If you’re prone to procrastination, you’re certainly not alone. When there’s so much to do, it’s all too easy to postpone action because you can’t quite bring yourself to get started. Most things feel like overwhelming hurdles, until you take the first step towards completion. It’s this first step that gets the ball rolling, so all you need to do, is find the motivation to take it.
Here’s how to do it, quickly.
Change your body language
Do you often slump over the laptop, amble reluctantly to your next meeting or sit with your arms and legs crossed? Postures and gestures you use not only communicate something to everyone around you, but affect your mood and productivity levels. As soon as you feel procrastination taking over, check in with your body to see how you’re sitting, standing or walking.
Instead of any posture that makes you look and feel small, slumped and tightly crossed, open up and stretch confidently, by extending your chest, arms and legs. Walk briskly and with purpose, while taking deep breaths. Smile, even if it’s just to yourself. These small changes tell your brain to get going, in a mere matter of minutes.
Become aware of your thoughts
Like most things, motivation is a skill that takes practice to cultivate. When you’re constantly telling yourself you can’t achieve goals, finish projects or even get out of bed, your putting yourself into a pessimistic state that blocks action. To change this, it’s crucial to remain aware of your thought patterns. This is the easy part, because the signs of negative thinking are starkly obvious, via the associated negative feelings.
As soon as you feel yourself succumbing to non-productive thoughts, whip them into shape by reframing them in a positive light. Mentally debate them if you need to, by acknowledging that they’re not necessarily true. For example, while today’s ‘to-do’ list might seem overwhelming, is it true that it’s entirely unachievable? Not likely. If it is, adjust your thinking by focusing on proactive solutions, rather than the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Simplify your goals
No matter how motivated you are when you start the day, if your goals aren’t measurable it’s far too easy to sink into non-action. Let’s say your goal is to get fit, which is something that’s not going to happen overnight. Without specific, measurable steps to take each day, it’s not going to happen at all.
While it’s fantastic to have long term goals and even better to reach high, it’s these very aspirations that can hold you back by projecting too far into the future. It’s in this ‘future thinking’ space that goals seem unattainable, thereby squashing your motivation to get started.
When you find yourself procrastinating, give your motivation a boost in minutes by kicking one, simple goal that puts you one step further on the path. In this case, get up and go for a quick jog, and pat yourself on the back for it afterwards.
Practice taking small steps and rewarding yourself for them, changing your body language and reframing your thoughts towards positivity every day. You’ll soon find your motivation muscles growing stronger, in order to propel you towards successful action and working smarter, not harder.
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