How often do you finish what you start?
How often do you finish what you start on time?
How often do you find the deadline is 1 hour away and you haven't even gotten started!
Yeah – you know what I'm talking about.
I'm sure you have something on your plate at the moment that you are using every excuse in the world to put off.
Most of us push important tasks into the future – saying things like I'll get to it later or right after I finish this non-critical task (like Facebook updates!).
The harsh reality is action can ONLY happen in the present.
Procrastination is a common enemy we all face and taking steps to eliminate it is necessary for success.
This article lists out those steps to a better life.
Now stop procrastinating and read the rest of this article. 🙂
#1 Being Busy Does Not Mean Being Effective
There is a perception that being busy is the perfect sign of productivity.
Those that think this are often shocked when they learn the reverse is actually true.
According to a study done by the Journal of Marketing Research, being too busy along with a demanding schedule increases stress levels dramatically resulting in less effective work.
Times have changed. We now live in a technological world where contacts and work from across the globe are at our fingertips.
We do not have to be at the mercy of this new world.
Your first step is to get back to your roots and determine WHY you do what you do.
Eliminate all the noise and day-to-day tasks that take up all your time without providing value.
#2 Prioritize Tasks
If you could reduce your to-do list I am sure you would jump at the chance.
This is easier said than done.
An alternative that is just as good is to create a list of priorities for yourself. Your priorities could be split any way you like.
Here is one I like using:
1. Make a note of your core tasks – This can be done on paper a digital spreadsheet or even your mind!
List out all of the items you have to complete today.
Don't worry about assigning priorities yet. Having this digital is best as you can move things around with ease.
2. Categorize – Try to put your tasks into buckets. For example – create a column listing your personal tasks and your business tasks. You can drill down on this as much as you need.
3. Prioritize – Now you can set priorities. What are some of the things that have to be done today? What can be pushed to a future date? Use this to prioritize accordingly.
Another alternative is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. His approach goes something like this:
- Urgent and important – Tasks that have to be done today
- Important, but not urgent – Tasks that can be done later
- Urgent / not important – These tasks need to be done but do not require your direct input.
- Neither urgent or important – Low priority and possibly ones you can remove
#3 Schedule Instead of Making a To-Do List
While to-do lists are a great starting point in getting organized they don't do a good job in taking action.
I am a fan of scheduling and feel that you should be too.
Having a list of dozens or even hundreds of items can become overwhelming and there is no clear cut way to take action on them.
With a schedule, you have dedicated a specific date and time to complete the task and also eliminate the possibility of other booking your time.
Overall a win-win!
#4 Make Detailed Breakouts
I like to-do lists, I honestly do.
But sometimes they just don't provide the information necessary to get the job done.
I can recall countless times where an item to be completed today looked simple on paper but in reality needed many steps to complete.
This can be frustrating.
Instead – breaking down your tasks proves to be much more effective.
Go into as much detail as possible listing each step that has to be taken to complete a task from beginning to completion.
It is also a good idea to add in some buffer to give you some breathing room when the unexpected happens.
Breaking down your tasks provides a more accurate picture of what you can accomplish in a given day.
#5 Do What's Important First
Procrastination will always rear its ugly head when a task that requires effort comes up.
The best way to handle this is to take on procrastination directly.
Once you decide what needs to be done today, make every effort to get the job done early.
If you can complete your tasks first thing in the morning will do wonders to your mood knowing that the stuff you would have put off is already complete.
#6 Hold Yourself Accountable
A true challenge for us all.
Being able to hold yourself accountable is a great way to avoid procrastination and accomplish your goals.
The tough part is this requires a tremendous amount of willpower.
You can combat this by having an accountability buddy – someone who you can speak with at a pre-arranged time to hold you accountable to your goals.
There are also some great online programs available like our very own called I Will Do This Today.
#7 Reward Yourself
What's the point of all that effort if you have nothing to enjoy along the way?
That's why it's important to give yourself small rewards.
Rewarding yourself gives you an incentive to complete a task that is either difficult or not enjoyable.
The key to remember is the rewards are spread out in a way that keeps you motivated.
Getting a reward for your efforts every 3 months is not as inspiring as getting one a week.
#8 Consider Paying For Help
There is nothing wrong with paying for help on your way to success.
In fact – I encourage it!
There are two ways you can best make use of bringing in some professional help to eliminate procrastination from your life:
1. You will work with experts – If you choose your services right, the people you pay should be an expert in what they do.
This should help fast track the results you see in eliminating procrastination.
2. You will take it seriously – Whenever I spend money on something I make darn sure that I get my money's worth!
I am sure you will feel the same way. Spending your hard earned cash on something makes you take it more seriously compared to getting it for free.
#9 Make it Public
One of the great things about social media is that anyone has the ability to have an audience.
This is great for being held accountable for something.
If you have a task that you want to out of the way but don't have the motivation to get started, post about it on social media.
It's amazing what the risk of others potentially being exposed to our inactivity or failures gets us moving.
It really is an extra layer of motivation that can serve you well on those tasks that won't go away.
In conclusion – procrastination can be eliminated with careful planning and setting up systems so you are automatically prompted to succeed!