“Let me just get on Facebook first!”
Two hours later and you’re still scrolling down the blue-white feed…
Most of us are guilty of it. Whether it’s social media, TV, sleep – procrastination blocks our progress towards our goals. The following list of tips will help you fight procrastination and move into definite action today!
1. Spot Your Enemies
We all have enemies that are blocking us from success. And no, it’s not only TV. Your enemies can often be merely character traits or unfulfilled needs. My list of enemies, for example, includes clutter, hunger, tiredness and perfectionism to name a few. By identifying your enemies you will know what issues you must solve before you can start any task or work.
Make a list of your five worst enemies, print it in large bold letters and hang it on your pinboard.
2. Avoid Guilt and Regret
OK, so you’ve been procrastinating over the last day, month, year or even longer… While it’s painful to admit it, most of us procrastinate to some degree, otherwise most people would be successful. Dwelling on your past is a waste of energy.
Rather than consuming yourself with guilt and regret, learn from your mistakes, grow and create.
3. Minimize Distractions
Have you ever felt like you are so immersed in your task, that you lose the sense of time and space? Being ‘in the zone’ is a precious state we need to be in if we want to create wonderful things. It takes a single distraction to throw us back to ‘reality’ but as long as 15 minutes to get back to our creative state.
When you work, keep distractions like Facebook, email and phones to a minimum. Turn off all the applications and websites you don’t need on your computer or device and keep your workspace clutter free.
4. Find the Productivity Method that Suits Your Personality
There’s no shortage of productivity systems and tools to choose from: To-do list apps, goal setting guides, calendars, David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) and many more. But here’s the thing: Each person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Maybe to-do lists are not your thing but once you’re ‘in the zone’ you get on a creative spree?
Find out what productivity method suits your personality and stick to it.
Develop a Daily Routine
Developing a daily routine is vital for your success, especially if you are self employed. Here’s a basic example:
- 5 am Wake up
- 5:30 am Breakfast
- 6 am Work out
- 7 am Start work
We are creatures of habit and you can easily train yourself to follow a routine. It will take self discipline but the benefits are huge.
While you don’t need to be punctual, having an overall time-frame will help you feel grounded, waste less time on finding what to do next and stay focused on your task at hand.
6. Work Out
If you take one tip from this article, make it this one. Besides the obvious health benefits, sticking to a fitness regime will help you stay energized, positive and focused on your tasks. You don’t have to subscribe or go to the gym. There are plenty of great fitness programs you can get online, some of which require no more than 30 minutes of daily work.
The key is to select a fitness program you like and to stick to it.
7. Manage Your Energy
Everybody’s talking about time management. But here’s the thing: Time cannot be managed… Time goes by whether we like it or not and we all get the same 24 hours a day. The good news is that you can still manage your energy!
If you’re a morning person like me, spend the early hours when you’re at the top of your game in the more complicated tasks and leave the lighter ones for later. Work in long, task focused sessions and take breaks in between.
8. Do What You Love
If you’re doing something you’re not excited about, you’re much more likely to drag it and find any excuse to put it off. If, however, you’re following your passion, you will be so eager to work and you’ll enjoy every minute of it. In fact, it may not even feel like work at all.
Always choose jobs and projects that make you drool!
9. Break Your Tasks Down
It’s very hard to stick to a task when you don’t see the end. It’s much easier to move forward though, if you break your big task down into smaller, manageable micro tasks. For example, a school paper task could go like this:
- First draft
- Spell checking
- Foot notes
Cross off each completed micro task. This will give you instant gratification and a feeling of triumph which, in turn, will encourage you to move on to the next mini task.
10. Reward Yourself
- What is your vice?
- Is it chocolate? Pizza? Or maybe Family Guy?
- We all have our guilty pleasures.
If you feel like you’ve worked hard and accomplished a lot today, treat yourself. You deserve it!
Rewarding yourself will make you feel great and will give you an incentive to work even harder the next day.
11. Burn the Boats
When Cortés landed in Mexico, back in the 1500s, he ordered his men to sink (or burn, according to some versions) his ships. By doing so he tried to prevent some of his own warriors to escape back to Cuba. Indeed, sometimes burning your boats is the only way forward.
Be brave and don’t be afraid to burn your boats. It will open your eyes to new opportunities and force you into action.
12. Over-Learning Equals Procrastination
iPads, cellphones, laptops, the Internet, Google…
With today’s technology most information is just a few clicks away. But remember: While educating yourself is key to success in your field, keep it within reason. Becoming a knowledge junkie is simply another form of procrastination.
Get the education you need to get started and then take action, implementing what you have learned.