In my last post I shared with you 9 Types of Procrastinator and how to identify them. Did you recognise yourself as one or more of those types?
If you did, don’t worry! In this follow up post I’m going to share with you 8 ways that you can now conquer this inner demon and start taking action.
The fact is, like most problems in life, now you’ve identified the cause – in this case the habits and triggers of your particular type of procrastination, you’re much better placed to tackle them.
So, how do you do it?
1. Create a Clear Goal
It’s very easy when you’re not clear on your ultimate goal to keep putting off the actions you need to take to get there. If indeed you actually know what those actions are.
So, start by creating a clear vision of that goal. Make it real and write it down, in detail.
For example, if you want to start your own business, create a vision of yourself running that business. How do you feel, what does your day look like, where do you go, who do you meet?
Creating a clear and detailed vision for your goal, and putting yourself inside that vision, helps your mind focus on achieving it. You’ll soon begin finding ways to take action towards that goal that you hadn’t imagined. And the motivation to get going comes to you more easily.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this technique only applies to the big life goals either.
If you want to make washing the dishes easier, create a clear vision of the home you want to live in. Picture it clean and tidy, decorated in your favourite style and see how it becomes easier to reach for the dish cloth.
2. Recognise Distractions
As you are working through your tasks, your mind will wander. You will get distracted by what’s going on around you. The interesting topic on the radio, what you’re having for dinner, another task that you need to complete?
The best way to deal with distractions is to remove them completely – such as turning the radio off. But let’s face it, in reality that isn’t always possible. Some might even say it’s impossible.
So instead, recognise when distractions happen. Acknowledge them, accept them and if necessary make a note to come back to them.
For example, if it is an interesting topic on the radio, make a note to find the recording later. If it’s another task you need to do, make a note to tackle it later once you’ve finished what you’re currently doing.
Lists are a great friend of the procrastinator! Which leads us nicely to…
3. Make A List
When you have a lot going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make a list of your goals or the tasks you need to complete and prioritise them. You can even categorise them into separate lists – family, chores, business, life and so on.
Lists are also helpful to break tasks down into smaller specific actions (sub-lists for the real list lovers among us), with deadlines. This can help even the most complex task seem achievable and less challenging.
But remember when any task is completed – cross it off your list and tell yourself it is a success. If you’re a regular list keeper you know just how satisfying this can feel, and can give a real boost to your confidence and motivation.
4. Make A Daily Commitment
Each day, identify one action or item on your list that you must complete that day. This should be an action that you know, once completed, will have taken you a step closer to achieving your goal. Make it non-negotiable no matter how many other things you have on your list for that day.
Over time, done consistently, this will create real momentum as you develop a new habit of completing big items on your ‘to do’ list.
5. Grow a ‘Do it Now’ Mentality
This is easy to say, but hard to do. It requires dedicated and ongoing effort on your part. That’s why I said you need to ‘grow’ this mentality!
It requires you to recognise when you are procrastinating and make a clear decision to take action anyway. Even when you don’t feel like it. Just give yourself that push. If you are sat down, just stand up…and then get going.
And don’t worry. If you use this technique consistently it really does get’s easier. Over time it will grow into a habit of its own!
6. Find Inspiration in Others
Don’t suffer in silence. Seek motivation from others, whether you feel overwhelmed or just need that spark to get you going.
Talk to friends, family or a complete stranger if you need to. Tell them what you want to achieve and how you feel stuck. Be vulnerable. An authentic conversation with another person can create real motivation!
Another option would be to create an accountability partner. Tell them about your goals and how and when you will achieve them. Ask them to hold you accountable and give them permission to tell you when you are slipping.
But don’t despair. If the thought of opening up in this way fills you with dread, you have options.
With the internet and social media at your fingertips it has never been easier to find inspiration from others. Read a book or blog, listen to a podcast, watch a YouTube video and be inspired to take action.
7. Reward Yourself
It may seem simple, but rewarding positive behaviour works. When you succeed, cross off that big (or little) task, acknowledge it and celebrate it as positive growth.
And with that acknowledgement, reward yourself. It can be as simple as a piece of your favourite cake, or glass of something or finally buying your dream car (I’d suggest saving the car for a big one).
If you want an extra productivity boost, identify and write your reward into your goal on your list.
For example, “when I complete this task, I will reward myself with a large glass of wine”.
8. Forgive Yourself
There will be times when you fail. That’s real life. You will still have times when you put off doing something, or your outcome may not be what you expected.
In these situations, always remember that this is OK. In fact, it’s better than OK. Imperfect action is better than no action at all. Taking consistent action to move closer to your goals is the most important factor.
Any progress, however small, is further on than where you started. Take small steps when you need to, and be happy with them. It’s all progress!
Before you know it…there will be no stopping you!
So, What’s Next?
Well, it’s simple really. When you finish reading this post, choose a task, and take action!
I would be grateful though if you could take a moment to share this post first!