Are you procrastinating right now by reading this post when you could be attacking an overflowing Inbox?
Flip the entire pile of paper over and start from the bottom.
Toss items that are no longer pertinent or have dates that have passed and immediately make that pile more manageable.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Reasons for procrastination vary from person to person, and are not always obvious.
Whatever the reason, if you are a procrastinator, be careful! You may be doing more damage than you realize.
Besides wasting time and losing opportunities, research has shown that chronic procrastinators tend to have more health issues, higher stress levels, and lower self-esteem.
Procrastination even causes distrust and can negatively impact relationships.
At the end of the day, if you’re not accomplishing the goals and objectives you’ve set for yourself, it’s very difficult to feel any kind of lasting satisfaction or happiness.
Here are a few tactics to try the next time you find yourself procrastinating:
- Do the Worst Thing First
Attack the most difficult task when your energy is fresh. This will give you the strongest chance of following through. When you’re able to finally check it off your list, chances are you will feel energized and super-productive.
- Start Your Day Over at 2 p.m.
Every day At 2 p.m. assess what you have accomplished so far during the day, review your schedule and To-Do list, reassess priorities for the rest of the day, and alter your plan so you can subsequently tackle the most important task. If there’s a new project that has suddenly become high priority, you’ll still have the time and energy to start it.
- Make the Job Smaller
The size and scope of certain tasks can be overwhelming. When this is the case, break the project into smaller manageable tasks. If you have 12 boxes of clutter to sort, tackle one at a time. And when you’re rushed to complete an entire, large task, ask yourself how important perfection in the execution really is (it’s often not).
- Create an Audience
When the only thing at stake is a commitment to yourself, it’s easy to blow things off. Recruit accountability buddies to keep you on track. Set up your tasks so you have to report to someone. Fear and fear of embarrassment might be the perfect motivator.
- Race the Clock
When you are really having trouble getting started, try the old trick of setting a timer for 10 minutes and commit to focusing and working as hard as you can until you hear the timer go off. By the end of the short stretch, you may get engrossed and motivated to work even longer. Once you replace your sense of dread with a small sense of satisfaction, you’ll generally want to continue.
- Don’t Interrupt Yourself
Compulsively checking your phone and email takes procrastination to new heights. When your devices are ringing and alerting, remember that other people aren’t interrupting you; YOU are interrupting YOURSELF. Leave your phone in a different room or turned off. You can check it during scheduled breaks.