The Nike slogan of “Just do it” won’t help us to overcome procrastination. Neither will beating ourselves up. Calling on the mystical element of “Will Power” is also a non-starter. We all know we have will power, but employing it to get a task done is easier said than done – we know that from experience.
So how do we beat procrastination? Here are three tried-and-tested ways:
Break it down
Massive projects that feel like mountains, are very difficult to get started. The trick is to break that project down into smaller bite-size tasks. Each little task should be so small that you can complete it within less than an hour (a few minutes is even better). So, instead of thinking about the project of “doing the accounts”, break it into smaller chunks like, sorting receipts in date order, inputting ten receipts into software and filing 10 receipts away.
Let’s face it; we can handle a bit of paper sorting much easier than taking on the entire “do accounts” project!
Take small steps
This links up with the previous point. Don’t try to complete the entire project on one day. That will make you feel overwhelmed and possibly even depressed. (And that leads to procrastination). Instead, take small steps. Commit to completing just one small task (of the bigger project) today. Don’t even think about the rest of the project. If you take one small step, it creates momentum, which will stop you from procrastinating. I have also found that doing that one task (which I committed to doing) makes me feel so good, that I continue with the next task and the next – because now momentum is on my side.
Establish the “why”
As humans, we don’t want to feel useless or not valued. We want to feel that what we are doing has value – that there is an important impact due to our work. That is why our “why” is so vital. If we don’t know why we need to do something, we can easily procrastinate.
If you feel procrastination creeping in, stop and think for a few minutes. Why do I need to do this task? What will the positive impact be, once it is completed? How will completing this task, add value to myself and others? Knowing the “why” of each task is a big procrastination-beater.
These three little techniques – breaking it down, taking small steps and establishing the “why” – will go a long way to minimising procrastination in your life. Try it!
Tiana Wilson-Buys is a Business Coach and Productivity Strategist. She offers a free 30-minute virtual meeting to help you get organised. Book your slot here.