You have a mountain of clutter on your desk, a to-do list the length of the Amazon River, and a seemingly endless array of emails to respond to.
Yet, you can’t seem to get started on anything. You are stuck in the land of procrastination.
Instead of organizing or tackling your to-dos, you find yourself planted in front of the television, mindlessly binging on old episodes of Lost.
That’s because you feel lost. The overwhelm just stops you in your tracks.
5 Ways to Deal with Procrastination and Overwhelm
Some people say that if you are procrastinating, write down a list of what you need to do. But if you can’t even cross off one item on your already long to-do list, writing down a new to-do list won’t help. This is why a lot of conventional advice on procrastination isn’t always helpful.
Here are some other tactics to try to get unstuck:
1. Give Yourself a Break
What? Take a break? But you’ve already been binge-watching the television. That may be true, but this time, give yourself a real break. Give yourself permission to refresh your mind, body, and spirit. If you are procrastinating, you are likely doing so because you are burned out.
However, while mindless TV watching can help sometimes, you may have other activities that will actually rejuvenate you more. What do you enjoy? Can you afford a mini-vacation or even a small luxury like a massage?
2. Get Some Help
If you can’t handle the clutter in your home or office, get some help. You can hire professional organizers to come in and deal with the problem. If you are strapped for cash, try to recruit a friend or two to help.
Even if you have the laziest friends in the world who won’t lift a finger to help with your clutter problem, having some company while you declutter can help make the process a lot more enjoyable.
3. Entertain Yourself
While this won’t work for every task, try entertainment while you work. Just like having a friend to keep you company while you clean, entertainment can make tedious tasks go much more quickly.
Sure, mindfulness meditation gurus will tell you that you can find spiritual bliss in the washing of dishes. But, be honest with yourself.
Would you rather meditate while cleaning your kitchen? Or maybe you have a favorite TV show you can put on in the background with that doesn’t require a lot of visual attention. You might also play music or audiobooks while you work.
4. Do the Least Amount Possible
That’s right, just pledge to do the absolute minimum before you get started. Then, you can give yourself permission to start. Sometimes, by giving ourselves permission to have an “out,” we don’t feel the pressure of obligation. This, ironically, can make it easier to continue and get more done.
5. Give Yourself a Reward
Sure, maybe you are being a bit like a kid who needs a piece of candy after a chore is done. But life is hard, and chores aren’t fun. Plan to give yourself a reward after you finish a job or series of tasks. That way, you have something to look forward to.
Procrastination Can Be Overcome
Ironically, sometimes the best way to overcome procrastination is to not fight it so hard. Give yourself a break, get some help, entertain yourself while working, do just a little, and reward yourself when you do get something done. In this way you can slowly get unstuck from even the most stubborn form of procrastination.