The reality is that everyone of us procrastinates, some more than others but nearly 20% of us are what is called chronic procrastinators and I for one can be included in this. Now it is not that I do this at work, I find myself to be very focused and proactive about being efficient and getting all my work done that I need to while at work, it is the second that I get home that this becomes an issue.
Whether you find yourself behind the 8 ball of time alot either at home or at work, I did some digging over the weekend and found some great tips on how to beat back the Procrastination Monster that seems to force us to rush at the last minute. This week it will be all about putting these 4 simple ideas to work and at the end of the week, I should be more focused and ready for what the world brings my way.
I found this great article at Psychology Today by Timothy Pychyl, in this article it lays out four proven ways to end Procrastination immediately. Now it is important to note that you didn’t get the way you are today overnight, it took years of putting things off to have you recognize that you have a problem so don’t expect a quick fix, but anything worth achieving, is worth working at right?
1) Time travel: How to counteract the irrationality of human nature.
Now this does not mean jump into a Jules Verne inspired contraption and fast forward your life a week to look to what the outcome will be. This is about building a mental image of the coming week, looking to the potential pitfalls and either avoiding them or meeting them head on! This is by far the biggest challenge for many of us as Long Term Goal Setting is not an excersize that we are overly good at in general but this is a short term forecast of what will happen in the next week or two.
Take a deep look at the things that you are putting off though and this can be a very positive excersize to help you start down the path of effective goal setting. If you are procrastinating about saving for retirement, imagine yourself 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years down the road. What will life be like if you do not have that nest egg? Who will take care of you? Now flip that image and add the positives of having done the baby steps over the decades and put away a few bucks here and there for the time described…are you traveling, relaxing and enjoying your golden years?
As hokey as the Time Travel experiment is, it is actually what got me hyper focused about my future both personally and proffessionaly.
2) Don’t give in to feeling good: Short-term gain, long-term pain.
This by far is the one that gets me every time. I get home from work and all I want to do is relax and do as little as possible. I want to vegitate, grow roots and not move but then there is the house work, football practice, grocery getting, parent/teacher events…wow it all adds up really really fast!
This is really where Emotional Intelligence comes into play and focusing on the Long Term rather than living in the here and now. There are things that we all hate to do in life but there are benefits to being dilligent and focused on completing every task on your To Do List and the focus that I have at work, must be translated to the same focus at home.
3) Reduce uncertainty and distractions.
Planning for a future without procrastination is good, it is needed but what happens if you build yet another plan, put it into writing and set it as a focused goal and then do nothing about it? There is something great to be said about checking of a Goal from your “bucket list” and when you are able to build your productivity plan and stick to it…start with one week, then advance to 1 month, then extend it to 6 months…before you know it it is now a habit.
Shut off the TV, power down the laptop, put away the SmartPhone. 1 hour per day for your assigned task that is all it takes to move away from Procrastination.
4) Willpower: How to make the most of the willpower muscle.
Willpower is key to the success of any task, goal or activity. If you can not stay the course then success will be that much more difficult. Recent research shows that willpower is much like a muscle and can become weaker and atrrophied over time. Give your Willpower a mental work out every single day…start small and work your way up to 1 hour per day and you will quickly have the habit forming practice to move away from Procrastination.
Well that is my take on this topic. As you can see the site itself doubled in size yesterday…I now have an added job of “Editor” to pick and choose from the 100+ new articles that came through on the new feeds. My daily posting schedule will remain intact though!
Chris J Powell