- It all begins with action
Resolve to get started or just take a step.
- Motivation gets you started but habits keep you going
Identify the one or two habits that are in your way and try to replace them with something more productive. If your habit is to check your email when you come home – and then get lost in surfing on line, resolve to replace that habit with something else until you cure yourself of it.
- Write your goals down
AND, add a completion date. Post your goals in front of you in a prominent place. Prioritize them and choose your top three. Focus on ONLY THOSE for one month and see what happens.
- Develop a plan of action and design a realistic schedule
Procrastination is often due to a lack of pre-work. Some tasks are too big to handle without putting some thought into the pre-planning necessary to complete them. Are you procrastinating because you have not completed the necessary steps to get the entire project moving?
- Revisit Routines
Do you have regular routines? How do you stay on track with all the things you have to do? Maintenance tasks, chores and errands are often cyclical. Grouping them into like tasks and scheduling time for them will help you stay up to date. Laundry used to be my nemesis. It was ALWAYS hanging over my head. One load would be in the dryer, piles of folded clothes were in everyone’s room… It just NEVER felt like it was DONE! The day I decided I would do laundry on Mondays and Thursdays, I finally got it under control! By declaring those two days as laundry days, all the other days were open for other things. This one decision created a routine, forced me to ‘complete’ the laundry cycles so that task wasn’t constantly hanging over my head.
- Avoid Overwhelm
My sister and I have very different strengths. While I enjoy the spontaneity and freedom of having many options and opportunities, her mind becomes challenged when too many options are available. During one visit when she wanted something to drink, she opened my fridge and saw juice, milk, water, iced tea, lemonade, beer, wine and coffee. They were all available right there in front of her, staring her in the face. Instead of deciding on what she wanted, she just stood there blinking at the refrigerator shelf. When faced with too many options, some people shut down. If this represents you, avoid them by pre-selecting things you like and limiting your choices.
- Watch out for fence-sitting
Have the courage to make decisions with less than 80% of the facts. Delay decisions only until you have enough information don’t hold out and wait for all the information. It is most often an unrealistic expectation.
- Chunk It
Break up your projects into small pieces and avoid “all or nothing” thinking. Many projects are too involved and detailed to conquer unless you break them into smaller mini goals and further into do-able tasks. Just like you can’t “boil the ocean”, you can only do one thing at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
- Recognize Perfectionistic Procrastination
Perfectionists often procrastinate because they are challenged with doing things perfectly. “Perfection is the worst enemy of good enough.” Perfectionism can paralyze. If you are a perfectionist-in-paralysis, call me! Let’s see if I can help you remove your barriers and get in action.
- Close Your Open Loops
One key trick I learned from David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, is the time management practice of closing your open loops: an open loop is anything that stays on your mind because you’ve accepted some responsibility for it. To close your open lists,
first – look at your list of to dos and other items and select one.
second – determine what your intended outcome is likely to be and write it down.
third – write out the very next action you have to take to get closer to that outcome.
fourth – if you really want to close it… schedule time to take that next action!
Suddenly that open item that was on your mind has some closure by defining your intended outcome and a next action. This process works for me every time.
Photo by Don Pablo | Shutterstock