More tips on how to stop procrastinating

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Last week’s productive writing post focused on how to stop procrastinating. Today, you can pick up even more tips for dealing with this determined beast…

By Ann Gomez

Procrastination comes at a cost. It lowers our work quality, increases our stress, and strains our relationships. And yet we’re all guilty of it. There are several psychological reasons behind procrastination (and in my most recent post, I shared practical strategies you can use to put a stop to it), but a lack of confidence is often the root cause.

Here are three ways you can build your confidence,stop procrastinating and move forward with your goals.

1-Visualize success

There is great power in visualization. We need to picture a desired outcome in our minds before we can create it in reality. So, before you work, visualize yourself producing a captivating paper or a best-selling book. Focusing on this finish line will help you push through barriers.

Here’s an example of the power of visualization. Until 25-year-old Roger Bannister ran the world’s first four-minute mile in 1954, no one believed anyone could run that fast. Yet within weeks of Bannister’s feat, other runners beat his record and, over the next few years, continued to do so. Bannister helped others visualize what was possible for themselves. Of course, they were all capable of success, but having Bannister show the possibility of achievement was critical to helping them break through their own mental barriers and achieve the same goal.

2-Silence your inner critic

We also want to silence our inner critic, who is often far too harsh. Or, as Brené Brown says, “Talk to yourself like someone you love.” We know we can be our own worst critics. The next time you think, “I can’t do this,” try to reframe that thought to, “I can’t do this – yet.” The truth is, you can do (almost) anything you set your time and energy toward. But the stories we tell ourselves have a profound impact on who we are. Consider the power of your thoughts and the words you use.

If you find yourself saying, “I’m nervous” before taking on a big assignment, recognize that the way your body feels when it’s excited is the same way it feels when you are nervous. Researchers have repeatedly found that when they encourage experimental subjects to reinterpret nervousness as excitement, they perform better. “I’m excited,” is a much more empowering story.

3-Consider probabilities – not possibilities

It’s natural to worry about worst-case scenarios. But it’s important to check our perspective. Many outcomes are always possible, but how likely are they to happen? Only allow yourself to invest your energy in events that are probable, not possible. Yes, you may make a few mistakes along the way. Try to roll with things as they happen. Focus on what you can control and don’t catastrophize.

When you lean into an empowering mindset, you’ll build your confidence and reach your finish line faster, much like Bannister and all the runners who followed him.

For more strategies you can use to set yourself up for success, see Ann’s latest book, Workday Warrior: A Proven Path to Reclaiming Your Time, published by Dundurn Press, 2022.

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