Why do something now when you can work on it later? This kind of makes me think about the candy “Now & Laters” (really good candy by the way). As time continues right on, what you had planned to do tomorrow becomes what you planned to do yesterday, and what you had planned to do last year becomes...well, yester-year. And so on.
Who hasn’t walked in these shoes? I know that I have and still struggle at times, but when you can predict where the path is headed for about the second or third time around (and nowhere good) you start thinking to yourself - no way! This is not going to be me - I’m not letting this happen again.
And as soon as you adopt a mindset like that, it’s time to put it into action. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today - 5 tactics to help keep you from procrastinating this year.
If you’ve already started off on the wrong foot, it’s not too late because you’re still alive and there is still an opportunity to change. So please don’t adopt the “I can’t do this mindset” or “I’ll never be good enough” mindset because that leads to defeat.
Let’s conquer by taking these tactics to heart & putting them into practice:
1. The 5 Minute Rule
The 5 minute rule is as simple as it sounds: if you can just get yourself started, then you’ve made progress and progress counts.
When we procrastinate by putting off a task or responsibility, we’re most likely doing this because the task seems painful or the responsibility menacing to think of approaching. And often, our thoughts and feelings are enough to convince and stop us from being productive and getting things done regardless of the consequences (until they arrive). Then once we’re met with consequences, we can get angry and upset, but it’s useless because of our choice.
So, whenever you’re sitting down or facing a task or responsibility that needs to be done, set a timer on your phone or a clock for 5 minutes. If you can put in at least 1-2 minutes, then you may find yourself more absorbed later into the task that you forget 5 minutes have passed.
*And get this - you’ve spent about 1 minute or so to read this tip ;-)
2. The Pomodoro Technique
Work 25 minutes and break 5 minutes - a technique that is very simple and easy to follow. I've tried this myself and have found it to be helpful in accomplishing tasks and also providing me with a space of time to break and refresh a little.
You can even mark completions of each pomodoro or 25 minutes that you spend working and make marks for the times that you were tempted to procrastinate. The point of this technique is to not get burned out and over-engaged into a task by allowing a small amount of time to refresh yourself.
Go ahead - right before you start a task, set a timer for 25 minutes and once you've completed that task, take a break. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish in that time period.
3. Block Time-Wasting Websites with an App
If you find yourself constantly checking your email or drifting back and forth between Facebook and Twitter, then trying out an app to block certain websites would be a good idea to help you stay focused. This would be a good option if you're constantly checking your phone or social media, and you struggle with avoiding them.
4. Tell a Friend or Join a Community
There's something unique about telling someone your plans or hopes. Once you inform someone or individuals of your plans, it is likely that what you have told them will be on their minds if they really care about you. Tell a friend what your plans are and ask them if they can help you be more accountable. I know this might seem like something you don't want to do, but you might find that there are more individuals than yourself who are struggling with similar issues.
If you don't have a close friend or someone you want to tell, you could also join a community or group of people who support one another in meeting their goals. Whether you join a group of like-minded people who meet on a regular basis at a physical location or digitally through a Facebook group or another method, I do believe that when an individual is supported and backed by people who really care that it's very encouraging.
5. Create Greater Stakes
This last tactic is definitely a lot heavier than the previous ones, but if you create consequences that will truly help you to avoid procrastinating, then maybe that is the route to go. This might involve cutting your opportunity for going out to eat on the weekend, purchasing something new that you might have wanted, or even chipping away at your wallet.
If you increase the level of consequences involved, you might be less inclined to procrastinate and play a game or hop over to social media.
And those are 5 tactics you can apply today to help avoid procrastinating this year. While you take appointments, meet clients, teach classes, or whatever tasks your line of work requires of you, we want you to be successful and productive.
And there are two more thoughtful questions that I want to leave with you:
Is there something that you’ve accomplished that was challenging (you endured some obstacle or another) but it was worth it in the end? What did you gain from enduring that challenge(s)?
Let us know in the comments below.