Procrastination is the art of putting things off until later. Those of us who are natural procrastinators will know how frustrated we get with ourselves once we either have to rush to get things done at the last minute, or worse, end up not getting them done at all. Without any further introduction here are my 5 tips to stop procrastinating:
Have a look at distractions and get rid!
We all have something which is guaranteed to distract us from what we actually are meant to be doing. Mine is news websites – can’t get enough of them. For others it will be Facebook or Twitter. Maybe you get tempted to put on the TV and just see what is on, then get absorbed. Take a few minutes to think about what distracts you from what you need to be doing, and work out a strategy for switching it off. You can even use it as a reward – for example, once I have finished drafting this report, or doing the laundry, I will be free to catch up on Twitter. Easier said than done, but in this noisy world switching off is occasionally necessary.
Start at the end
Start at the end result and work back through your schedule, breaking whatever project you need to have completed down into steps and schedule time to complete each step. Give each step a deadline, so that you don’t need to spend all your Sunday fine-tuning Monday’s presentation, but can work on it gradually throughout the week. Smaller stages will also help with the overwhelming feeling of starting a big project.
Tell others what you are doing.
If possible enlist someone to be your buddy. Voicing what you need to be doing makes it more real, and you will feel more accountable. A buddy can act as your sounding board, and anyone you tell of your plans will ask you about them next time they speak to you. This may help you stay motivated to get the job done.
4. Clear goals
Look at what your goals are and try and get them as clear as possible in your mind. This will eliminate any extra but unnecessary work you may have done to get there, and will also remind you of the benefits of getting them done. Keep the goals simple. Ask yourself what you stand to gain from getting the task done, or even what you stand to lose from not doing them. Having really clear goals to work towards will help with the distractions too.
Just start whatever it is. Now. Yes, planning is important, but sometimes we can spend too much time planning. When you were at school did you draw up beautiful colour coded revision planners? How LONG did that take you? Sometimes the best way to get things done is to JFDI. Just effing do it. And once you start you may find there isn’t as much to do as you thought. Procrastination is often about being overwhelmed at what feels like a huge task, but might well be as simple as just effing doing it.
Right. No more excuses. If you want it done, it’s time to get on with it!
What have you been putting off? What are your tips to stop procrastinating?