Procrastination is called the enemy of progress. It’s just so easy to keep postponing, stalling, and putting off what you know must be done. While you may have all kinds of good intentions, the only thing that matters is action. That’s why it’s time to learn the fast rules and put them into action. Let’s get going.
Rule 1: Don’t Believe Everything You Think
Yes, you’re smart, motivated, and ambitious. But your mind doesn’t always know that. Sometimes your mind is sneaky and snarky. It tells you things like:
- It won’t matter
- It can wait
- It won’t be seen
Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. You are smart, but your mind is sometimes just plain stubborn and wants to sit on the couch.
Rule 2: Study Up On Procrastination
Hit the books and learn everything you can about procrastination. Study everything you can get your hands on. Watch TED talks. Read articles and learn strategic tips to stop procrastination in its tracks. Find out what other people have done to overcome the negative habit of procrastination. While you’re studying, take notes. You can use your notes to try new habits, boost motivation, and stay creative in your approach.
Rule 3: Schedule Your Day and Week
To-Do lists only go so far. Many professionals find that a To-Do list is kind of demoralizing. If you start writing it all down, you can start to feel overwhelmed. If you avoid writing anything down, you may feel distracted and adrift. What’s the best way around this dilemma?
Schedule your time in big chunks. Look at your day and week in terms of big buckets of action. Organize your time to match your times of peak creativity. For instance, if you’re an ‘early-morning person’ then use this time to do your best creative work. If you don’t get into gear until 11 am, structure your time accordingly. If you find that you tend to over-schedule, divide your time into larger chunks.
Scheduling your creativity is not the same as filling in tiny boxes and mechanically treating yourself. Try out different formats such as drawing your schedule on watercolor paper. Add some sparkle, color, and creativity to bring a sense of fun and play to planning your time.
Rule 4: Focus On Easy Wins
As tempting as it is to focus on the super big obvious wins, do the opposite. Look for small wins or successes. For instance, if your business involves shipping, set up the software to handle invoice audit recovery. It just takes minutes, but it can save your company between 1-9%. Not bad for a quick effort of a few minutes, right?
While you’re looking at easy wins, think about automation in general. What are the tiny tasks that drive you nuts and eat into your time? What are the must-have items that you hate doing that send you spinning into more procrastination?
If you aren’t sure what these are, ask a friend, co-worker, partner, or spouse. They will rattle off the items faster than you would believe. Use their input to focus your attention on automation. If you hate doing something chances are someone else already invented an app or software to handle it.
Rule 5: Embed Activity
Are you feeling in peak shape—mentally and physically? If you are feeling a little moody, distracted, or lagging, use this as a time to get moving. Look for simple activities you can do in your home, office, or home office. Stretch. Jump. Practice yoga. Do pilates. Tune into a virtual class for a sample practice that you’ve never tried before.
After you’ve gotten your blood pumping and feel warmed up, notice how you feel. It’s more than likely you’ve got more energy, focus, and motivation to take on the work you have to do.
Rule 6: Reward Yourself Often
If you’ve completed a task, reward yourself. It may be as simple as a checkmark, a gold star, or a round of applause. Everyone loves to be rewarded for taking action and accomplishing something. You can expand your reward in ways that matter most to you.
For instance, if you value self-care, you might reward yourself with a new bubble bath, body lotion, or incense. If you value running, you could reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes. By focusing on these rules, you can take positive actions. You can use these rules to shift out of the habit of procrastination and have a great 2022.