“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” ~ Charles Dickens, Author
Is procrastination on your list of unproductive habits you want to address in 2021? If it is, here are ten tips to help you move past this time thief.
#1) Take time to plan. At the end of each day, plan for the next. Write a to–do list that includes deadline-oriented items and steps to move long term projects forward.
#2) Set priorities. Do the most important things first. Periodically check that your daily to–do list and activities are in keeping with your personal mission statement, goals, and values. Don’t climb the ladder to the top and realize that it’s leaning against the wrong building. Set priorities that are meaningful to you.
#3) Do the most task difficult first. From your priority list, tackle the most difficult thing at the beginning of the day or when your energy is the highest. If you put off the difficult tasks until the end of the day or the end of the week, they will “grow” in size and seem even more challenging. Conquer inertia by giving the project five minutes of your time and watch the power of activity flow. Getting started is the toughest part.
#4) Reward yourself. Pat yourself on the back when you complete a task, especially a task you saw as challenging. Choose a personal reward like time to read a novel, a long walk, or a bubble bath.
#5) Understand that you’re worth it. Determine that you’re worth having a procrastination-free life. Stop acting like a victim to this behavior. When you believe in your soul that you’re worth it, you’ll learn to say “No,” you’ll take care of what is important to your personal/professional well-being, you’ll stop aggravating yourself with procrastination. Procrastination is a habit you can eliminate.
#6) Become extremely selfish. Ask for what you need in order to create reserve and space in your life. Space gives you the time to eliminate those things about which you are procrastinating. Remember the visual of the oxygen mask extending down in an airplane. Give the life-saving oxygen to yourself first, then administer it to others.
#7) Choose accountability. Hire a coach, create a success team, or find an accountability partner. Being accountable to another person who really cares about your success and won’t be critical if you fail is a giant step towards eliminating procrastination.
#8) Use the one–touch system. Whenever possible, take care of the task before it gets on a list. For instance, when your mail arrives—snail or email—open it, sort it, file it, act on it, or trash it.
#9) Lighten up. Procrastinating is often the little girl (or boy) in you saying, “I won’t do it,” because she hasn’t been taken care of. Your “child” is mad that you never take her out to play so she’s trying to create space for herself by keeping you from doing “one more thing.” Sometimes this works, however, wouldn’t it be better for the “adult” to choose when to “go out for recess” therefore allowing the child within to leave “the working woman” alone?
#10) Get some rest. Sometimes we procrastinate because we’re just too tired to do another thing. Go to bed early at least once a week. Get eight hours of sleep whenever you can. Go back to #6, maintain boundaries around your day so you can take breaks and end your work at a reasonable time. Take time for yourself!
- Consider one or two things about which you commonly procrastinate? Be specific.
- What benefit do you receive from procrastinating? What would you get out of NOT procrastinating?
- Out of the ten procrastination tips, what will work for you? How will you implement at least one procrastination-buster?
- How can you be held accountable to your action plan? If you need another person to help you be accountable, consider who this might be.