Eliminate Procrastination From Your Life
How often do you end your day wishing that you had an extra hour in the day? By adopting a few very simple time management strategies, you can have exactly that. The amazing truth is that it won’t even require radical changes, just some small tweaks and a dose of self discipline. The fastest way to see huge improvements in your effectiveness and efficiency is for you to eliminate procrastination from your life completely.
Procrastination is a major time drain and we are all guilty of avoiding difficult or unpleasant tasks. We have to learn to reduce our perfectionist tendencies and stop having unrealistically high self imposed performance standards. These tendencies very often stem from fear of failure or lack of self confidence. It is always easier to blame failure on lack of time rather than face up to our own shortcomings. These shortcomings we see in ourselves are in reality self imposed and are not based on any actual facts.
I was such an expert at procrastination at one time that I could have written a book on how to do it. I was so effective at avoiding tasks that I was even able to fool myself that I was busy and did not have enough time in my day to do the things that really mattered. I would come home after a really hectic day at work, exhausted, having given my all, or so I thought. When in reality I was just spinning my wheels feeling busy for the sake of being busy. I was doing a lot of things every day, but very few were delivering the results I desired. Do you know anyone like that?
You must develop a new set of success habits, one of which must tackle the very real but unpleasant task of dealing with procrastination. Please read the five keys to overcoming procrastination below. After reading the article please use the free resource at the bottom of this article to develop a strategy to permanently remove procrastination from your life.
Five Keys to Overcome Procrastination
- Consider these two natural laws:
- Natural Law 1: We tend to procrastinate and avoid tasks that are complex, unpleasant, or uninteresting, regardless of their priority.
- Natural Law 2: We do what we value most at the moment; the more we invest ourselves in something, the more we value it.
2. Identify specifically what tasks or issues you are procrastinating.
3. Determine why you are procrastinating (remember the natural laws!).
4. Choose some strategies to accomplish the task. (See list below.)
5. Schedule the task in your planner and celebrate when you do it!
There are 16 different strategies that I recommend to help eliminate procrastination, none of them are better than the others, but some may be easier to apply in your specific circumstances. The list below is by no means the only strategies available. Should you have any other recommendations please feel free to share them with me.
Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Time Management System
These strategies are not listed in order of effectiveness—choose the ones that you find most helpful and resonate with you
A. Delete, delegate, purposefully defer, or do the task.
B. Become accountable to yourself or to someone for doing the task. Having to account for your action can motivate you to do the task. Commit to someone to do it by a certain time or day, and ask them to follow up with you. (How about asking your Personal Coach to act as your accountability partner?)
C. Reward yourself for doing the task. For example, do something you’re looking forward to only after you’ve done the thing you’re procrastinating. Celebrate when you take the first step and when you take the last step. If it’s complex, make the reward your last intermediate step.
D. Change your paradigm about the thing procrastinated:
- Choose action not delay—think of the Nike slogan, “Just do it!”
- Realize that it’s better to start on the task even if you have to change your plan than to postpone the task. For instance, don’t put off a complex task because you worry about doing it incorrectly.
- Identify the value that is tied to the task. If the task is not important, delete it.
E. Brainstorm ways to make unpleasant tasks fun, complex tasks simple and uninteresting tasks interesting.
F. Do unpleasant tasks with someone or something you enjoy. For example, exercise to music or with friends.
G. Start complex projects right away by breaking them into smaller pieces that you can start on easily and quickly and that contribute to the end result. Small, simple tasks provide momentum and involve you in accomplishing the project.
H. Schedule and block out time for the task. You’re allowed to postpone the task until then, but decide ahead of time that when the scheduled task comes up, you’ll do it.
I. Focus on the benefits that will come to you when you finish the task.
J. Ask yourself: “If I’m going do the task anyway, what are the costs of delaying it?”
K. Set the timer for 15 minutes and get started! You can do anything for 15 minutes.
L. Give yourself permission to decline a task someone gives you, especially if it doesn’t contribute to your roles, mission, values or goals. Be courageous and considerate in saying no. If people continually bring you unimportant tasks or projects, you may need to change the culture or system.
M. Schedule time to do the task when you have the most energy.
N. Listen to yourself. (The solution you seek is already within your thoughts!)
O. List all the ways that you can accomplish your task.
P. Do it as the first task of the day.
Please use the worksheet below to help you develop a plan that will help you eliminate procrastination and develop a new set of success habits.
