Procrastination eats away from our very existence. We lose focus and put off our tasks causing us to be less productive, less effective, and even less successful in both careers and personal life.
Everyone is guilty of procrastinating to some degree. We find it easier to focus on the things in life that are easier and end up putting off the toughest tasks for a later time. Maybe you think you work better under the pressure of knowing you are approaching a deadline or just are easily distracted with unimportant things that pop up throughout your day. Whatever the cause of your procrastinating, it is time to take the bull by the horns and start living a more effective, task oriented, and meaningful life!
So stop looking for Squirtel and let’s get to work!
Bite Sized Morsels
When dealing with a project, you may find that the enormity of it is just too overwhelming. The thought of not being able to complete the whole thing may prevent you from diving in and getting your feet wet.
If the task at hand is getting the house clean, break it up into little jobs. Sometimes having items to cross off our list can be a big motivator because we can see the progress we are actually taking. This allows us to make a plan, follow through, and see where we are along the way.
Having a list to check off gives a visual reinforcement so you can get a small psychological reward each time you check the next item off.
Do the Thing You Least Look Forward To
Often times, we procrastinate because we don’t look forward to something that is coming up. It may be a tedious project, calling back an irate client, or disciplining an employee. These things can all make us become uncomfortable. What happens is that you just continue to prioritize other things ahead of that one as they come in, regardless of their importance. This is like the classic philosophy about a Band-Aid – just get it done and over with quickly. The more you take your time, the worse it is going to be.
Don’t Work Alone
One of the worst things that slows our progress is biting off more than we can do alone. Sometimes having someone to co-pilot a project helps us to navigate. Not only does the extra set of hands make the project go faster, it helps us to make progress to divide up the responsibilities so each participant can focus on the areas he/she is best at. Additionally, having a second person to bounce ideas off can help to reinvigorate you into something that you may have been getting bored with on your own. Finally, having that extra person can tell you if you’re having a really bad idea and point you back in the right direction so you don’t go down the wrong path and waste a lot of time before you jump to that conclusion on your own.
Put Your Project and Yourself Out There
As you probably have told yourself before, you work best under pressure or a deadline, so creating your own pressure and your own deadlines can really turn up the heat to get something done. Put yourself out there on social networks, with your friends, and with your family to tell them what you’re working on and when it will be done. If it is something work related, tell your boss or co-workers what it is you’re working on and what will be done when. This works for anything that you have a hard time getting motivated on from writing to weight loss.
We don’t want to look like a fool to the people in our lives so we will go the extra mile to get things done when we say we will. Having a self-imposed deadline that you make everyone aware of will help to get things done to avoid the embarrassment of admitting failure. The only downside to this is that you will be putting yourself under more pressure, but you work best that way right?
Sometimes ending a bout of procrastination is just a matter of finding your muse. Listen to music, go for a jog, or look at some artwork. Do whatever it is that gets you excited and sparks your imagination. Sometimes the best way to get to work is to take 15 minutes dedicated to not working. Use that time to ignite your passion for your project.
Just Do It
One of the biggest things that makes me procrastinate is the desire to make everything perfect. You must abandon the concept that something is going to be perfect right out of the gate. Things very rarely happen this way. Great pieces of art, great writing, and successful projects in business don’t normally happen through some divine intervention; they happen because someone puts the effort in without being afraid of making mistakes.
Just put the pen to paper, brush to canvas, or whatever is appropriate for what your project is. Rough it out. Get a draft going and find the flaws. Success comes from making changes and improvement, not by being perfect on the first attempt. Just get something done – get anything done. From there, you can make changes and tweak it. Ask for feedback and make revisions. You will not only find that you are better at getting things done, the quality of your projects will improve greatly.
I figured I would throw the Sum 41 song Motivation in here. It does a pretty good job of showing just how frustrated we can all get sometimes when trying to motivate ourselves to be productive.