Need some help tackling procrastination? Try these 8 ideas to kick the habit and get stuff done
1. If it takes 2 minutes or less, DO IT NOW!
Simple things that can be done quickly don’t need to be put off. Make it a new rule that if it will take 2 minutes or less you’ll do it the moment you think of it. Then it’s done. Easy!
2. Schedule specific times to tackle certain tasks
For longer tasks, schedule a time to get them done. Mark it on your calendar as you would a meeting or important appointment, and STICK TO IT. This is often the forgotten part of goal setting, and a reason we fail to follow through with actions. We set the goal, decide what to do, but fail to schedule a specific time to actually do it. The GROW 4 step process for taking action includes scheduling as an essential step to achieving success.
3. Remind yourself how EASY it is to do
Sounds like a weird idea huh? Often the reason we procrastinate is because the job is NOT easy, and its soooo much easier to sit on the couch, watch TV, or do anything other than what you are supposed to! But what if you chose to see your task as the easier option? Jeff Olsen in his book ‘The Slight Edge’ proposes just this, and suggests that in reality, it’s just as easy to get up and get on with it than not to do it at all. Is it really that hard to return a phone call? Or go get a workout in? No, not really. In most cases the task in front of us is not as hard as we convince ourselves it is, and it’s much easier than we think it is to just get up and get it done!
4. Think about what will happen if you DON’T do it
Another huge reason why we put things off is we don’t realize the impact it is having long term. We tend to focus on the present moment, and look for reasons why we shouldn’t do it right now. Take following up with a business prospect for example – is it really that big of a deal if I don’t call them today? I can always call tomorrow right? Maybe tomorrow will even be better for them! In the short term, putting tasks off may not seem like a big deal, but if we continue this pattern over time, the effect compounds. This is exactly what Olsen refers to as the ‘Slight Edge’ – tackling those small day-to-day tasks that don’t seem like a big deal, but add up to a huge impact on your progress. So is it a big deal if you leave that task until tomorrow? YES! YES IT IS!
5. Eat your frogs
When we have a particularly unpleasant task, we often try to put it off as long as possible. One of my favourite books is by goal setting and sales training expert Brian Tracy, who suggests that the best way to tackle procrastination is to eat your frogs first. Imagine your unpleasant task is a big ugly frog that needs to be eaten. Would you put it off, or just get it out the way so you can get on with your day and forget about it? Tracy suggests the first task you tackle should always be your frog, and that if you have two frogs to eat – eat the uglier one first! I have a little green froggie on my desk to remind me to do my most unpleasant tasks first. This helps me gain momentum and feel that everything from there on out will be a piece of cake!
6. Give it 15 minutes
This is a tried and tested technique recommended by loads of personal development experts – just give it 15 minutes, then you can stop. Typically, once you’ve been at it for 15 minutes your motivation kicks in and you’ll keep going, and if not, at least you’ve got 15 minutes of work done.
7. Get yourself an accountability partner
Have a friend or colleague act as your accountability partner. Tell them what tasks you have to do, and when you plan to do them. Have them check in with you to make sure you did it. Often we are more motivated to do things for others than for ourselves, so if we think we are letting someone down if we don’t follow through, we are more likely to get the job done.
8. Psych yourself up for action!
Need some extra oomph? Try Amy Cuddy’s confidence technique to feel more powerful and ready to tackle the challenge ahead
Do you have any other ideas or techniques that work for you? Please share them below! If you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media – thank you! xxx