Anyone can learn how to stop procrastinating using a few simple techniques. I've no doubt that there are plenty more methods that work for people but this article discusses two others that I've found work best for me.
If you haven't read my article on "overcoming procrastination" then click the following link now - Overcoming Procrastination.
You might want to read it before you continue on with this article.If you have read it then great - you will know what I'm talking about when I go back to my metaphor with elephants.
Remember that I got you to imagine the tasks ahead of you as elephants and I discussed my favourite method of overcoming procrastination - bribery. Remember too that bribery doesn't have to involve money being spent - I love to take ten minutes and read a magazine or the newspaper without feeling guilty. Even ten minutes of browsing the internet without feeling guilty is a great reward for ticking off a big elephant task on your to-do list.
Although bribery is definitely my favourite method but I'm not just a one trick pony. I also have a few other suggestions for how to stop procrastinating.
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: Piece by piece
I prefer to think of undertaking a task "piece by piece" as "baby steps". You'll probably see me talking alot on this website about "baby steps" because that's how I approach the seemingly insurmountable things in my life.
Sometimes if the task is big, it's hard to imagine how you are going to tackle the task and get it completed. Whenever this happens to me, I take a deep breath and then break the task down into bite sized chunks.
Whatever it is, there must be a way to reduce it into steps that you can achieve. It's just like project planning where you have a project with a deadline and then you break that project down into the tasks that need to be undertaken in order to complete it.
A big elephant task is the same. You need to clean the house before the landlord comes to inspect it - break it down. You need to write an assignment before next week - break it down. You'll find that most tasks that you procrastinate with are ones that can be attacked in smaller pieces. If you do it like this, the elephant isn't so big and parts of it may even be those nice easy tasks that we always step around the elephant to do.
Nike definitely picked the right slogan because whenever I see this I always visualise myself and an elephant in a standoff.
We all have things to do that we procrastinate with. Those tasks where bribery doesn't work and we find we can't even tackle the "baby steps" version.
Maybe we have to go to a dentist appointment or have a doctors check or (my personal worst one) a bloodtest or for some even phoning our mother for the week.
Sometimes tasks are ones we really don't want to do and we start procrastinating - you know, you'll realise that the house needs cleaning, you can't possibly make that dentists appointment until you've cleaned the house from top to bottom. Or maybe you've realised that the fridge needs cleaning out and you can't possibly start your assignment until the fridge is sparkling or maybe you decide you really do need another cup of coffee from the staffroom before you look at the project budget you know you're close to blowing.
Whatever the yuck task - if you want to learn how to stop procrastinating, it starts here. You need to recognise that this task is your elephant and you just have to do it!
Take action, get it over and done with, just man (or woman) up and do it! Do it now!
So those are my other two strategies in my quest on how to stop procrastinating. Even though I know that I shouldn't procrastinate, I'm not perfect. Like everyone else, I find myself tending to procrastination daily.
What is different for me is that I have learnt to recognise what I'm doing and to pull myself up on it. After all, I'm trying to make my life better through employing time management techniques. Because this is my goal, I know that wasting time through pointless procrastinating does not help.
As I learn of other methods, I will try them out and see whether they help me. If I find them useful or I think others will, then I will update this article or write a new one so keep checking back.
Until then, keep reading and learning about time management gems!
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