“Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.”
~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
Procrastination occasionally happens to everyone. You have put in the time to set up your goals. You have set aside the appropriate amount of time and systems to accomplish them. But, you still can’t move forward. You decide to use your time to watch television, hang out with friends or do absolutely nothing. This is the second installment of “Tips for beating back Procrastination.” Here is a link to first, 7 Tips for beating back procrastination. So, let us continue…
Procrastination is the opposite of action. When you decide which of your tasks need immediate attention and those that can be done later in the week, you’ve just learned the fine art of prioritizing. So decide – once and for all – which should be assigned top priority, and then act.
Tip # 8 Filter the essential from the petty
That’s just our way of saying that when you read things on paper, you’re able to act logically; this is much more effective than just thinking out how to avoid procrastination. Putting down things in black and white is even better than brainstorming with another person. Here’s the reason: if you write down what needs to be done, you’re the only one who knows what’s urgent and important. You focus on this task from the implementation to completion. Once it’s completed, you take it off your list. There’s that sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the accomplishment is. You go on to the next task, until you actually get used to the idea of doing, rather than procrastinating.
Brainstorming with a friend, on the other hand, can be viewed as a positive, but can be a form of procrastination. You’ll say to yourself, “what she said makes sense”, so you mull over it, leaving the task undone. Thinking about your tasks yourself and then doing them – without anyone’s feedback – is much more productive.
Tip # 9 Goals are better when written down in black and white rather than only dreaming in technicolor
We’re creatures of habit. Even if we know that a certain activity is no longer cost effective, we continue doing it anyway.
One example is, not looking for alternatives. It’s a lot easier to use the same, familiar road to work. But if there’s a quicker, or more relaxing route you can take, find out what that other route is. It’s always good to have alternative routes. Traffic snarls occur in times when you’re in a hurry.
Tip # 10 Discard old non-productive or counter-productive habits
Once in awhile you’ll deviate from your intentions. You’re a human being with limitations, or else life, without warning, takes a detour, and we get derailed. Let’s take a lesson from our brothers and sisters in the east who live by mantras that they recite to themselves every day.
Here’s one you can recite in the morning as you wake up: “I will not procrastinate today. It is unproductive. I have tasks to do, and I will write them down so I can decide which of them need to be done by 12 noon. My goal is to finish at least 2 big tasks and 2 small ones”.
Tip # 11 Get a mantra
Have a second mantra that you can recite after you complete a task. “I completed my task! I focused well and didn’t allow myself to procrastinate. This translates to about $150.00 that I can take to the bank.”
It may sound vulgar to attach a monetary value to every task accomplished. This reinforces the belief that time is money. And when you make a final tally, you’d be surprised at what you end up with. Time can always be expressed as a savings or a loss. It’s all up to you. And people don’t have to know. After all, a mantra is something you keep to yourself!
Tip # 12 Have a before and after mantra
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you will experience problems staying on course for the first few weeks. It’s like going to the gym for the first time. You’re all gung-ho for the first 3 days and then you stop.
Old habits die hard. So you missed doing the three tasks yesterday, big deal. Revise the list, and plan on doing them within a specific time frame. Don’t dwell too long on what you failed to do.
Start climbing the stairs again and get to the top without looking back. Aim for completing four tasks today – three from yesterday and one for today.
Tip # 13 If you fall back a few steps, its ok. Get up and begin to climb the stairs again.
Procrastination is something everyone struggles with periodically. You must be alert to not let it become a chronic problem. To accomplish your goals, you must stay in the race.