My blog post this week for Lifehack.org was called How to Avoid the Butterfly Effect, the Supersauras and Procrastination. I love writing about productivity if I didn’t I don’t think I’d achieve much in life. I consider myself an intelligent women (well my mother regularly tells me I am!) and I would also consider myself a productivity expert, but sometimes I can’t get over my stupidity. I’ve read all the books, I have created training courses, I coach people, I’ve spoken about it in public, Hell I’ve even written my own book but as I wrote the article I realized I’ve been procrastination on two big projects.
1. 6 Weeks to Happier, More Organized You
Yes, the course I promised you at the beginning of the year, I have been delaying the launch. My reason for delaying is that I keep getting better ideas about how I want to present it. I want to make a bigger impact with the learning experience and I want to add video. Unfortunately my own video camera’s microphone quality is not good enough.
Now here is a classic example of stagnation. I haven’t yet made the decision will I buy a new one or will I borrow one to get this course completed?
2. My next book
I have started writing it but I haven’t yet made it a regular habit.. As I mentioned over at Lifehack two of the biggest reasons people procrastinate are
- They Fear the size of the project (The Supersaurus effect)
- They haven’t clearly defined what it is.
In my case I’m not guilty of either of these reasons. I know exactly what I want to achieve I have a plan for both, (In fact the course content is complete) and for my new book I have a structure and I have an outline of chapters. The issue is I haven’t created a schedule for populating those chapters and unless I do I don’t know when the book would ever get done.
How I usually get things done
I usually dedicate an evening a week to a project. This is also how I managed to do my diploma in organizational psychology from home. In this way no matter how busy I was there was always time reserved for my course work. The other advantage of having a plan is that the rest of the family get used to the routine, and when they know your plans in advance they are much more likely to support and respect it.
Back to the plan or lack of it!
Why don’t I have a plan for writing? Rather a long Pause – yes my only answer is stupidity! Another long pause while I enter recurring appointment in my calendar Tuesday “New book writing” Another pause while I schedule time for course and create a task to borrow Video Camera.
Now that that is sorted, here are 9 more ways in which you can avoid Procrastination and Get Things done
1. Be Clear about your Vision.
If you are clear about what you want to achieve it will help motivate you towards achieving your goals, and it will also enable you to assess and plan what needs to get done.
2. Break down larger tasks
If the assessment uncovers a large task don’t panic, break it down into smaller tasks or milestones which don’t seem so overwhelming. Little by little the small tasks will get done and you will start to feel a sense of achievement.
3. Schedule & Set Reminders
Schedule time for all the tasks that need to get done and set reminders for the important ones or the ones you usually avoid.
4. Get up early
Rising early has been life changing for me, it has allowed me to do the tasks that I never seemed to fit in at a different time in the day. Exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling.
5. Commit to a little every day
Even ten minutes a day can achieve great things. This was how I started to write my first book. A friend suggested to me “Ten minutes a day can write a book” So I started, once I gained momentum it difficult to stop.
6. Stay Clutter-Free
Try and keep your work space clutter free. If there are papers and stuff lying around, they are more likely to distract you away from the task you should be focusing on.
7. Single Focus
Sometimes we have too many ideas and too many projects on the go at once. If possible put some of them on hold and focus on completing the most important one first.
Exercise relaxes and energizes. It will improve your stamina and your mental capacity. It also helps to shift depression if that is what is causing your procrastination. (It is Branson’s number one Productivity Tip)
9. Eliminate Distractions
Give yourself time each day where you disconnect from the internet and all the noise and information overload. Switch off your phone and give yourself time to think and plan and then Do.
I would love to hear if you have any other ways you avoid procrastination
Photo Credit: Adapted from Procrastination by Offense