Are you very creative when it comes to thinking up excuses?! Would you rather be a beach bum than get on with the really important things in life?
Having fun on the beach is of course fine – as long as you have made the time for it 🙂
Procrastination is the art of putting things off and most of us are highly skilled at doing this!
Our excuses for not doing something may temporarily make us feel better, but excuses do not pay your business bills. They simply allow us to justify not taking action.
With the business world getting tougher by the day, can you afford to be so slack?
By putting things off until the last minute, you waste a lot of time and energy worrying about them. There is a simple way of breaking out of this trap – get into action.
Whatever you wish to accomplish, start right now. When you’re truly committed to reaching a set goal, there will always be something that can be done right away, so get started. Action gets you where you want to go. Excuses hold you back. The choice is yours. So what are you waiting for?
Ask yourself – what I am procrastinating about? Make a list of everything that you can think off, identify the most unpleasant job on your to do list and get stuck into it first, before you do anything else.
This will give you a great psychological boost and set you up for success. Everything else will seem easy. When faced with a large onerous task, break it down into small chunks and allocate say 15 minutes to it every day. Then chip away steadily and soon you will feel that you are making rapid progress.
By putting off the difficult tasks until the end of the day or the end of the week, you are simply allowing them to become more daunting. Remember you don’t want to spend your weekends catching up.
Also ask yourself what things you can give up that are not necessarily helping you create the life you want.
What 3 things can you give up this week that will stop wasting your time?
For example, a nephew about to take his GCSEs cut down on watching TV by half an hour each week until he was watching less than 2 hours a week.
Do you constantly check your email in-box every few minutes? Well, then stop it from today!
To get really motivated for action reflect on what it’s costing you to put things off. You are simply building up a lot of future pain and stress by not doing it now. Just feel that pain! Then imagine your rosier future if the task was to be completed now. Visualise how great you will feel once you have completed a long put off task.
Tell yourself that you deserve better. Grit your teeth and get determined to have a procrastination-free life. Tell yourself you are worth it. To help you get started, here are some tips:-
1. Plan your time
At the end of each day plan the next. In your to-do list include long term projects as well as the more imminent things that need doing.
2. Prioritise your to-do list
Sounds really obvious but do the most important things first. It is amazing how we let less important but easier tasks come in the way of that vital action.
Review your master to-do list of and question yourself if a task is even important to you anymore. Perhaps you can simply drop it.
3. Tackle the toughest task first
Start this at the beginning of the day or when your energy is the highest.
4. Be accountable
Make yourself accountable for completing your tasks to another person who is interested in your success. Choose someone who will not be critical if you fail. Such a support structure alone will help you greatly to eliminate procrastination.
5. Be selfish for a while
Demand what you need in order to create some breathing space in your life. You will then have that initial reserve of time to eliminate those things you have been procrastinating.
6. Keep your deck clear
Once you have cleared all outstanding tasks, make sure you don;t pile up things again. Be ruthless and take care of a task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For example, sort your morning post immediately in one go – open it, file it, act on it or trash it there and then.
Always remember the “3D” rule – do it, dump it or delegate it – never handle a piece of paper twice.
7. Take care of yourself
Look after your health. This is key as sometimes we procrastinate simply because we are just too tired to take on another thing. Have an early night at least once a week, with ideally eight hours of sleep.
8. Reward yourself
Pat yourself on the back when you finish any task and especially something that you saw as difficult or challenging, and one that had been put off for a while.
Choose a personal reward that really excites you, and something that will encourage you to tackle even more of those outstanding tasks.
Just think about how much more time you will now have for fun.
If you are in business, then think about your bottom line. That should be enough to spur you into action.
Have a fun and productive week of action.