Choose 5 strategies from the above strategies that resonate with you and will assist you to eliminate procrastination from your life.
In the second column, write down that action you will take to facilitate making these strategies part of your new habit set.
Begin taking action daily to apply these in your life.
|E.g.: Become accountable to yourself or someone else for difficult or unpleasant tasks||E.g.: Compile a list of task that I am procrastinating and share this with my Coach and give him time frames to hold me accountable to.|
If you want to ensure that you always arrive at your chosen destination and that you are never left stranded alongside the roadside. You must always check your fuel before embarking on any journey and top your fuel as necessary, during the journey.
To guarantee your success; you must do the same for your persistence and perseverance. Ensure that you have enough perseverance and persistence in your tank, before embarking on any journey to meaningful achievement.
This is best achieved, by making sure that you have a crystal clear understanding of the reason why you want to achieve anything in your life. Keep topping up, adding large doses of persistence and perseverance along the way, by constantly reviewing and rewarding your progress.
Perseverance and persistence guarantee success. Whilst procrastination is like a thief that sneaks into your life and steals your dreams and sabotages your success. Procrastination is the polar opposite of perseverance and either results in you never getting started or if you do get started, robs you of your passion and commitment to finish.
That wiley thief procrastination sneaks into your life in many different disguises. One of which is the perfectionist that is waiting for things to be perfect before taking any action or that there are too many distractions that are stopping me and my all time favorite, “I Don’t have enough time”.
These excuses that we conjure up to explain our irrational reasons for allowing procrastination to steal our dreams and rob us of our potential has nothing to do with the real reasons why we procrastinate.
The real reasons, why we procrastinate, are mainly based on our innate fear of failure (FEAR – Failure, Expected and Realized). We become paralyzed by FEAR and we do nothing
Whether we never get to start or whether we never get to finish anything, the ultimate outcome remains the same, we remain stuck in mediocrity. You remain overwhelmed by the tasks that lie before you and you are allowing yourself to be stopped by the negative vision of what the future holds for you.
This negative picture you create, in which you see yourself being criticized or laughed at, is really only a mechanism that you have created in your head. This helps you to justify your inactivity and allows you to keep doing nothing. It is a really powerful, negative mental tool that you use against yourself all the time.
I want to offer a solution to this dilemma and show you how to turn procrastination into perseverance. This simple process requires using two very powerful principles that foster persistence and perseverance and thereby help you to eliminate procrastination from your life.
Break any dream, goal or desired outcome back into bite size chunks. No matter what you are attempting to achieve, the secret to success and converting procrastination into perseverance is to break the huge ominous task back into manageable, bite size chunks.
Focus your energy on achieving one small chunk at a time. Focus only on what is in front of you at that moment and never expend energy thinking about the entire process that lies ahead of you. Substitute real-time positive thinking about what is achievable right now, for the negative future thinking about how ominous the goal or dream looks and how unachievable the big picture looks.
If you wanted to write a 1000 page novel and you viewed that goal as one large outcome. You would justifiably feel overwhelmed and not want to get started. If on the other hand you decided to write only 2 pages every day for the next 18 months. Would that feel more achievable and is that something you could tackle?
The outcome would be the same after 18 months. You would have written over 1000 pages of your novel, but by breaking the huge goal back into bite size chunks, you will overcome your tendency to procrastinate and you get the task done.
To many people, the commitment to keep filling two pages every day for the next two years may also seem overwhelming and unachievable. So what if you set yourself a goal to write two pages for only today. Is that something that feels achievable and believable to you?
When you follow this time management system you will discover the secret is not to look forward at what lies ahead, but to simply complete one small bite size chunk at a time, day after day. When you create the discipline to tackle any big goals, one day at a time you will begin to accomplish things you never thought were possible for you.
The second simple technique for defeating procrastination and turning it into perseverance is to plan your days in advance. During your planning sessions each evening, write down exactly what you are going to need to do each day and set time aside to carry out these important tasks. I call these time slots, where you devote time to creating the future you want “Meetings with your future”
When you commit to break any large goal into bite size, manageable chunks, you plan your days in advance, writing down exactly what you will do each day and you set time aside to carry out these actions, you have discovered the secret to turning procrastination into perseverance and you can achieve anything and everything you set your mind to.