9 Tips to Beat Procrastination
Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last minute”.
How strange is it that right before I had was supposed to get started with writing this article, I thought to myself “maybe I should play a couple games of solitaire first.” Can you believe that?!!! The procrastination devil will always be strong at work. It’s important to know this so that you can start monitoring your thoughts and stop yourself when that little devil rears his ugly head. I immediately caught myself, shifted my focus, marched myself over to my computer and started writing.
People say that procrastination is about laziness, but I can assure you it’s certainly not. It’s about FEAR. Fear of overwhelm, fear of failure, fear of not being “perfect.” The good news is that there are ways that we can beat it.
- Take advantage of those small chunks of time. Most of us wait to do something until we have 2 solid hours to sit and focus on a task. Guess what? The 25 minutes that you have between calls or appointments will work just fine. I bet if you added up all of those 20-30 minutes time chunks in your day, you would find plenty of time to work on the projects that you just can’t seem to find the time for.
- When an idea comes to you do something with it. Don’t sit on it! Something little is fine. It’s a start and that’s usually all you need to get the ball rolling. Write it down immediately and imperfectly. Take action!
- Agree to do it badly. Get out of perfection paralysis! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Imperfect is perfectly fine. So many of us stop ourselves from doing things because we want to make it perfect, but we don’t know how, so we never even get started. Simply set the goal to show up and do it.
- Put it out there aloud. One of the greatest things that I have received from my business Mastermind Group is my accountability buddy. Every day we talk for 5 minutes. She tells me what 3 things she is going to accomplish and I tell her what 3 things I am going to accomplish. The next day when we speak we hold each other accountable for completing what we said we were going to complete. You can do this with a friend or family member. Call them and tell them what you are going to work on. After you have completed the task call her again to let her know that it’s been completed. Repeat daily.
- Covet your productivity time. When are you most creative? For me it’s first thing in the morning. I know that each day when I wake up that I will accomplish a lot if I sit down and get right to work. I covet this time and never allow anything to interfere with it. You do the same. Mark your creative flow time and never let yourself waiver from it. Protect it.
- Get out of being busy and get into being productive. What I mean by this is avoid time sucking behaviors such as email, voicemail, social media and web analytics. These types of activities are such enormous time waters. They bleed into your entire day leaving you no time to commit focused attention on a task. If you wanted you could keep yourself busy by doing these things all day, but I can guarantee that you won’t get much else done. When you do these things all the time you never complete them. You just let them slowly suck your precious time away from you. Choose specific times for each of these activities. When the time is up turn your email OFF and turn your phone OFF until the designated time comes to check them. The same goes for Facebook. Choose a time block once a day to complete your social media tasks.
- Focus only on 3 goals at a time. Less is more. I’ll say it again. Less is more. When you include more than 3 items to your To Do List overwhelm starts to set in. When overwhelm sets in, procrastination kicks into high gear making it almost impossible to start conquering the never-ending list of tasks. Each day write down only 3 tasks. Do not move onto your next 3 until the 3 at hand are completed. You will see how much easier it becomes to plow through your To Do’s. Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing rather than not quite getting to everything.
- Be specific. Instead of saying “today I’m going to organize my office,” say, “today I’m going to organize my files.” After that is completed your next task would be, “today I‘m going to clean out my desk drawers.” After that has been completed say, “today I’m going to do my monthly calendars.” You get the picture. Smaller and more specific goals will make them easier to accomplish. You’ll see how quickly you start banging things out when you make this shift.
- Don’t ask yourself how you feel about it. This is a sure fire way to never get anything done. Do I feel like getting up and going to the gym every single morning? Absolutely not, but I commit to it no matter how I feel. The same goes for your business goals and tasks. Commit to getting them done and don’t let how you “feel” dictate your actions. Remember… ACTION=RESULTS
Ahhhh… I have finished my article and can now add another check to my To Do List. Feels good! It’s funny, now I don’t even feel like playing solitaire. 😉
Your Homework Assignment: Start your brand new To Do notebook. Writing things down is very powerful, so it’s important that you put your tasks in writing. Remember, 3 per day. When they are completed use a highlighter to cross them off your list. I read somewhere once that this is a positive action rather than crossing it out. Now, I’m not sure about all that, but I have gotten into this habit because it makes it easier to read if you need to refer back. Also, it is important to acknowledge your accomplishments each and ever day. Under your To Do’s reserve a section to record (again writing is very powerful) your achievements, both large and small.
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