High up on the list of buzzwords for success, somewhere between “goal setting” and “take action” is one very well-known bad word. Procrastination. It plagues every person in the world and can attack any and every aspect of life. It’s that thing draws you into your Facebook newsfeed when you’re supposed to be researching something for your household or work. It presents you with anything to do instead of that what you are supposed to be doing. The worst thing you can do is submit to it by proclaiming, “I am such a procrastinator” because in so doing you are accepting that you cannot beat it. You give it power over you. Well I am offering you a different idea today. Procrastination has no power over you. It is just a thing like every other thing you overcome each day to achieve the day’s desired results. You just need some strategies.
Do something you love. The first strategy is more of a fact to consider: You are less likely to procrastinate something you love than something you don’t enjoy. Many people have been conditioned since a young age to think that “work” is not supposed to be enjoyed. That your job is the means to pay your mortgage and your bills and support your life, that you’re supposed to suck up whatever misery may accompany it because you are a grown up and you have responsibilities. Wow. That is such a rough philosophy that I don’t even like writing it down. True – with adulthood comes responsibility and you need money just to exist in this world, and how much life you want to experience dictates how much money you need to earn. But there is another school of thought to counter the suck it up stance. I much prefer the “do what you love and the money will come” approach. You still have to suck it up and work when you would rather play, but when you find something you really enjoy doing, you are more likely to turn it into success, and less likely to succumb to distraction and procrastination of the tedious daily tasks. Now I am not telling you to quit your job today, but I would recommend if you are not doing what you love, then acknowledge that what you are doing is simply collecting a paycheck, and be on the lookout for something you love.
Next, set goals ahead of time. Our first thoughts when it comes to goals are the big things… The big life plans, projects to complete, places to go, things to see and achieve. But when you set small daily goals, then check them off as you reach them throughout the day, it helps build motivation and momentum which are powerful tools when procrastination pops in to tempt you. “Not now Procrastination, I’m on a roll!”
Dig in, don’t think too much. If you make your to-do list ahead of time, you have nothing to contemplate when it is time to begin your work day. Just get going and get to work on the day’s tasks. Knock down a big chunk of that work before your mind starts trailing to other things. In fact – here is a bonus suggestion – when you make your list for the day, take the thing you dread and put it at the top of the list to be completed early in the morning. Remove the “dread” which would otherwise linger throughout the day having a negative impact on your productivity and joy. You are allowed to have joy at work, by the way. Do not feel guilty for wanting it. You will fly through the rest of your day and increase productivity.
Trade thoughts of dread for positive ones. This may not be possible every time, but the more you do it, the more successful you will be with this strategy. Find something positive about the thing you do not want to do. Maybe you need to do some filing because your desk is over flowing with folders and documents, but you are putting it off because you have so many documents to process that you don’t feel you can spare the time. Instead of focusing on the time you think you will be losing, look forward to the opportunity to get off your bottom and out from behind the desk for a bit, and think about how much more organized and efficient you will be with room on your desk to work.
Buddy up with a fellow procrastinator. This is a funny one. A common trait of human nature is to have the energy to do something for someone else that you would not have to do for yourself. We often are able to come up with solutions to other people’s problems faster than we can our own. So help your buddy and then take your own advice. Your buddy will also be there to help you stay on track.
Do not let yourself get too bothered by distraction because it just becomes another darn distraction. It happens to the best of us and it is going to happen to you. Success comes with recognizing when it strikes and knowing how to move past it.
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Dare to be More,