We all do it, yet thousands of successful people have learned how to stop procrastinating by following this powerful law of successful living: practice.
Chances are your mind started following the same pattern of over-analytical self-talk we are all accustomed to.
We protest: “Come on! This is more work on top of all of the other things to do!”.
I’ll offer you some tips to help you stop procrastinating in the meantime.
It’s important to know that the effects of rescheduling the important things can be truly harmful and creates a snowball effect on your to-do list. The list gets bigger. Time gets shorter. Blood pressure rises. Anxiety builds. In other words, the task either gets done or it doesn’t, but those nasty effects made a mark all the same. Use the time you have now to your advantage by starting early. The time you have to accomplish the task is breathing room. Stop analyzing and take the first action.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Lucius Anneus Seneca
A common reason why people fail to get things done on time, if at all, is having no immediate consequences if they don’t.
Here’s a quick guide to getting real-world accountability and introducing immediate consequences if you miss a beat.
Phone (or Text) a Friend
Seriously, try this:
- Phone (or text) someone you know. Make it someone that has been an inspiration to you in the way they conduct their day to day. Are they in shape? Do they finish everything on time? Who is this person to you? Wife or husband? Brother? You get the picture.
- Say this: “Hey name. This may sound a bit random, but I noticed that you’re great at getting things done. I’d like to be stronger in that area of my life, so I was wondering if you could help keep me on track?”… or something to that effect.
- Set the guidelines. Be genuine about your goal. Go into the conversation knowing your due date so that they take you seriously. Ask if they can shoot you a quick text or call you or get you to take a photo of your progress. Any update for them to hold you accountable.
A Splash of Background Noise
Do you work better in coffee shops?
The feeling of grabbing your favourite drink, firing up your laptop and crashing in your favourite spot is mostly unmatched. The ambient noise of small chatter or baristas cranking out coffees supplies just the right amount of background noise to get you in the zone. This slight distraction actually boosts your creativity and keeps you at your most productive.
I use this trick when I write.
There are many apps on the market that go above and beyond getting you to get to work but if you’re looking to start somewhere, try Coffitivity. This web-based app provides great coffee shop soundtracks with it’s free services. Simply plug in your headphones and away you go.
This helps me get more done in less time and produce greater quality work.
Schedule a Reward Break or Two
The rewards of our work rarely manifest upon immediate completion of the task at hand.
Washing the dishes may be an exception here…
In other words, fewer motivating factors (rewards) may reduce focus and the task at hand may become boring.
Pencil in 2-3 breaks for a reward after about 45-60 minutes of action. Read a dozen pages of a good book, enjoy a green smoothie and take your dog for a walk.
15-20 minute breaks.
This is known to increase the quality of your work and you’re more likely to stay interested when returning to your project with fresh eyes and bit of clarity.
Let’s face it, procrastination is a real obstacle. However adamant we may be to conquer our priorities in one fell swoop, over and done with, it seems to end up getting the best of us.
Start small with these 3 simple tricks, or any one of them to rise up and own your obligations.
Q: How do you get focused to tackle your priority project?
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