“Study after study shows that when people think about their goals in terms of what would happen if things go wrong, they procrastinate less,” said Halvorson.
6. Have attainable goals.
Similar to prioritizing, assessing your resources carefully, including your time, and prior to starting a project, will help flesh out what’s realistic. I’ve learned that when I lay out what’s really needed in terms of materials, time, and cost, I’m able to then have a clearer vision of the project, which tends to reduce what I think of as the “looming” aspect of the project and it becomes easier to move forward. Having attainable goals also helps me budget my time, another resistance-reducer.
7. Try to avoid perfectionism.
Perfectionism can lead to the noblest cause of procrastination. When I have created an image of not only what, but how much needs to be done, I’ve sometimes become too overwhelmed to actually do the project. Case in point, I had a room that had wallpaper I hated. In peeling off the wallpaper, the backing was left behind. In a 100-year-old house with plaster walls, getting the backing off and the room skim-coated and painted ended up taking nearly three years. In wanting it perfect right away, I just couldn’t get started.
8. Let go of the fear.
For those of you who are inclined towards introspection, Tresnack recommends sitting down before you start a project and try to focus on what about the project may be making you afraid. “If you are procrastinating, sit for a moment and look at what your fears are about the situation. You may even want to write about it,” he said. Tresnack said that procrastination creates an “emotional cloud, which makes things harder to accomplish.”
9. Celebrate your successes.
“Every time we accomplish something it gives our mind a little boost,” said Tresnack. It’s important to stop and relish what we have accomplished before moving on to the next project. If you feel more satisfaction, the next project may feel more enjoyable.
10. Make projects into social events.
There are always a lot of small projects that need to be done. But for the bigger projects, make it an excuse for a party or a date with your significant other. Having a work a party is not a new idea, but it’s a fun one. Not only can you get the project done faster, but you can build on the feeling of making work seem less like work.