Procrastination – two week programme to remedy
I spent two days wondering what article to write about, then it dawned on me, I was putting it off. So, with an element of irony, here’s how to avoid that dreaded procrastination.
Whether a work style that you’ve allowed to become addicted to or a malaise helping you feel terrible about things not yet accomplished, procrastination affects us all in some degree or other.
In particular, procrastination affects our inner peace and our calmness - and not always consciously. How often do you feel fidgety and not totally relaxed when you know there are tasks to be done, especially ones you don’t enjoy?
It affects us all in some way and we can let it take control. So here are 10 tips to help take back the control that procrastination has over you:
Clear your work place
A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Piles of paper, post-it notes etc can distract you and stop you from focusing on the job in hand. Only keep what you’re working on in front of you, file the rest in to-do trays, or file them, period.
Set realistic goals by breaking the big picture down. Set small, achievable goals with realistic deadlines.
I once had a client who bought himself an iPad when he achieved his overall goal. Personally, I like to treat myself to a really nice cup of coffee and chill for half hour to celebrate an accomplishment. Even if it's just a small accomplishment, you should reward yourself. Scale it according to the likely result of succeeding.
Learn new skills
How will that help? Learning to achieve the next level of competency, such as dancing, rock climbing, photography etc, helps you look to the next level of aspiration. I started karate some 30 years ago and this helped me through my whole career (not necessarily the way that you may be thinking).
Negative inner voices
Internal dialogue can win over, however, we use a tool called mind-chatter which allows other elements to subdue and put it in its place. Try it: when doubt creeps in, run some ‘positive’ arguments about why it will work. Start to run with the positives.
Playing the victim
Stop glorifying how you’re the victim of circumstances. Stand tall and leave what’s happened behind, and what can happen ahead as a result of your actions. Be proud of what you can accomplish and when your inner ‘victim’ raises its head, tell it who’s boss.
Evaluate and if it’s important enough for you to do, you’ll find a way. If we don’t care for it, we’ll keep putting it off. Go through your tasks and prioritise them, starting with the most important first.
Actually, others can do those tasks and even better than you in some cases. Let the reins go and give someone else the chance, who knows, they could very well enjoy those tasks that you don’t.
Choose a person, it doesn’t matter if they're a supervisor, a junior, a spouse or friend. Tell them you’ve committed to a task that you will start and finish by set time/date, ask them to hold you accountable. Human nature compels us to set objectives if we know others are watching!
Take all of the aforementioned and set about creating some new habits on how you will overcome procrastination. Definition of habit: “settled tendency or practice”. Be positive, be proactive and be aware.
By taking on one step each day (see point three) you should master the skills of overcoming procrastination is just two weeks.