Give me a minute of your time and I’ll tell you how to kick the procrastination habit.
Wait. Where are you going?
Think you’re too busy to read a quick blog that can help you better manage your time? Don’t you realize that if you manage your time better, you might not be so busy all the time?
Let’s get to it. A lot of these tips are common sense, but if you keep them in mind and put the principles behind them into practice in your daily routine, there’s no doubt you’ll be rewarded with a more efficient, less stressful schedule that perfectly balances your work, your family, your goals and your passions.
Make a list. Do you feel overwhelmed? Procrastination, for many of us, comes from being intimidated by the magnitude of work we face. Here’s the trick to keep up your sleeve: write a to-do list. Making a list of the things you need to do compartmentalizes your time and your effort. It gives you a road map. It transforms a monumental workload from one never-ending journey into a finite series of manageable steps.
Set deadlines (and keep them). What good is a to-do list without deadlines? The road from A to B may be straightforward, but if you stop at every pit stop along the way, you’ll never get to your destination. Go back to that list you made and give every item a deadline. To continue with the automobile analogy, you can think of each deadline as being a mile further from a crowded, polluted metropolis. The more deadlines you put behind you, the fresher the air becomes.
Ditch the distractions. Speaking of pit stops—get rid of them! Distractions cause project delays and derailments. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and Pinterest are great for brief diversions that let your brain recharge. But those diversions have to be few and far between—and they have to last only a few minutes. If you don’t have the self-discipline to keep your online gallivanting to a minimum, unplug completely. Or, if your job requires being online, use a website blocker to eliminate the temptation to goof off.
Get with the go-getters. Look around the office. Who are the achievers? Who has the kind of work ethic you would like to have? Partner with them whenever you can, because great work habits are contagious. The battle against procrastination is half-won when you’re eating lunch with the Employee of the Month.
Wage war on inertia. Long ago, survival was the ultimate goal humans set for themselves. If we had food and shelter, there was really no good reason for us to stick our necks out and risk everything for some esoteric goal. There’s a part of your brain that seems to cajole you any time you dream big. It’s the part of your brain that sends doubt and fear down like rain on a parade. There’s no way to turn it off, so you have to practice overcoming it. Being safe and having food isn’t enough for you any longer. Being productive and successful, in a way, isn’t natural. You’ll have to go a few steps further to overcome the human tendency to take it easy.