“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” - Jerry West
People procrastinate for many reasons. It could be due to the task feeling too overwhelming, lack of motivation, fear of failure, struggles with executive functioning, or even just because of a lack of interest. Procrastination can be a difficult habit to break, but there are ways to overcome it. It can be really difficult to stay on top of tasks when you're feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated. When it comes to choosing coping skills, remember that no skill will ever be effective 100% of the time. We have to gather a few coping skills to keep ready so our brain doesn't get bored of using the same technique over and over again. Also remember that behind every coping skill must be consistency and commitment. Try a coping skill for at least a week, if not two before you give up on it. It takes time to create new habits!
Tip #1 - A Good Pairing
Pair a task with something you enjoy: like a podcast episode or a music playlist. Preferably not something like TV where you have to watch and could get visually distracted from your task. Then, do your task (like cleaning) until the podcast/playlist is finished.
Tip #2 - Break it Up
Break down big tasks into smaller, more achievable goals.
Example: Cleaning the kitchen vs 1. tidy items on counter 2. wipe down surfaces 3. Load dishwasher 4. sweep. This way the task isn't as overwhelming, you know what steps need to be taken and can estimate the time needed for the tasks as a whole.
Tip #3 - Rewards
Reward yourself for completing tasks to stay motivated. This could be a snack, an activity, a favorite show at night, or going out. Assign the reward prior to starting the task so you know what you are working towards. Make sure each task has an appropriate reward - going to Disneyland just for doing dishes on a Tuesday might not be the best fit :D.
Tip #4 - Timeline
Create a timeline with deadlines for each goal and stick to it. Try doing this at the beginning of the week by creating a to-do list and then separating the items into individual days. Check in at the end of each day and adjust as needed.
Tip #5 - Accountability
Find an accountability buddy to help you stay on track. This could be a spouse, roommate, or friend. Saying your goals out loud and keeping yourself accountable will help you achieve these goals faster. Don't forget to share your goals with your therapist too, they make great accountabili-buddies!