We have all experienced the feeling where you know you should be doing some work but instead don’t feel like doing anything at all. Some people are “chronic procrastinators” who, although have the desire to accomplish something important, do not get the motivation to do it. Fortunately, overcoming your procrastination is possible with some discipline and following certain steps. Don’t let procrastination slow you down!
Take a few minutes each day
And list out the things “you are going to do tomorrow.” Accomplishing what you’re avoiding will simplify your work life and make you feel more energetic. You’ll sleep better at night.
Break it down
Break it down into smaller tasks and steps and only focus on one part at the time. One reason why we procrastinate is that we often find the tasks ahead too overwhelming for us. Getting through a daunting task is incredibly satisfying. Praise each little step along the way.
Be ready for challenges
On a blank sheet of paper, write down several important activities you are delaying. Writing down the challenge helps you focus on it. Once you’ve created a plan, step back and imagine challenges that are likely to happen along the way. For example, other projects with shorter deadlines might land on your desk. How will you tackle such challenges in order to keep moving forward with the big task at hand? For every such scenario, have a tactic ready for sticking to your original plan.
Find your “productive environment”
Not every space generates the same level of distraction. Find a great to schedule a time where you can avoid common distractions and then don’t stop until the time is finished.
Create reasonable but firm deadlines
Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late. Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act. My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.
Find the right partners
Having the right people around makes the whole process much more easier, especially if they are the go-getters and hard workers types. Having a companion Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other. I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.
Seek out someone who has already achieved the outcome
What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.
Tell others about your goals
This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.
Stop over-complicating things
There’s never the “best time” to get started. That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything. Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination.
There’s a reward at the end
Remind yourself at every step that you’ll feel incredibly happy when you get the task off your plate once and for all.