7 Mini-Hacks to Exorcise the Procrastinator in You
By Julie Ellis
That procrastinator in us is like a little “devil” that makes us put off things that we should be doing in favor of doing those things we would much rather do right now, even if the more enjoyable activity is just daydreaming!
We procrastinate for a number of reasons, but the most common one is that the task we are facing is just not pleasant – it’s that report that is going to be hard to write; it’s that lawn that has gotten out of control with weeds and other growth; it’s that garage that needs to be cleaned out; it’s that visit or phone call we need to make that won’t be fun; it’s that conversation we need to have with a subordinate or a boss about an issue or concern.
Nothing will take the unpleasantness away, of course, but here are 7 things that you can do that may get your going and get it over with!
1. Be Afraid
Try to instill some fear inside yourself. What are the bad consequences of not getting this task completed? Will the boss be angry? Will family members be angry? Who will you disappoint that you care about? When you can come up with someone who will hold you accountable for getting something done, you are much more apt to get to work on it!
2. Break Large Project Down
You really don’t have to finish the whole thing in one “sitting.” Set a goal of one section of that report and then take a break; get online and check your email; check out your Facebook home page; read something just for fun. But set a timer for yourself, and when that timer goes off, you get off too!
3. Put a Reward in Place
When you get the entire task finished, you get a reward, and make it a valuable one. You get to go out for Chinese (or another favorite food); you get a new piece of clothing you’ve been wanting; you and a friend meet for happy hour. Whatever you choose, make it so worthwhile that you are motivated to finish the task.
4. Put The Unpleasant Tasks at the Top of Your To-Do List
And here’s the rule for that list. You don’t get to go to item #2 until item #1 is finished. And, as each item is finished, you get one of those rewards we just spoke about!
5. Block Out Distractions
If you are not in a productive work environment for yourself, then that unpleasant task will only sit longer. You will find all sorts of places for your ears, eyes, and mind to go – that TV on in the other room (or in your working room), that open door to your office so that you can see all that is “going on” elsewhere, that large window that lets you gaze outside and daydream. You know what distracts you, and you know that you need to remove it all if you are really going to focus. And here’s the upside: once you remove all of those distractions, the task will go faster, and the faster you finish, the sooner you get that big reward you’ve promised yourself!
6. Stop Over-Thinking the Task
So much of procrastination is consumed by thoughts of, “How am I ever going to organize this,” “how can I be sure I don’t leave important stuff out,” “how will I meet this deadline,” ad infinitum! Just begin – begin in the middle if you have to – just begin! The thoughts and the ideas will come as you work along – that’s a guarantee.
7. Tell Someone Else
Tell someone who will be around that you are going to get the task completed. Once you tell another person that you are going to do something, you will feel much more of an obligation to do it.
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