Let’s face it; some of us have procrastination down to an art. No matter what we’re doing, whether it is work or activities at home, there are always some items that we hesitate or put off doing. We will find every possible way to avoid doing them. A huge part of that, I believe, is because we don’t have a specific reason and a date for doing them. We don’t have a high enough importance attached to them.
1) List Everything That Needs to Be Done
Years ago I took a course and they suggested making a list of everything that needs to be done. It can take quite awhile because there are certain things that we think need to be done however we file them in the recesses of our mind and never take action. Every time we walk past something that reminds us of it, it adds to that feeling of overwhelm we get when it really seems that we have too much on our plate. You can avoid the feeling of overwhelm by listing absolutely everything that needs to be accomplished.
2) Designate Date for Each Item on the List
Then give it a designation; either “do immediately”, do at a date in the future and put a date on it, or “maybe someday but not now”. The “maybe someday but not now” allows you to file it and not have to think about it because you now know it’s not urgent. This simple exercise lifts a tremendous weight off your shoulders. It also allows you to attack the things that are high priority on your list that will get you the most benefit for the time expended.
3) Create Systems and Routines
Something else that you can do is to create systems and routines. Everyday we tend to do similar things or the same thing at the same time. As children, when we were growing up, we always had breakfast at eight. We had lunch at twelve and dinner at five. It became a habit. No matter if we were out playing, we knew if we wanted to eat we had to be there at that time.
4) Prioritize Each Item
Say you are working at some project that you feel is very, very important. There are difficult tasks to do that you may not like. Prioritize those things that will get you the most benefit.
5) Commit to a Power Hour Each Morning
Set aside a power hour, so that the first things you tackle in your office, for one hour, are the things that have the highest priority. Then take some time to reward yourself for positive action. This acknowledges the fact you are making changes and that helps to maintain and encourage sticking with the routine.
It takes about 21 days for a habit to become engrained. The one that I noticed really worked the best for me was the gym. If I get up, put my shoes on, my gym clothes and head out the door first thing in the morning, it’s done and I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. If I don’t, then I sometimes beat myself up during the day because I know when I take the time to exercise, I’ve got more energy and I feel better. It is important to fit those things in that are important to you on an emotional and spiritual level as well.
Another productivity tip is to make your six most important things list. Prioritize your master task list; A1, A2, A3, B1 B2, C. Focus on the “A”s. If the other ones aren’t accomplished today, at least you are achieving the things that get you the best results. However, remember, six most important things not sixty. Too many things on your list can stop you dead in your tracks because you will feel that sense of overwhelm again.
In summary, a couple of things for you to try are;
• Systemizing and routines
• Labelling everything with a specific date or a “maybe someday but not now”
• Six most important things list
• Power hour
• Celebration when you actually accomplish your tasks or projects.
The sense of achievement and the sense of satisfaction you get from eliminating procrastination and seeing your task pile dwindle is rewarding. Look at what is that you can put into the “Maybe someday but not now” category, what you need to tackle today and then just get started. You will find the results are spectacular.
Dale Kathryn Grove
For more business tips click here