In August, I conducted a poll asking you what challenge you face most often and promised to write a post on the challenge most faced. The choices were procrastination/delaying, managing your time, dealing with difficult people, being organized and handling stressful situations. The winner was……(drum roll) procrastination/delaying!
Before I write anything else, I want to thank those of you who responded to the poll!
Now, to write about your challenge and how to overcome it. It took me awhile to decide what to say new because I have written about procrastination before. (see June 25, 2010 post) Or maybe I was just procrastinating. Anyway, I decided to share my tips, the things I do, when I realize I am procrastinating (yes, I still have that challenge).
Tips to Combat Procrastination:
- Ask why does the task need to be done. Or in the in the words of Andy Andrews, “What do I really want?” When I establish the importance of doing a task, it helps me to focus on getting the task done.
- Think about the task you have decided is important and write down the necessary steps to complete the task. In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen points out when doing a To Do list, people focus solely on the main task and forget about the steps that have to be performed to accomplish the main task. By looking at the steps, I don’t feel compelled to complete the main task in one swoop. This “how do you eat an elephant – one bite at a time” approach helps me to keep moving forward one step at a time. And, as I complete each step, I check it off. Done!
- Focus on the benefit of finishing the task. For example, if it is important to you to paint your bedroom, instead of focusing on the effort to move furniture, put down drop clothes and put up painter’s tape, focus on how serene, clean and beautiful your sleeping space will be when you finish. In other words, focus on what your life will look like.
- Reward yourself. If there is a movie I really want to see (I am a movieholic), that’s my reward. Or I get to watch a TV show I like or buy something I want or go to the beach for the day. You get the idea. But if I don’t complete the task, I don’t reward myself.
I hope these tips help you. Remember, procrastination is a choice you make so Just Do It!
Question for Comment: What do you do when you find yourself procrastinating?
(originally posted September 17, 2010)