You have got things to do, important things, but instead of doing those things you are ’wasting time’. You are looking through your emails, you’re on Facebook, and you’re browsing Youtube. You are fully aware of the fact that it’s time you got cracking but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
Procrastination is no secret. We all fall victim to its mysterious powers from time to time. When we are procrastinating we are actually destroying our free time and putting off the important stuff until it is too late. We start to worry when we realise that we definitely should have started sooner. People that I know who procrastinate every single day are ‘stuck’ in that very rut. Putting things off, postponing, being lazy and only doing things when it is impossible to avoid them and then repeating the same cycle. This negative cycle stops us from achieving what we are truly capable of.
To stop procrastination from holding you back there are certain steps that you can take. I have used them successfully and I know they will work for you as well.
1 – Get an Accountability Partner
Teaming up with someone makes this process much more enjoyable. In an ideal world you want this person to have big goals that they are striving for as well. You will hold each other accountable on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is important to note that you do not need to have the same goals. My accountability partner is also my best friend and we talk to each other every day and share what we are going to get done. We have ‘recaps’ at the end of every week and month and this obviously inspires us to take action on our goals.
2 – Finish Tomorrow…Today!
During my study of the most successful people on the planet I discovered one profound but amazingly simple strategy. They were all planning everything that needed to be done tomorrow, the night before. I really started to run with this idea and I smile as I write these words because last night planned to ‘Write the chapter on time mastery’.
Utilizing this skill allows you to visualize exactly how the next day is going to go amazingly well for you. The majesty of your subconscious mind will then begin to creatively map out solutions to any challenges that arise throughout the day. I’m sure you’ve also heard of the phrase ‘hitting the ground running’; by planning your day the night before, you can do exactly that. By lunchtime you are way ahead of any competitors you may have because you didn’t have to ‘figure out’ what you were going to do because it was already done.
3 – Do it Now!
Are you waiting for things to be ‘just right’? Do you catch yourself saying “I’ll do it when…”? There never is the perfect time and the longer you sit around waiting for one to arrive the less likely you are to achieve anything. Hanging on to the idea of being a ‘perfectionist’ is one of the greatest causes of procrastination. Remove it from your mind and accept that there never will be a perfect time.
4 – Revamp your Work Space
The art of being productive is greatly impacted by our environment. Take a look around the environments that you find yourself in. Does your desk or work area make you want to work hard and smart for long periods of time? If not then you need to make it that way. Simplify your working environment, remove clutter and the ‘secret sauce’ is to put up pictures and/or quotes that relate to your goals and inspire you. You can even keep updating these to keep it fresh and keep your motivation high.
5 – Remove Tempting Distractions
The only way that you can procrastinate is if you have ‘other’ things to do. If all you can do is work, then you’ll work. Turn off your email notifications, switch your phone off or delete all distracting apps. There are two ways you can do this: You can become fully aware and simply switch things to silent. Another option would be to totally eliminate the possibility of procrastinating on things like Facebook by deleting your accounts. Find what works for you, stick to it and watch the magic happen. You’ll be getting more done in less time!
6 – Surround Yourself with ‘Action Takers’
If you spent half an hour with Sir Richard Branson I’m sure that you’d be inspired to take some action on your goals. Even though this may not be possible for you (yet), the idea is still the same. Take notice of the people in your life that are making constant progress and just seem to get things done. Once you have identified who these people are, make an effort to talk to them and their good habits will be infectious. If you have no one like this in your life you can surround yourself with people in the ‘digital’ world by watching inspiring people on YouTube and reading self improvement blogs. It’s all about being inspired to take action.
7 – Split your Work into Chunks
One reason why we procrastinate is because we find the items on our ‘To-Do-List’ overwhelming. The key is to take the Big task and break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. If this doesn’t work for you immediately, keep breaking it down until it’s so easy you just get started. The most obvious example I can give you is when I was writing my book. I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know where to start. By the time I had decided to break it down into a chunk as small as writing the chapter titles I was off and running!
The key to overcoming procrastination is attacking it head on. Use a combination of the techniques mentioned above and commit to using them for 60 days or more until they are ingrained in your mind. Remember it is impossible to ‘waste time’; we can only waste ourselves.