So today I’m focusing on the old effectiveness enemy ‘procrastination’ to help you get passed any inertia you might be struggling with.
Procrastination is many people’s worst enemy to personal effectiveness.
It’s a tiresome habit that can ruin great plans and ideas and one that can cause hours of frustrations. Yet for many, it seems impossible to stop and shake off. Give my fixes below a go and rejuvenate some of that motivation and kick start the momentum!
The 12 quick procrastination fixes
1. Balance Your Challenge
To get going with a goal it needs to be challenging enough to feel motivating, whilst not so challenging that it overwhelms you. This is an important balance, as when it’s not stricken well, we either feel ‘underwhelmed’ and can’t be bothered to start, or we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to. So strike the right balance to avoid paralysis!
2. Reward v Penalty
Two things make us take action – we either run away from pain or we’re running towards pleasure. For some, the idea of losing something is more compelling and for others the idea of gaining something is more powerful. So add a reward or penalty to your goal – a night out, facial or day off to reward an achievement of a goal or pay money to a charity, offer to baby sit or do another early morning shift at work if you don’t achieve it. If you chose to attach a penalty, make sure you tell someone about it beforehand. So there’s no way out!
4. Start Now!
Procrastinators tend to be time optimists! The potential traffic jam, last minute phone call or getting lost is never accounted for. So we keep putting off getting starting! Double the time you think something will take and get going. What’s the problem with finishing early anyway?
5. Dive In
Procrastinators often distract themselves with the easy or fun stuff on the list. Stop avoiding the tough or boring stuff and get that ticked off the list first. After that, it will be plain sailing and you can fully enjoy the good bits as you haven’t got a bad conscience!
6. Change Your State
Stand up, look out the window, change position, go outside. Do something to change your mood and your perspective.
7. Pick Your Company
We tend to copy the people around us to fit in. If we mix with achievers and doers, we are much more likely to get cracking ourselves.
8. Make it Achievable
Perhaps as a child you heard the riddle: ‘How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at the time.’ It’s wise advice and one that is helpful to remember. So break your task or goal into small chunks. Concentrate only on one chunk at a time and pat yourself on the back each time you finish one.
9. Time Dedication
Do you feel you need to have an uninterrupted time slot of minimum an hour to focus on a task? Try using 15-minute slots instead. You’ll find many more and they soon add up to an hour and more!
10. Five Minutes Only Promise
Do it for only five minutes. When the time is up, decide whether you want to continue. If you do, continue for another five minutes. Review and then, if you want, add another five minutes. And another. Soon the momentum is up and running and you’ve completed the whole task!
11. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time
Procrastinators often think the timing and conditions have to be just so before they get started. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect time so accept that and get cracking!
12. Make a Decision
Similarly, some worry about committing to one course of action or one decision, because they fear they’ll miss out. What if there’s something better around the corner? Whilst you’re stalling, you’re achieving nothing. A potentially less good option is a lot better than non at all!