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Monday, 24 February 2014

Overcoming Procrastination

Few of us are strangers to the lingering to-do item - often a difficult or complex activity- that we just can't seem to bring ourselves to do. "I will do it tomorrow," we say. Yet when tomorrow comes around we often come to just the same conclusion again, and again this vicious cycle keeps going on and on. 

The big question, then, is: How do we recalibrate ourselves, our thinking so that we will muster up the right mixture of self-discipline and motivation to take the action now rather than later?

Here are a few suggestions for overcoming procrastination:

Break it down. Smaller tasks rock.


The manner in which a task is presented to someone has a significant impact on how motivated you will be to actually turn it into action. As you might have already presumed, if there is a greater significance and positive return the task requiring work would quickly turn into an action, whereas if it were the opposite of that, the task would be idle and continue to go through yet many more procrastinating vicious cycles.

Take a GPS device for example. Not everyone can read maps, but they sure can follow instructions one after the other. By breaking your project down into smaller, bite-sized pieces, the way forward becomes crystal clear and it is ready for action!

Create fear. {Accountability}


No one wants to disappoint an expectant audience. While most of us may not have an adoring audience, but we can all muster up someone to hold us accountable. By creating one you have placed a prick under your ass. Declare your intentions publicly to your team of colleagues, a family member, or a friend that is willing to nag you!

Work on the 'difficult' project a little bit a day.


Ice is hard to cut through, especially when it is in a very large block. Cutting through the ice would be difficult and almost impossible, but by thawing at it slowly but surely the ice gets cut right through!

When your brain starts working on a problem, it doesn't stop. If you get your mind wrapped up around it for a fair bit of time. One day when you come to sit down for work the brain subconsciously over time has already solved it, and the answer would be just right in front of you! Most of our greatest insights - those awesome A-HA! moments - arrive when we least expect them!

View deadlines differently. View it as an opportunity.

By default deadlines are dreadful. Another take on a deadline can be viewed as a huge benefit to any project. Without the urgency of a hard deadline banging down on you, it is really easy for you and your client to lose focus. Agonizing projects are where the timeline just bleeds on and on, just because the flexibility is there.

Start without starting.


The trick is easy. Make the first step so small and easy that it doesn't create any resistance whatsoever. The idea of setting up an entire 'digital database' or creating a 'mobile marketing campaign' sounds big and difficult it immediately creates a shield. Your brain easily freezes up at the thought of it. So why don't, just, open up Microsoft Word or Xcode and creating a new file, or adding the title and saving it. Although it is something so trivial, the latter is the first step. It is tangible. It excites us.

Once you get the idea, you don't even need the full sentence - Yes, I have tried it and it works for me. I have to (ahem) write these posts for you to read you see! -

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The final thing is, finally, just you...


Think of your next big project - the whole thing at once - what happens to your motivation?

Now imagine 'just' doing all the little things that were recommended in this post!

What difference has this made in your life?

photoby {tyn}

 
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