Procrastination has always been a cheat of your precious time. But we still procrastinate.We keep postponing until it’s almost too late, then we begin rushing to get it done.
Instead of doing your work, you are mostly fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email constantly, switching browser tabs to watch videos, surf blogs, check out tweets and update Facebook. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.
If you are still a victim of procrastination, this might help you.
–Start by eliminating your procrastination pit-stops
If it’s a habit you have to try even harder because habits don’t just disappear in a week or two
You are the only one standing in your own way. You make it easy to procrastinate with the set-up you live by at your desk or office. Identify your bookmarks or sites that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the immediate digital distractions around you.
–Start and follow the one thing rule
Commit to doing one productive thing a day related to work or personal productivity. That could be as simple as meeting with your accountant, eating healthy today, reading a chapter of that book you bought ( but have not managed to complete even a single chapter).
You can and will likely do more than one thing, but the trick is that your measure of success or achievement for the day is just the one, which is a very manageable benchmark to meet.
–Stop looking for a perfect time.
Are you waiting for a perfect time to do that task or start that project? There can never be a best time to do anything. The perfect time is now. You may have convinced yourself that now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? But come tomorrow, you will still give yourself an excuse. Just get on with it.
–Re-clarify your goals (get rid of your fuzzy goals)
Get away from your work ( take a short break, take some time off) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not,what can you do about it?
According to Jim Stone (Personal Productivity Consultant, Developer, Philosopher), when you have fuzzy goals, you are likely to think things like this:
1. “Why am I doing this project?”
2. “What should the final product look like?”
3. “How will people actually benefit from this?”
4. “Should I work on this now, or is something else more important?
–And here are some of his strategies for dealing with fuzzy goals.
1. Ask yourself why you’re doing the project. When you do this, you will come up with some purpose.Then ask yourself why you’re pursuing that purpose. And keep doing that until your project is set within the context of your whole life.
2. After all this, it might turn out you don’t have a good reason to work on this project, and that you need to work on another project.
3. Work out the relative importance of all your projects, so you can make sure you’re working on your most important project.
This is what Oliver Emberton, founder of Silktide ( read and lived over 200 self-improvement books) had to say about procrastination:
–Forget logic. Once you’ve decided to do something, logic and rationale won’t help you. Your inner reptile can be placated, scared and excited. But it doesn’t speak with language and cannot be reasoned with.
–Nurture discipline. Build a routine of positive and negative reinforcement. If you want a child to eat their vegetables, don’t give them dessert first. Reward yourself for successes, and set up assured punishments for your failure. Classic examples include committing to a public goal, or working in a team - social pressure can influence your brain to take action.
–Incite emotion. Your reptile brain responds to emotion. That is its language. So get yourself pumped, or terrified. Motivational talks, movies and articles can work, for a while. I use dramatic music.
Picture the bliss associated with getting something done, or the horrors of failing. Make your imagination vivid enough that it shakes you. We use similar tricks on children for a reason: “brush your teeth or they’ll fall out”.
It is hard to stop that habit, but I hope you’ll be okay soon. Good luck.