The disease of the poor!
We have all sat down to complete an important task — and then suddenly discovered you were up loading the dishwasher or engrossed watching youtube videos about well anything really? Or perhaps you suddenly realise that the dog needs to be fed, emails need to be answered, your ceiling fan needs dusting — or maybe you should go ahead and have lunch, even though it’s only 11 a.m.?
Next thing you know, it’s the end of the day and that vital and important task you promised yourself that you’d get done remains unfinished.
For many people, procrastination is a strong and mysterious force that keeps them from completing the most urgent and important tasks in their lives with the same strength as when you try to bring like poles of a magnet together. It’s also a potentially dangerous force, causing victims to fail out of school, perform poorly at work,or even put off medical treatment. For business owners it is a curse that keeps us from achieving all that we dream of, it’s what separates the successful business owners from the unsuccessful ones. Procrastination is not just the thief of time, it is the thief of life. When you’re killing time you’re killing life.
Ok so enough of that, how do you get more stuff done and avoid the procrastination that’s holding you back. Here are 8 ways to beat procrastination:-
- Get clear on what you’re wanting to achieve. One of the key reasons why people ‘drift through their day’ is that they do not have REAL clarity of what they are trying to achieve.
- You must run your business and life deliberately.
- You must be conscious in your day to day actions.
Most people aren’t, they do the same things in the same way time and time again and expect different results.. Madness.They let their time be taken without any consciousness about where it’s going and who’s getting it. So get clear on what are you really trying to achieve? You need REAL clarity on:-
- The bigger picture.
- Where what you are doing now fits in the bigger picture.
- And how(if) the two fit together.
Once you think are clear with this… Stop and think again, make sure you have clarity.
- Remember Why… Why you do what you do – who’s it for? what do you want to achieve? Successful people make a habit of doing what unsuccessful people could do but never get round to it. So on a daily basis reminder yourself of Your Why..and think about.
- what would happen if you didn’t achieve your goals
- who would suffer
- is it worth that risk?
Finally think about this: ‘Discipline weighs ounces but regret weighs tons’.
- Break down what you need to do into its component tasks and then do each one separately. Nobody can eat an elephant all in one go, you eat an elephant one bite at a time and it’s the same in getting stuff done. If you procrastinate or find it difficult to meet your commitments, Start Small – complete smaller tasks in a time scale and get into a habit of not stopping until it’s done.
- Everything has a DEADLINE. Deadlines are like girlfriends they need to be treated with respect, honoured and not pushed. The whole project should have a deadline made up of individual deadlines. Each action defined from the previous section needs a specific deadline that you commit to and keep.
Important tip: Do not be tempted to multitask, there’s no such thing as multitasking, all you’re doing is switching from one task to another and each time you switch there is a ‘switching cost’, i.e. you have to remind yourself as to where you were up to. Dave Crenshaw wrote a great book about this called “the myth of multitasking’. Watch Dave’s video (it’s 5 minutes long) here.
- Be serious. If you’re not serious about making it happen it won’t happen. So schedule time in for completing the tasks you need to get done. Make an appointment in your diary with yourself to work on a specific task that needs to be completed. Concentrated Effort is worth way more just Effort, if you truly focus on a task with no interruptions then you can be seriously productive.
Here’s some of what you must do:-
- Don’t be “addicted to struggle”.
- Don’t revel in being busy.
- Don’t do the stuff you can get pay to have done, focus on what only you can do.
Get rid of the stuff you are probably rubbish at it, it takes longer than it should and you do it badly and it COSTS you way more than you think.
- Plan in advance. Know what you’re going to do that day, that week, that month. Make sure whenever you set yourself a session to work on something you know in advance (see number 1!) EXACTLY what you are going to do in that session. It’s not useful to wait until the start of the session to think something up.
- Plan what you’re going to do the night before (the day ain’t over till tomorrow is planned).
- Make sure you structure your day.
- Make sure you have a clock and stick to your deadlines.
- Be Brutal. Only you can let yourself off the hook. Sure it’s not really a problem if you didn’t quite finish that email this morning, no one is going to shout at you -you’re the boss. You can always just finish it off later…This is really dangerous thinking.
Only you can truly make sure you get stuff done – and there really isn’t more time. Because even if there is another hour to finish the email – just think what you could have done with that hour instead.
- J.F.D.I. (Just F*****g Do It). Simple to say hard to do but what is your other option…?
What is so hard / awful/ unpleasant that it stops you doing something that is so critical to your future that you would even give any chance of putting it off until tomorrow??
So whatever you need to get completed simply follow these few tips and you’ll begin to beat the dreaded procrastination and finally start to achieve what you were destined to.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little blog. Check out the others and have a good look around the site. There are lots of free resources and tools to help you become more productive.