Not doing something that should be done is called procrastination. While procrastination can be good, for example we end up not doing something that isn’t important, it can also be harmful to our businesses as described in last week’s blog. There are many causes for us to procrastinate. Fear, overwhelm, distractions, laziness to name just a few.
There are tools and techniques to help overcome procrastination. This week I am sharing our favourite seven. Not all of these will work for everyone. Pick out the one(s) that best suit your personality and your way of working.
1. Just Get Started
Many times for me the procrastination door slams shut when I must start writing something like this blog. The very thought of staring at a blank screen trying to get my thoughts in order is enough to stop me from starting. But once I start the words just flow out of my fingers. So Just Get Started!
2. Ask For Help
Asking for help is a most positive human trait. So ask someone to make you accountable to them. Not for completing an activity but FOR STARTING AN ACTIVITY! Then be accountable to them for completing it. Ask someone to work with you, or delegate the entire job to someone else who you know will do it.
3. Start Small
The old Chinese proverb states: A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. So when you are faced with a large endeavour stop thinking of the enormity of the task ahead and instead break it into small steps. Some experts in this field suggest breaking the task into small chunks of no more than 10 minutes each.
4. Remove Distractions
Have you ever clicked a link to a YouTube video and found yourself 3 hours later clicking through to hundreds of related videos? Before you feel procrastination sneaking up on you remove all potential distractions. Some examples:
- Don’t click the link to a YouTube video
- Close your email program
- Switch off the phone
- Shut down the computer game
5. How Will I Feel
While procrastination has its good points more often than not it causes stress. By not doing something that should be done just weighs on our minds, waking us up in the middle of the night. So when faced with this sit quietly in the corner and paint a picture of how you will feel when the task is done. For example, stress will be gone, the task will be complete and all will be well with the world. The picture will be so motivating you will throw procrastination out the window.
6. Must. Should. Nice
They say we are attracted to water because our early creepy crawly ancestors crawled their way out of the sea. If that is the case then our ancestors must have been huge fans of “To Do Lists”because we love them! These lists, instead of helping us achieve our plans usually cause procrastination because they are so long. When this happens go through the list and mark each item as either Must, Should or Nice. Cross out the Nices, leave the Shoulds for another day and start working on the Musts.
7. The Too Tired Syndrome
Procrastination loves tired people. They sit at their desks, staring absently into the distance and bemoan how tired they are. Too tired to write the blog. Too tired to call the client. Too tired to read the report. Too tired to make coffee. When there are days when tiredness takes over don’t stress yourself. Go to your to do list and find some fun tasks that may not be Musts but will still move your business forward.
Make sure you tune in next week for our first ever Reality Blog. We asked for examples of procrastination in your life and we got a wonderful example. Our guest blogger will describe how procrastination turned a huge tax liability into a tax refund!