Piggybacking off of my earlier series on time management, I want to offer a few tips on beating procrastination because it is certainly a time waster, and if taken to the extreme, can stunt your success.
So, let me ask you this:
- Do you ever get overwhelmed by the things you need to do that you don’t do anything?
- Does your time get sucked away, wasted on social media sites?
- Are you sometimes swayed by the dishes, vacuum or other household duty calling your name when trying to work?
If you do, you are not alone. Here are some tactics I use on those days I just can’t get focused or motivated to do what I need to do:
1. Analyze it. Ask yourself: Exactly why am I putting this off? What is the core issue here? Fear? Laziness? Don’t like the task at hand? What can I do to overcome this issue? Do I absolutely HAVE to do this? Can I pass it on to my assistant or someone else? Can I just let it go and not get it done at all?
Once you’ve analized the reasons behind your procrastination, it is time to make a decision. Immediately do the task, delegate the task, or drop the task off your to-do list.
2. Use a timer. This is a well-known technique that I use a lot. I set the timer for as long as I think something should take to be finished (or for how much time I have available) and then I get to work doing what I can within that duration. When the timer goes off I either move on to the next thing or, depending on the particular task, I’ll reset the timer and do it again.
What makes this technique effective is that it helps keep you focused on the topic on had during that specific time you are “racing against the clock.”
3. Unplug the phone. If you get a lot of calls or find yourself interrupted by calls consistently and cannot bear to NOT answer the phone – thus distracting you from your work – try turning it off. If it is your cell phone that is the problem, set it to silence/mute and turn off the notifications. Just don’t forget to turn it back on later!
Here’s an extra tip: Make it a standard policy that all phone calls be scheduled. This will help you plan your work rotation, and will allow you to focus on doing your best work without distractions.
4. Use LeechBlock. LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that blocks whatever websites you designate for as long as you specify. In other words: If Facebook is a sucker for you, you can set LeechBlock to block access to Facebook during those times you need to focus your attention elsewhere. (Of course, you still need to be disciplined here. It’s easy to disable or change the block, which would defeat the purpose of setting it in the first place!)
5. Get over yourself. As silly as it sounds, I consider myself a ‘recovering perfectionist’. Why? Because sometimes I get so hung up on doing what I’m doing “so perfectly” that it paralyses me into doing nothing. Please tell me I’m not alone here! Case in point: I have been wanting to start creating more videos for a long time now; but, for fear of not getting it perfect, or making a fool of myself, I have been putting it off. But you know what? Sometimes good enough is good enough. Finally, I just have to let go of my fear of perfection and do it. (I do have three videos, but you can’t see my face. 🙂 )
Therefore, if you are putting off doing something because it might not be perfect, NOW is the time to shake that off and get moving!
Finally, here is a bonus strategy:
6. Bribe yourself. (A.K.A. reward yourself.) Tell yourself that as soon as you finish completing your task or assignment, you will… get that massage, read that book, etc. It doesn’t have to be big, just give yourself something to look forward to when you are finished with your work.
Now it is your turn. What’s your best strategy in dealing with procrastination? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. Download a pdf version of this post here that you can keep in a handy place as a reminder. (Subscribers can access this download directly on their private subscriber page.)
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