High achievers rarely procrastinate. They can focus in the security that they are working on exactly what needs to be done. We procrastinators need a little help to get to this point. So check out the tips below, lose the guilt and get stuff done!
By taking an objective look at the priority of the task you are putting off you can force yourself to work on it at the appropriate time or decide not to do it at all.
2. Setting time aside
Once you recognize that you have to do a task of the sort you tend to put off, plan in time to work on it. Make sure there are no distractions. If you know you have a set time to do the task, with a clear start and finish time, it creates a discipline – you are automating the process. You have no choice – this is the task of the moment!
3. Listen to the voices in your head!
When you are working on a task and find yourself stalling, listen to the little voice inside your head (yes we all have one, it does not mean you are crazy!) What is it saying to you as you stall? Write these things down. You may find yourself thinking things like “This is impossible.” “I don’t have enough information.” “It’s hopeless.” “I can’t finish.” “It will never work.” Trapped in your mind these thoughts will drive you crazy – or heading for chocolate in my case! Once you write them down it allows you to see them for what they are and gives you a start for progressing with them. Turn them round and treat them as problems to be solved.
Plan in a reward for finishing, or getting to defined points in the task. You get to see the benefits of completing the task without putting it off any longer, and by recognizing when it is complete you get a burst of energy that actually spurs you on to achieve more. Find something that you love to do and give yourself a treat!
5. Saying No
How many of the tasks you are procrastinating over are actually ones you should have said no to in the first place? If you have taken on tasks that you hate, or resent procrastination is almost inevitable.
Saying NO in the right time, can save you hours, weeks or even years of lost time. It can help you move away from things you hate to things you love, from procrastination to productivity, towards better and more enjoyable life. Don’t be afraid of saying NO, quite the opposite, learn to enjoy it and feel proud and strong every time you say NO.
Now let’s get real. There will obviously be times when you are asked to tasks you hate and you will just have to suck it up and get on with it (Taxes anyone?) However if you flag it as a hated task as soon as you get it you can be on the alert for your usual procrastination ploys!
For many of us, procrastination is linked with clutter. The more things we have in view the more likely we are to be distracted by something we would much rather be doing! Keeping your work space clear means you actually do things instead of being distracted. Just watch out for organizing as a procrastination ploy!
Dehydration causes apathy which leads to procrastination. A glass of water just before you start a task can do wonders and give you a new surge of energy. Interestingly enough the effects last longer than caffeine (and it’s better for you too!). To avoid dehydration drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine, and carbonated drinks.
8. Get cool Tools
If you are putting off a task which is boring think about using some cool tools that will make things more interesting! For instance I used to struggle keeping all my tasks organized. I was using paper and pen and did not want to face rewriting things as they changed – I moved to an electronic system that syncs with my PC, iPad & phone and now I love to update my tasks at any odd moment throughout the day. If I need to write letters or Holiday Cards I make sure I have my favorite pen with me to make the task more enjoyable.
A word of caution however, if you decide to get a cool new bit of software or techie tool to achieve your task, watch out that you are not using that as an excuse to procrastinate! Give yourself a short target timeframe for learning then go with it.
9. Break the Job Down
Sometimes we procrastinate because we are not sure how to get the task done. Or it just seems too big to be possible. Plan in some time to review the task. Break it down into smaller chunks. Look at each chunk and make sure you know how to progress each one. Then tackle the job in bite-sized pieces. Don’t take on more than you can get done in the time you allocate. This guarantees that you feel good at the end of the task because you have completed it.
10.Set yourself deadlines
This follows on from the previous point. Look at each step and put a timeline together for achieving the whole (don’t forget to build in some contingency). The deadline for each part gives you something to aim for. It gives you more successes to celebrate and a greater sense of achievement
There are many, many more tips out there. If you Google procrastination you get almost 4 million hits. You could spend days looking through it all. Don’t!!! The real change comes from within. Finding out why you are putting things off and using some simple techniques like the ones I’ve just described in place to help you overcome. Once you start making progress it becomes easier to spot and easier to avoid.
What are some of the things you procrastinate over?