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Conquer Procrastination

Posted by medliorator on August 1, 2007

1. Eliminate all but the essential. list out your projects and tasks. look over that list and decide which task and projects are the most essential. Which will lead to the most benefit to you, and have the most impact on your life? These are the essential …tasks. Now look at all the rest, and see if you can eliminate them, delegate them, or put them off for awhile. Clear the deck for the essential stuff, so you’ll actually have time to do them.

If you eliminate all but the essential, you’ll be able to focus on what matters. You’ll be able to think about the amazing benefits of each task, instead of the dull drudgery of it all. And therein lies the key to this step: if you focus on the benefits, instead of the difficulties of a task, you will be motivated to get it done. Motivation is the key.

2. Create accountability. If left to our own devices, we will put things off forever, because there’s no cost to procrastination. most of us hate to look bad to others. take advantage of that fact, and leverage it.

Here’s how: for every essential project and task on your list (see Step 1), have someone who you must report to. create the accountability if it doesn’t already exist. Email someone and promise them that you’ll turn something in to them by a certain date, or that you’d like them to review it and that you’re going to send it to them, or that you’d like for them to make sure you finish a project by a certain time.

The more people you have who are expecting you to complete a project, the more likely you are to ensure that you do it. Create that public accountability, and you’ll get it done.

3. Focus on small steps. instead of looking at the mountain, look only at the next signpost up the road. Focus on that, and it’s not so undoable. For each project or task, focus on a small task to get you moving. If you’ve got a report, just find one source for the research, or just write the opening paragraph, or just do 5 minutes of outlining. Whatever your task, you can break it down into something even smaller and more accomplishable. Make this a daily habit.

4. Set deadlines. This is implied in Step 2 above (accountability), but it’s so important that I had to list it as a separate step. Without deadlines, we’ll never get anything done, even if we’re accountable to someone else. the important thing is not just to give deadlines to projects, but the individual small steps as outlined in Step 3.

5. Clear distractions. Once you’ve managed to focus on an essential task, broken it into a small step, and are accountable to someone with a deadline, you need to clear all distractions so you can focus and get the task done.

How do you clear distractions? Disconnect from the Internet if possible, or at least turn off IM and email notifications. Turn off the TV, and close unnecessary programs. Clear your desk and everything from the walls around you, so that you are in a distraction-free zone. Once you’re in that zone, don’t allow yourself to do anything else but the task at hand.

5 Simple Steps to Stop Procrastination Today [dumb little man]


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