Start Today, Not Tomorrow! (Part 2 of 2)
I posted an article on the cause and effects of procrastination recently. Today I want to talk about what you can do to overcome procrastination and start moving forward.
If you’re serious about overcoming procrastination then now is the time to get started. Below are seven steps you can use to overcome procrastination.
1. Focus on the start – Typically, when you look at anything you want to accomplish you tend to focus on the finish and all that it requires in order for you to complete the actual task. By changing your focus, you can finish faster. You need to focus on the start and not allow yourself to worry about finishing the project (or you’ll never get it off the ground).
Many people analyze the task so much they end up doing nothing. They try to put all the pieces together before moving one step forward, which isn’t necessary. What I’ve discovered is the act of just starting the project will get me in motion. Focusing on the start simplifies it for your brain.
Your brain normally looks at a project on a whole and all that’s entailed with the actual doing and completion of the total project you’re working on. By focusing on the start, the brain only sees one aspect and that’s what’s needed to get started.
2. Work in bursts – As I stated earlier, you tend to think in terms of the entire project, but by working in bursts of specific timeframes. For example, I may work on something for 60 minutes, and then I’ll stop.
That’s simple and is a lot easier then trying to work on it until you get the entire project finished, which allows you to gather just enough energy to start the task at hand.
Even though you’re only working on a project for 60 minutes, by simply getting yourself in motion, you create additional energy that allows you to work longer.
3. Chunking it down – This is different than working in bursts. When I talk about a burst I’m talking about a length of time. When I talk about chunking it down, I’m talking about creating certain mile markers.
Take your project and break it down into smaller pieces.
Why does this work? You get a feel of accomplishment faster. The whole idea of any kind of achievement is that you want to feel you accomplished something and the more success you have, the more success you’ll ultimately get because there is a success cycle.
Therefore, by chunking the project down you build a bunch of small successes that ultimately lead to the big success of achieving whatever tasks or goals you want to accomplish.
4. Public commitment – this by far is the one technique I use most myself because it works. Tell everyone what you’re going to do.
Many times, I’ll announce to my entire list of people or on a live call that I’m going to do something. Once you make it public, you have no choice but to do it.
5. Allow for screw-off time – Sometimes you need to take a break to move forward. You can’t always put your head down and complete everything in one shot. You need that time to allow yourself to recharge your batteries and get more energized to move forward. All work and no play make Jack or Jill a dull person.
6. Reward yourself – First, state what it is you’re going to achieve, then what you will get when you achieve that goal or task completion. You want to reward yourself, because it makes the task feel less like work. The more fun you have, the more you’ll enjoy actually doing it. Hence, the more you’re likely to complete it, as well.
Make the reward worth your effort — Maybe it’s a day at the spa. Maybe it’s buying yourself that new gadget you’ve been wanting. Whatever you decide, make the reward appropriate for the task. Just because you get out of bed in the morning doesn’t mean you can take a three-day vacation.
7. Stay aware – Know you have an issue with procrastination. This is key and vital. You have to remember you’re not just a procrastinator for a certain period of time; you’re always a procrastinator from now and forever more.
Be aware when you are procrastinating and that will help you overcome it in the future. You need to avoid putting yourself in situations where you allow yourself to procrastinate.
Think about these seven steps you can use to stop procrastination and keep them in the forefront of your mind. When you have a task that you need to complete, follow these steps and get to work, but don’t tell me you’ll start tomorrow, start today!