Wednesday, January 25, 2012


"Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the "someday I'll" philosophy".

Method to Overcome Procrastination

1. Get clear about what you want in life.

Procrastinators, you'll love this! Take 20-30 minutes to do this quick goal planning exercise. Write down all your goals in some or all of these categories: career, education, relationships, financial, physical, mindset, creative, spiritual, public service, travel, leisure, and other. Once you have your list, then whittle it down to your top 10, then down to your top 5, and then your top 3. Do this by asking yourself, "Can I live without this?" Let your less important goals lie dormant on a "maybe" list that you can check on again in a few months.

2. Delete or delegate from your To-Do List those things that don't relate to your top 3-5 goals. 

Just say bye bye. And don't look back!

3. Link tasks you don't like to your goals. 

It helps to mentally (and in writing) tie these tasks to one of your main goals or values. So for example, "Keeping a tidy and clean home and desk allows me to have clarity of mind which is something I highly value. By having clarity of mind I will be better able to work on my goals and have less anxiety." By linking the task to the pleasure of being able to think clearly, I now have a reason that will motivate me to take action.

4. Plan your day each day. 

This is not a big task. It should only take about 10-15 minutes of quiet time. Do the most difficult and most important things first and work your way down to the easier stuff in the afternoon. You'll feel really good if you do this. Focus on that to motivate you to wait to check email and such until after you've finished your first big task.

5. Plan your week just enough to loosely schedule in some of the big things you know you want to get done. 

Sometimes procrastination happens simply because a task is not scheduled.

6. Allow for cheats and get rest when you're tired or have low motivation. 

Don't be so hard on yourself about the timing of a task and then you won't try to escape through procrastination so hard in the future. Just reschedule and get back on track later or tomorrow. Also, remember to check if the task relates to one of your goals. See #1,2, and 3 again!

7. Just do it, but don't over do it. 

We often put pressure on ourselves to do certain tasks more often than we really need to, such as cleaning/tidying/laundry etc. So give yourself a break and set a schedule for these things that is not overwhelming. Do thing on a "Need to do" basis and let go of the notion that you need to keep up with some perfect schedule. Ever hear of the business concept "just in time" inventory, well this is "just in time" task management.

8. Break down big tasks into smaller components. 

We procrastinate on tasks that are vague and nebulous because we don't have clear instructions what to do next. Take a few moments to think about how to break down a larger task and schedule it into your calendar in pieces. This is good for when you are feeling overwhelmed.

9. Get help making decisions. 

Decisions are tough for me. I like to use the pro/con method and assign points. I also recommend getting help from a friend that you know is good with making decisions. Once you've made your decision then break it down into tasks and schedule into your calendar.

10. Believe in yourself and in your ability to accomplish anything you want. 

If you've lost hope, know that you can turn things around. Release the fear of failure. Failure is just a learning experience. Slow and steady wins the race. A little bit done every day adds up to a lot over a year. If you have to, just fake your belief until it becomes real. Remember, you can do it!

11. Trick & Treat Yourself. 

Do you keep avoiding cleaning up your desk or some other big task, even though you know will make you feel good to get it done? If so, do this: invite a friend or family member over for a date to "tackle the dreaded task." All your friend has to do is sit in the room with you and make sure that you do the task. If you want you can let them help you, but it's not necessary. After the task is done, you can treat you and your friend to either coffee, dessert, meal, movie, whatever!


Know your most important goals and values.
Only do tasks that contribute to those goals and values.
Mentally link tasks to the pleasurable outcomes you seek.
Plan your day & week.
Do, but don't overdo. Rest when needed.
Break down big tasks.
Get help making decisions.
Believe in yourself!
Trick & Treat!


Start with a written plan of action to avoid getting distracted
keep your plan simple and straightforward
start with the one thing you must get done today to feel productive
should be a manageable item you can complete in 10-15 minutes
break the day up into a number of "action sessions" for other tasks
balance the time spent planning with time spent creating or doing
avoid over-planning -- another method of procrastination
before ending your day, spend 10 minutes reviewing your progress
take time to plan your actions for the next day


your tasks should match your values or purpose
if not, you will find it hard to summon the energy to tackle them
bring each task into congruence with your basic mission
if you can't, take it off of your list


don't put any "to-do" on your list that takes more than 30 minutes
if it takes longer, it's actually a series of smaller "to-do's"
break each step out and list it separately
you don't have to tackle all the steps of a project in one sitting
spread a large task out over several work sessions
you will see greater progress as you check more items off your list
you will avoid getting bogged down in one large task or project


determine how much you can do or tolerate at a time
don't push yourself too far or you'll get bored or frustrated
plan these project "pieces" into your daily activities
set a "completion point" for accomplishing each small task
completion points give you an end in sight to look forward to


don't try to do everything perfectly
perfectionism often causes procrastination
perfectionists would rather put it off than do an incomplete job
rather than perfection, aim for progress
any small step toward completion is an accomplishment


do the worst job (or part of the job) first and get it out of the way
once you tackle the part you are dreading, the rest is a breeze
stop spending time planning and just jump into doing it
set a time limit -- "I'll file papers for 5 minutes"
alternate unpleasant jobs with tasks you enjoy
delegate out items you can't make yourself do


interruptions tend to occur in identifiable patterns
notice when interruptions occur, by whom, and why
take steps to prevent those interruptions before they occur
if they can't be prevented, learn how to delegate to someone else
if they can't be delegated, learn how to delay until you are finished


make the project and environment as pleasant as possible
play music, open a window, have a cold drink, etc.
give yourself the best tools and work space for the project
take a few minutes to organize your work space
a clean desk allows you to focus without visual distraction
it's only a chore if you think of it as a chore


find an "accountability partner" to track your progress
schedule a regular time to check in with a friend or colleague
rewarding your accomplishments encourages productivity
give yourself a break, a treat, a nap -- whatever is a reward for you
reward every step along the way, not just the end result
the bigger the accomplishment, the bigger the reward


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