5 Strategies to Beat Procrastination

I am a gamer. I have been playing video games since I was a kid, starting with Atari way back in the day, evolving into a PS4 and PC fiend. Now, before you tune out altogether, this is not a post about video game. This is a look at the games that we play with ourselves. When it comes to accomplishing the things we want from our lives we are masters at the art of talking ourselves out of the things we need to do.

Surely you have experienced this before: the moment when you are working on a project or toward a goal you are trying to accomplish, and suddenly, that little voice in your head suggests something else. It happens to the best of us, believe me! I have done my fair share of dodging task; in favor of a little extra screen time.

We play these mind games with ourselves all the time, this often speaks to some deeper issues around avoiding thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable for us. It isn’t always fun to stay on task, to really focus on the things we need to take care of that will ultimately better our lives.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to create a procrastination game plan. Next time you feel that little voice in your head trying to pull you away from what you are trying to accomplish give these strategies a try:

  1. Consider the smallest action you can take in favor of your goal: If you just aren’t feeling like going to the gym today what other small activity could you engage in to be active? My goto is going for a walk. In the winter, I will make it a point to stand up and pace throughout the day.
  2. Make a game out of the task: For every 30 minutes you work you will play 10 minutes of angry birds! I prefer Overwatch but, to each there own.
  3. Dig a bit deeper: What is at the root of the game you are playing with yourself? Are you afraid of what others will think of you at the gym? concerned about failing? Take an honest look at why you aren’t getting your task done and choose to face the fear.
  4. Use a lifeline: I can’t stand gameshows and feel that reality TV will go down as one of the more significant failings in the history of society… But, on that show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” you could use a lifeline when you needed a hand. This works in real life as well! make a call, shoot someone a text, and ask them to hold you accountable to get the task done.
  5. Change your environment: I am horrible at getting things done at my place, there are just too many distractions! So, when I really need to get some writing done, I head to a coffee shop. Just getting into a new space can totally change my mindset and productive.

OK, game on! Recognizing the games that we play with ourselves can really go a long way in the battle toward accomplishing the things that we want. When you really master this mindset you can totally change the game in your favor and dislodge the roadblocks getting in the way of what you want!

Matt Lawson, MA, NCC, LPC

Matt Lawson, MA, NCC, LPC

Hi, I'm Matt, and I'm a counselor who helps people achieve optimal health. I currently offer counseling services here at Chicago Compass Counseling and specialize in eSports and video game addiction. If you're interested, you can read more about me on my about page.