Can you help me stop procrastinating?
This is one of the most common questions we get when someone contacts us regarding this destructive personal habit. 100% of the time we respond with yes, we can, because that’s what we do: we help people beat down procrastination for good!
Here are our top tips to cut procrastination down, before it starts taking over your life:
- Create to-do lists
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who have never really tried writing down their tasks and responsibilities before. Our motto for this strategy is, if it has to be done, write it down.
If you have a smartphone or a tablet computer, you can download applications that are dedicated to creating organized to-do lists for you. And, the best thing about these applications is that almost all of them are completely free.
- Prioritize your tasks
We aren’t Supermen or Superwomen. We get tired. We get stressed. We get so bogged down by life that we feel like collapsing on the bed, and just sleeping the rest of the day.
We know how it feels, because we have been there, too. So, learn to prioritize the things that you have to do. You can’t prioritize all of them.
At best, you can only prioritize a maximum of 20 percent of all the things that you have to do. Focus on the tasks and responsibilities that will bring the biggest reward or benefit. You can’t go wrong if you use this simple trick in prioritizing your to-do items!
- Set clear and realistic goals
One of the main reasons why people fall behind their responsibilities is that they don’t have a clear idea as to what they should be doing in the first place.
There is a difference between knowing that you have to do something, and having a goal. Goals are tied integrally to outcomes. You will be focussing not only on the actual task, but also on the specific outcomes that you want to produce.
- Plan like crazy
Don’t believe for a second that planning is not necessary. Many people depend too much on the idea of “just winging it”, or getting by with the least amount of effort and planning. You can definitely do this instead of planning, but where will this type of effort get you five or ten years from now?
Certainly not to the top of the career ladder or at the peak of your personal passions. To reach the top, you need to be organized, and you definitely need to learn how to plan ahead of time. Planning ahead of time can spell the difference between a failed attempt, and an extremely successful first attempt at something, remember that.
- Set aside time for tasks
Your available time (like your energy and motivation to work) is limited, and should be treated as a rare resource. You have to set aside a finite amount of time for each of the tasks that you have to accomplish.
This strategy is closely associated with the idea of being realistic with your goals as well. A realistic goal has a fixed timeframe. An unrealistic goal doesn’t have any time limits and, without a deadline, you will end up procrastinating again, because there is no real reason for you to start accomplishing said task.