Do you procrastinate?
I used to. It’s one of my natural tendencies. While I thrive on the pressure of deadlines, I also acknowledge the self-sabotaging behaviour of leaving things to the last minute. Over time I've made some positive changes to the way I do things. These days I'm better able to stay on top of what needs to be accomplished in any given day from both a business and personal perspective.
The first step to combat my chronic procrastination was to alter my mindset. In other words, I had to get my head in the game. I took an honest look at how my habits supported or stopped me from accomplishing what I set out to do. I gave some thought to my priorities and set myself up to succeed.
I got rid of negative routines like checking my email first thing in the morning before tackling some of the priority items on my daily 'To Do' list. I also learned not to beat myself up but instead encouraged myself to make some positive changes and to be open to shifting gears in a way that allowed me to accomplish the tasks at hand now, instead of later.
While I haven't conquered procrastination completely, here are some helpful tips I've picked along the way in my efforts to stop wasting time and get more done. I hope you too find them useful.
Don't let fear get in your way
Deal with fear by staying in the present. Remove the focus from yourself and onto what you need to accomplish. Take the time to prepare for the task at hand. Believe in yourself. Let go of expectations. Forge through the fear and take that first step. Move forward one step at a time. You gain confidence by experience. Don’t allow fear to hold you back – take action and see what happens.
Break down BIG projects
If you have a lot on your plate and you can’t delegate – break it down. Get the details out of your head and into a plan of action. Start with one small step you know you can do and then commit even as little as 10 or 15 minutes to get started. Take action. The key is to set yourself up so you can succeed one small step at a time.
Get advice from someone in the know
Don't remain frustrated. Instead seek the expertise of someone who can help. If you're unsure of what to do, call in someone who has some experience with the matter at hand. Don’t spin your wheels (and waste countless hours and energy) trying to figure something out yourself when you can seek help. Find the help you need and take action.
Delegate or motivate yourself with a timer
Stop putting things off simply because you hate doing them. Either delegate or commit to doing it and get it done ASAP. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and just dig in. Try to get your most dreaded tasks accomplished earlier in the day so they're behind you and you can move forward in a positive manner. Think of how great you'll feel once your task is behind you.
Focus on the key action steps
Take an honest look at what you need to achieve today and what actions you must take in order to accomplish all you need to do. Keep it simple. Focus on your primary action steps and don’t allow yourself to get side tracked.
Take it one step at a time
When you focus completely on the goal at hand, you increase your efficiency 100 percent. Set a time limit for your task, accomplish it and move on. We are more productive when we are working against the clock. Setting time limits and adhering to them will be a work in progress but it's well worth the effort once you see the improvement you’re making.
Keep moving forward
Unlike standing still, taking action propels you forward. Sometimes it may feel like you're taking one step forward and two steps back but it is movement nonetheless. Keep going. Be consistent. Don't give up and start procrastinating again. The more consistent action you take, the better the results.
Make yourself a priority
You're important. Practice self-care by giving yourself permission to take breaks and to rejuvenate between tasks. Decide on how long your breaks will be and what form they'll take. Pushing through when you're exhausted is counterproductive. Regular exercise and a good night’s sleep needs to be a priority. It's easy to procrastinate when we're tired and run down. Instead pace yourself by taking frequent breaks but be discipline to get back to the task at hand once the break is over.
Pick one task and get started
Select a task you’ve been putting off like clearing the clutter from your dining room table that has become a catch all for everyone’s stuff. Set a timer and get moving. Trust me, you’ll feel great when the nagging task is a thing of the past.
What have you been putting off?
Have I inspired you to take action?
If so, what is your first task or project you're going to tackle?
Please comment below.