5 Steps To Overcome Procrastination
By: Linda Feinholz
I have a problem with procrastination.
I have clients who say they're stalling because "It's so easy to do it later...or tomorrow...or next week."
For me, the issue is a different one. If I clear the decks, what's the really important stuff I'll need to take a look at?
It's so much easier to stay in my comfort zone than to create that new service or product and create that new test.
In fact, even though I've accomplished a high payoff business and life, I still find myself facing the procrastination monster from time to time.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you overcome procrastination.
1. Turn Fear Into Play
One reason we procrastinate is because we're afraid of what's going to happen when we step out, step up, take new chances.
Some of us are afraid of failure...while others are actually afraid of success (that chatter in our mind is blocking us).
For me, I've simply changed my attitude about "failure." If a project I take on doesn't work the way I expected, it isn't a failure. It's a test. Well I tested that and it didn't work. Now I'll adjust it and try it again.
When you make this shift in labeling it, you're actually de-personalizing the "failure". All action is simply a test that we keep learning and using to grow from.
2. Make Action Notes
Another reason we put things off is waiting until we know exactly what to do and how to do it. And all to often we spend days and weeks 'thinking about it' in our head and waiting for some 'done' signal to go off.
My clients have learned my trick to break that habit. "Get out of your head and onto paper."
Before stepping into action, create notes listing the steps you'll take. Once you see your thoughts in writing you'll quickly spot if the reason you haven't taken action yet is missing information or resources, or not having had a clear picture of the steps to take.
What you have to be careful about is creating unnecessary overwhelm. Make sure you don't write dozens and dozens of "action points." Those are notes. Turn them into 3-5 actions and get moving on them.
3. Turn Off Distractions
You know you have to write that article, produce that report, or solve that conflict.
It's so much easier though to live in a state of distraction where you're constantly checking your email, answering the phone, or wandering in circles.
Turn off all those distractions for 45-minutes at a time. Focus on the single task at hand. When it's time to write, sit down and write. Don't edit. That comes later.
Simply start whether it's good or not. It doesn't matter. It's taking the action.
4. Create A Daily Plan
Have you noticed, you can waste at least an hour a day trying to figure out what to do?
What's the primary goal for the day? How will you grow your business?
Spend about 3 to 5 minutes writing a quick schedule for the day.
For some folks that's at the end of each day, planning the next one before they step out of their office works best. For others, it works better when they do it at the beginning of their day.
I'm one of those folks who actually does it twice. I have thoughts that come to me in the gym at the beginning of my day that shape the rest of my day. Sometimes it's an idea that completely simplifies a project I'm working on. Others it's a crystal clear idea for an article or a way to solve a client challenge.
And I do it again mid-afternoon: What's a rough schedule for each hour tomorrow?
5. Reward Yourself
The 'Action Notes' you started with become your 'Accomplished Notes' as well.
There is enormous satisfaction declaring things "Done!"
You know how great it feels to have someone say "Great Job!"
Well, it's even more important to remember to say it yourself! Take a look at what you've accomplished and acknowledge it.
If you take on these 5 simple steps, you'll find yourself blasting through the very things you've been procrastinating taking on, for the sheer satisfaction of declaring them done, and done well.
And that means you'll be able to join me in using time to focus on the really high payoff activities to take our business to the next level. Isn't that what we'd rather be spending our time on?
Copyright (c) 2008 Linda Feinholz
Management expert, consultant, and coach Linda Feinholz is "Your High payoff Catalyst." Linda publishes the free weekly newsletter The Spark! to subscribers world-wide and delivers targeted solutions, practical skills and simple ways to build your business. If you're ready to focus on your High Payoff activities, accelerate your results and have more fun at it, get your FREE tips like these visit her site at http://www.YourHighPayoffCatalyst.com
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