One minute you’re scheduling your tasks – and the next hour you can’t stop procrastinating over them. What will I do first? Which task will be the most time consuming? When will I reschedule that appointment? Well, what a load of work. Let’s get some coffee. Aaaaand it’s gone. Your productivity, that is.
This, my friend, is procrastination at its finest
And once you fall prey to this time consuming state of mind, your productivity is nowhere to be found. The day will pass in the blink of an eye, leaving you screaming WHY?! in frustration. Okay, let’s skip the screaming part. But days without focus surely are a pain in the butt. There must be a way to get a grip, right?
Ladies and gents, i’d like to introduce: 3 quick steps to STOP Procrastinating
But first, grab your favorite notebook and a pen. Yes, a notebook. You know – those pretty things in your drawer. Or download your free Procrastination Workbook in my free Resource Library while you’re at it.
Step one: assess your current situation
E.T. phone home! No seriously: how are you feeling right now? Tune in with your inner procrastinator and try to figure out what’s causing the distraction, as your mind might be filled with energy draining thoughts. So, put your phone away, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. What is the first thing that comes to mind? Write it down in your notebook or workbook. Remember: you can accomplish a great deal more if you are in touch with yourself. Productivity starts with a clear mind.
You can ask yourself these questions:
- What’s my current mood – is there a (physical) reason for my feelings?
- Which task am I trying to avoid and why?
- Are there any thoughts holding me back?
- Can I focus in my current environment?
Other ways to clear your mind
- Find a comfortable spot and meditate for 5 – 10 minutes
- Try a few easy yoga poses to ease back into the moment
- Make yourself a cup of tea and focus on the taste and smell
- Write in your (bullet) journal
Is your mind in check and do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Alrighty! Let’s move on to the next step:
STEP two: break down your tasks into smaller tasks
Take a look at the list you’ve just made. Do you feel like you can rock it? If not, it might be a good idea to break down your main tasks into smaller ones. For example: if you are writing a business plan, the task ‘write a business plan’ could be quite overwhelming. How about tackling this goal one bit at a time? You could finish part 1 on Monday, and on Thursday you might be able to squeeze in part 2 and 3. Yes, this approach takes more time. However, you won’t lose this time on pointless daydreaming any longer. You’re welcome!
Main task to small task – some examples
- Play the guitar could be: play the guitar for 30 minutes or learn a new song on the guitar
- Clean the house could be: clean the bathroom and kitchen
- Read a book could be: finish chapter 2 or read for an hour
So, here’s what I want you to do:
Break down your difficult tasks into smaller ones, and write the new task next to the original one. In the workbook I made some extra space, in case you have several smaller goals. Review them, and add a deadline or (weekly) frequency if the task is recurring. Done? Awesome, you’re ready for the last (and most exciting) step.
STEP Three: Jump right in! – and stop procrastinating
‘Dive, dive, dive, dive in me!’ screamed your task list. Well, actually that was Kurt Cobain in one of my favourite Nirvana songs. The point is: you cannot be productive unless you start being so. There is no such thing as a Schrödinger’s cat for productivity, since the decision to accomplish something is always up to you.
There are, however, ways to boost your concentration when you find yourself lost in the jungle of distraction. Like I said before, you have to determine your main source of distraction. So, strike out whichever is not applicable:
- Your phone – a.k.a. distraction galore
- Your laptop / browser – don’t even get me started
- Noisy environment
- Perhaps you’re hungry? – this is literally my excuse for anything
Next: set a timer
On your phone. Oh, the irony – I know. Or you can use one of those old-fashioned egg-timers. Does anyone even use those lately? Raise your hand please. Still, using a timer sets you up with a defined productivity time frame. You will have to focus on one specific task for – say – 30 minutes. Anything else will be off limits. This method is often referred to as The Pomodoro Technique – but I will touch on that subject later on.
Whew. You actually made it!
You succesfully read your way through 800 words of juice. That’s awesome! I hope these steps will boost your productivity and – more importantly – make you stop procrastinating. And if not: please let me know where it went wrong.
I’ll be off now – the precious (a.k.a. chocolate muffin) is calling me.