Do you Procrastinate? I know I do. There is always something better to do then what needs to be done. Instead of focusing on what is on my task list, my financials; I am writing a blog post. Today I discuss ways to stop procrastination and get on with the tasks that matter to you.
What is procrastination and why do we do it?
Procrastination is the avoidance of tasks by doing something other than what needs to be done. There are many reasons we procrastinate. Sometimes we think that if we can’t complete the task perfectly why bother. Other times we say we procrastinate because we work better under pressure. We may also feel that a task is too difficult or time-consuming and leave it for someone else or another time. All of this leads to the fear of being found out that we are not as capable as we let on. Procrastination also happens when our energy level is not in line with the task at hand.
How do we stop procrastination?
Just because we all procrastinate doesn’t me we shouldn’t have some tools in our arsenal to battle the urge to put our tasks off. Procrastination is a time waster. We may be busy doing other things, but doing the right thing at the right time saves time in the long run.
Determine the Reason for the delay. List your reasons out and then dispute each one individually. If there is no legitimate reason you cannot complete the task, get to work. The process of going through your reasons will help jump start your thinking on the task and get your motivation in gear.
Braindump your tasks onto a master list. Write it all down and then pull out 3-5 tasks you can focus on for the day based on your priorities and energy level. Are there tasks on the list that fill you with a sense of dread? Think about be outsourcing or delegating them, and then you can stop worrying about getting them done yourself.
Use a timer. Set it for 5 minutes and get to work. Just starting a task can make you realize that it was not as bad as you thought it was going to be, and you can keep working. What if after 5 minutes you still want to procrastinate? You have my permission to move on to the next tip.
Evaluate your energy level. If it is the end of the day and you are counting the minutes to leaving the office, it is probably not the time to start working on the big project that landed on your desk. Plan the more difficult tasks on your list to be handled when you are at your best during the day. Plan for things like catching up on your to-read pile for those times when your energy wanes. You are still productive, but taking into account what your brain can accomplish and retain.
Break larger projects into smaller tasks. Redoing your kitchen is a big project. Thinking about taking something on all at once can lead us to inaction. Break it down into smaller tasks that are more manageable. For example: look at knobs and handles for the cabinets and drawers, decide on a paint color, pick tile. Now instead of thinking of the entire project at once, you can focus on the smaller tasks that will get you to the finish line.
Enlist a buddy. Accountability helps us to accomplish our goals. If we do not have somebody checking in on us, we can let things go. Tell a friend or a coworker what your plans are and ask them to check in on you occasionally.
Plan your day the night before. If you do not have an action plan, you can become overwhelmed with all you have to do. Pull 3-5 items from your master list to accomplish today. Keep in mind meetings, and other pulls on your attention. Your energy level also has a lot to do with what you can accomplish.
Reward Yourself. You don’t want to do it, but what if you could have that sandwich from your favorite shop when the task is completed? Give yourself some positive reinforcement for getting that dreaded task off your list.
Consider the unpleasant consequences of not doing the task. What if you don’t get this task done? What will happen? This technique will not only help motivate you to avoid the consequence but will also help set your priorities regarding the task. You will be motivated to get it done, delegate it out, or delete it altogether.
Now that that’s done, I’m going to set a timer and start working on my financials. How will you try to stop procrastination? Let us know about your successes in the comments below.
Time and tech-savvy, Jamie Steele is the owner of Tidy Your Time LLC. She works with individuals to find the order in their lives so they can spend time on what matters to them. With a focus on making technology work for you, she encourages her clients to live life in sync. Contact Jamie today for your free phone consultation. Tidy Your Time LLC works with individuals and small business in the Austin area, or virtually, anywhere.