Outsmarting Procrastination

Outsmarting Procrastination

Many of us are challenged by procrastination. The most interesting thing about procrastination, to me, is that we often times spend more time worrying about the fact that we are procrastinating, than the task would actually take to do. Wow! How silly is that! So here are some tips on beating procrastination:

1. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Break it into small short tasks. Do one small task at a time. Now, I know. This seems fairly obvious. We’ve heard this one for years! So, here are some practical tricks for making this tried and true plan actually work for you.

2. DON’T spend too much time planning ahead. We are really great at making the plan or perfecting the list. However, making the plan is just the first small task. Making the plan does not complete the project. Don’t get lost.

3. Be honest. Leave time or a “margin” to procrastinate – because you know you will. Allow time for “fixin’ to get ready to commence to start”. You may even want to leave time for a breakdown, temper tantrum or a couple of distractions. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes to start and only 5 minutes to actually complete the task. If that is reality, schedule that much time. It’s ok.

4. Set a timer. Make it a contest with yourself. This is how I take down my Christmas tree every year. I set a timer and make myself get that tree from up to boxed and in the garage before the timer goes off. It works great!

5. Set the timer for a short period of time, say 20, 10 or even 5 minutes – whatever your attention span is on this project. There are some things we cannot do for more than 5 minutes without a break. Be realistic.

6. Stick to the timer. As soon as you start the timer, start working. Then, when the timer goes off, STOP! We often get sidetracked or hyperfocused on the details of a task. What should take 20 minutes becomes 3 hours. Then, we avoid starting the next task on the list, for fear it will take 3 hours too. Stick to the timer.

7. Avoid distractions. You know your mind will try to wander. So, at the beginning of your task, try extra hard to stay focused. Then, as you begin to make progress, you will become more focused on the task and the distractions will not be as tempting. Protect the time you have set aside. You and your task are important.

8. Dare to be average. Yikes, I can’t believe I said that, but it can be true. Perfection paralysis can happen. DONE trumps perfect every time!

9. Enlist support. Choose, very carefully, someone supportive. Call them daily to report on your wonderful progress. Supportive, guilt-free accountability really helps keep us motivated!

So, remember, beating procrastination is like eating an elephant….…one bite at a time. Good luck becoming an EX-procrastinator!!!!