nothing ever gets done so don’t delay anymore, find something today that you need to get done and spend 5 minutes on it… that’s how this blog got finished. 😉