I love lists. I have lists for everything you can think of. Books to read, plugins to try, gift lists, meals we like, you name it – I have a list for it. However, one list – my to do list – was becoming my nemesis. I was great at writing the list, getting down everything I needed to do, but I was struggling with the actual doing of the to do list. I had become the Queen of Procrastination. I looked at the list and didn’t know where to begin.
Can you relate? Please tell me it’s not just me.
This week I have been part of the lovely Aby at You Baby Me Mummy’s #MumbossSquad Productivity Challenge and it made me realise I needed to find something that worked for me.
So I did what I do best – I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I found every article I could on doing rather than planning, posts on overcoming procrastination and I found a few techniques that seem to work.
If, like me, you are a great list writer but not so great at doing; if you too are a Leader in Procrastination, then hopefully one of these will help you to part ways with procrastination. Instead of looking at your list and thinking “oh boy” (or words to that effect – my mum reads my blog so my language has to be modified), try the following strategies. They are certainly making a difference for me.
This is by far my favorite strategy. Look at your to do list and choose three items to focus on that day. The three items which will help towards your goal for the week/month. So, for example, I recently ran a workshop on Resilience so my focus two days before the event was to update the presentation (after reading a great book on how to produce TED talk type presentations), update a resilience tips handout and update a resilience profile handout.
Once I knew that was my focus, I turned off all notifications and just buckled down. I gave myself 2.5 hours to complete the tasks in and promised myself lunch out if I completed on time.
I did it. All three were updated, handouts were printed and everything was packed into my Workshop bag ready to go.
The relief was immediate. After lunch out, I returned refreshed and ready to go again. This time I chose three items which were family related – phone calls to make, forms to complete, etc. Again, all three were complete before the kids returned from school and that evening, we enjoyed our family time without me feeling guilty or anxious about the work sat waiting for me on my to do list.
Many of you will have read the great book, Eat That Frog – Get more of the Important Things Done by Brian Tracy The principle is simple. If you start the day eating a frog, the rest of the day has to get better.
We all have that one task we keep putting off. Maybe we think it will take too long, maybe we fear it will cause us emotional burnout or maybe we just think if we ignore it long enough it will become redundant and we won’t need to do it at all.
That one task is your frog. Eat it! Instead of putting it off and moving it to your next to do list update, just do it.
Often it will be less time consuming than we think, or the call isn’t quite as painful as we expect. Once it is done, the relief is immense. Celebrate – do a little dance around the kitchen/office, treat yourself to a nice coffee or smoothie, give yourself an hour on Facebook. Whatever works for you.
Once it is off the list, everything else looks so much easier to do. The chances are you will feel motivated to start working through the rest.
If all your to do list consists of is work (and no matter how much you love what you do, there will always be some days when it feels like work) then it can just feel like chore after chore. So add some fun items to the list. Listen to the Archers or a short podcast. Watch a TED talks video. Skype a friend. Something which is just for you, something which makes you smile.
If you add one of these items at the end of the Choose Three, or after Eating a Frog, then you will feel even more motivated to finish the other tasks. Having some fun things to look forward to, to reward yourself with, is a real motivator. No one wants to procrastinate having fun, do they? Well, ok, maybe occasionally you don’t feel like being happy because a self pity party in our PJs can feel quite comforting and we all need comforting.
So give it a try.
What works for you? How do you part ways with procrastination? What tips can you share? I would love to hear from you.
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