Procrastination Undermines Performance

Procrastination is at the root of performance failure for many athletes. Many of my students of all ages are experts at avoiding the inevitable. “I will get to it later,” the well intentioned person says! What’s the payoff for putting things off?

Tips to overcome the things that undermine performance.

Procrastination is at the root of performance failure for many athletes. Many of my students of all ages are experts at avoiding the inevitable. The well intentioned person says, “I will get to it later.” We eventually get it done, but only after the pressure cooker is about to explode and the panic starts. So, we reach for the Redbull or quart of coffee – whatever it takes to cram it through the night. What’s the point? And to top it all off you have to be rested and ready to go for the 5pm basketball game. You’re a basket case after all the cramming and totally burnt out. What’s the pay off for putting things to the minute?

Overwhelmed by too much:

Procrastination begins when we are overwhelmed by too many activities, projects, or demands. It’s possible we are perfectionists, maybe challenged by attention issues, or just plain too busy with the video games or the television. Too much to digest so we avoid. Maybe it will go away? I don’t think so!

Think about it for a minute. We procrastinate then another task is served up so we procrastinate again. Not long after another task presents itself. The more we put on the back burner the more we have to contend with. The list of tasks gets longer and we don’t know which one to tackle first. There always seems to be a full plate. As time goes on it gets harder and harder to get started.

Hinders Athletic Performance:

Procrastination can severely hinder your athletic performance, work performance and overall life success. Procrastination causes stress, stress causes anxiety, anxiety causes tension, and we lose sleep as a result. Without sleep our entire body chemistry goes on tilt. Tension causes inflexibility and inflexibility causes the athlete to be less than 100% aware of their body’s limitations. Inflexibility puts the athlete at risk of injury. I have seen it happen over and over again. The tired, inflexible athlete is unaware of the danger they put themselves in. Injuries happen more frequently when we are tired, stressed and less flexible.

You probably know all of this and most likely are experts at procrastinating, but do you know how to beat the problem. To beat the problem you need a game plan. To master anything you need a plan of attack. What is the objective? Here are some helpful tips you can implement right now on whatever task you choose to tackle. The key is to simply get started!

Here are 6 tips to help you get things done.

Assessment. Make a list of what needs to get done and then prioritize. Take one and only one project and think it through and then break it down into its component parts; this first, then second… and so on. Make the parts small enough to accomplish. The process is called chunking. Parts of the whole are easier to deal with than the whole itself.

Act now! Get Started. You would be amazed how easy the task is once you get it kick started. Hold everything! One step at a time! Do not try to eat the whole pound of chocolate at one sitting. Try and ingest the entire project too fast and you will get indigestion. Easy does it! Finish step one then rejoice. Complete step two and move to the next! There is a process to success. Confidence builds and you start to believe you just might get this done!

Scheduling. . Schedule time blocks to work the project increments. Be realistic and set realistic and achievable goals. Demands for perfection are expectations for performance. In my mind expectations are difficult to achieve because the bar is always out of reach. Set small achievable objectives with a specific time frames like 30-45 minutes and get a small part of the project done.

Eliminate Mental Congestion. If you are like me I have a hard time working in noisy environments. I need a quiet space. If you can’t find that space then find a set of noise canceling ear phones and shut out the world. Another approach is to create a noisy environment you can control. I call this the “white room.” Create white noise of your choosing. There is a great mobile application called Mind Relax Lite. Now the best part, it’s FREE. You can find it on the Apple app store.

Sing Hallelujah . What I mean is, reward yourself. You have systematically attacked a project and achieved success. As humans we are notorious for the lack of praise we give ourselves. It’s much easier to say, “but I have so much more to do.” Add a little pleasure to the moment. Take a walk, eat some ice cream, walk the dog, or go out side and scream at the top of your lungs; “I’m finished, I’m finished. I got the silly thing done.” It’s incredibly important to have a reward system. For peace of mind you need to have something to look forward to. When you feel good about something you are more apt to motivate on to the next task.

Tomorrow is another day.. What you don’t get done today you can do tomorrow. Wait a minute isn’t that the thought process that got us in trouble in the first place? Yes it is, but the difference is now is you have a plan of action coupled with time management, organization, structure, goals, and a reward system. It’s a formula for success! Perfect does not happen, but we can work a plan to perfect the process to get things done. The end goal is completion not perfect completion!

For more information about this article please contact John R. Ellsworth – Mental Game Coach.

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