Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a problem with procrastination.
(If you didn’t raise your hand, better grab a fire extinguisher for your pants!)
I’m no stranger to procrastination. But, as someone who’s been running a business from home since long before Covid, I don’t have the luxury of indefinite procrastination.
I have obligations to clients, as well as the sight of piles of mail and baskets of laundry, to remind me that too much procrastination will lead to a whole lotta chaos and stress.
So how can you cut back on procrastination and be more productive, more efficient, and less stressed?
Here are three things that work for me:
Consider the big picture.
Thinking about how my actions affect my future self, and others, can help motivate me to stop procrastinating.
For example, if I want to do my job of helping my clients succeed, then putting off that project isn’t going to help anyone. If I want to reduce anxiety in my life, I should imagine how much more stressed out I’ll be if I keep waiting to return that phone call.
I often procrastinate because I feel intimidated by whatever I’ve been putting off. A great way to deal with that is to divide the task or project into even smaller bites.
Say I have to write an in-depth blog post for a client. If I have trouble getting started, I take baby steps. These might include:
- Open a new document file for the first draft
- Review any notes I already have
- Look up some authoritative sources for the blog topic
- Write an outline for the blog
- Write the introduction
- Write the call to action
Dividing it up into such small steps makes the whole thing much more manageable and less intimidating.
Set a timer.
This is kind of a variation on the “Work smaller” idea above. For tasks I have to do, but just don’t want to, I set a timer for a short amount of time—five, ten, or fifteen minutes—and commit to working on that task for just that amount of time.
In many cases, the task ends up taking less time than I expect. Other times, I find myself “in the groove” and actually want to finish the task even after the timer goes off!
Have you tried any of these techniques before? How did they work for you? Feel free to share your own anti-procrastination tricks in the comments!
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