Procrastination is the verb meaning of delaying/putting off until the last possible moment(s). I have put together a few tricks that I personally use to stop procrastination or at least limit it as much as possible. They are the following:
Time Boxing – this is a phrase I use, where I actually “box” a specific period of time, over a specific task I need to do. For example, I would set a “time limit” of 1 hour to write an article. Once I start writing the article I will do nothing else but focus and concentrate on this article for 1 hour. Of course if I don’t completely finish the article in exactly 1 hour then I can add a bit more of time, so long as I am focusing on finishing the article.
Setup Your Environment –just before you start working on what you need to do, it is important to set up your environment so you are comfortable and will be able to enjoy whatever you are doing as much as possible.
Something that I used to do back in my school days, and still do until now, is to get my coffee ready, clear my desk of any unwanted papers and stationery, and then put on my favorite music, loud enough to listen, but not too loud to distract me. This works great for me, for others any music or sound might distract them, therefore it is important to set your own environment in which you will be comfortable and relaxed in to help stop procrastination.
Creative Procrastination –this is when you have a few things to do on your “to do list” and you decide to focus and complete one of those things, i.e. write an article. However at this moment in time, you really cannot be bothered to read all of those resources and mix them with your own experience to come up with your own article, so instead you do something that you like more instead.
Something that is already in your “to do list” which might not be so important to finish off, for instance find pictures to put on your web pages, but still needs to be done eventually. So instead of watching television or spending a few hours on Facebook, you do not stop procrastination, however you are doing something that is worthwhile and that is on your list; still effective in the end.
Reward Yourself –it might sound a little far fetched, but yes you need to reward yourself occasionally. If you have something on your “to do list” that you don’t really want to do, say to yourself “ok I’m going to do this now in 2 hours and then once I have finished I’m going to have a game of football with my mates or I’m going to take a break and watch a movie straight after I finish”. This will set yourself a goal so that when you are about to start something, you know that when you will finish it you will be rewarded.
Deadlines & Promises – I find that if I really need to get something done and I promise myself to do it, it never gets done. That’s why I very often explain what I need to do to my wife, for example, that by the end of the week I need to get 6 new pages up on my website, up and running.
So when I explain to my wife that I cannot be disturbed or go shopping with her (who wants to do that anyway) or we can’t go out for a week, then she holds me accountable. And by God, if she keeps up to her end of the promise and I don’t deliver those 6 new pages on my website, put it this way, you won’t be seeing any new content on my website from me anymore – maybe you will get a picture of me hanging from our top floor balcony with a "didn't know how to stop procrastination" sign on my forehead. So I guess keeping a promise can be pretty motivational don’t you think?
Breaking It Down - sometimes we never get something started because we know that the project we need to do is too big and needs a lot of time and effort to complete. In this case there’s a simple solution – break the project into smaller components and work on each separately.
When you break things down into smaller chunks and you complete each little chunk one by one, you give your body and mind a good rush of emotion. If you keep that going, you build up momentum, where eventually you will complete that project easier; an effective way to stop procrastination I must say!
Don’t Be Perfect – a lot of the times people cannot stop procrastination in their lives, including myself, when they want to achieve perfection in what they do. The reality is that nothing is ever going to be perfect. When I started this website I was spending 1 week on a page trying to perfect everything. Then I realized that after 1 week I would go back to what I did the first day.
So my advice to you here is that the most important thing is getting the work done, rather than trying to achieve something that is perfect. What comes to mind here is the phrase “ready, fire, aim” which basically means just start doing something and when you are done you can always come back and fix it at a later time.
Outsource – one of the best ways to get things done on your “to do list” is to get other people to do them for you. It might sound a little lazy, but at the end of the day, you can concentrate on the things that need your personal touch. I never like outsourcing my article writing, but I do outsource things like graphics or eBook covers. Things that I can do, but I know that will take me a lot of time.
Remember that your time is valuable, so don’t waste it!!! In summary, if you stop procrastination in your life, it is usually the difference between failure and success - so which one do you prefer?
"Your decisions, not your conditions, determine your financial destiny" - Anthony Robbins
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