Do something today

Now LaterProcrastination can hinder you in every aspect of your life, and is usually attributed to such negative qualities as fear, over-confidence, or laziness - often resulting in anxiety and stress. Perhaps you've become so worried about your financial situation that you feel powerless to revolve it, instead avoiding paying bills and making phone calls because you're scared of the repercussions.  Maybe you're underachieving at work because it's simply easier to stay under the radar and do the bare minimum. 

Procrastination might also mean you provide poor quality work, miss opportunities, and put yourself under unnecessary time pressure.  Below are some common causes:

  • Lack of motivation/energy
  • Unclear goals and priorities
  • Don't know how to start on an activity
  • Started an overwhelming project
  • Fear of failure
  • Task is difficult, boring or unpleasant

You could be sabotaging your own success by putting obstacles in your way, and commiting effort into each of these areas will alleviate a great deal of stress and hopefully bring greater satisfaction to your life.  So here's a list of things you can DO TODAY to become more proactive:

  • Set yourself some realistic goals. Firstly you need to set yourself some tasks/goals.  Ideally these activities should take you no more than 30 minutes each, so it they are bigger break these larger projects down into bite sized chunks. Something too grand might become overwhelming and feel insurmountable, something too vague lacks the focus to drive you forward. So make sure they are small enough to be reasonable, and create a timeline to accomplish them.

  • Set yourself alloted time to work on these chunks.  It's amazing how much more productive you can be when you set yourself some time limits.  "Spend 15 minutes responding to outstanding emails."  "Spend 15 minutes returning a phone call".  "Spend 20 minutes tidying the house".  Once you have these goals set and start to make some progress, you'll soon appreciate the sense of achievement and will be able to see how much you can accomplish in a small amount of time.

  • Associate a deadline to each task.  Even if there is no official end date try and push yourself to honor them.

  • Avoid over planning.  Trying to come up with a very detailed plan could be misspent time, so try to ensure you are balancing the time spent planning with the time spent doing.

  • Identify your tasks by importance.  It's worth organising your task list by those which are most important.  For example, something of high importance might be paying an urgent bill or meeting a critical project deadline.  A non-urgent activity might be organising your photo album, or checking status updates on Facebook.

  • Start with a task that needs to be done that day.  This can give you a boost, and make you feel productive.

  • Tackle difficult jobs early in the day.  This tends to be the time when you have the most energy, so take advantage and take care of a challenging task fist thing.

  • Don't let perfectionism get in your way.  Make sure to focus your best work on those items that it will most benefit, and realise which tasks can "just be done".

  • Take breaks.  Organise your time so that you are accomplishing your tasks and scheduling some breaks for other recreational activities.  Be mindful to get a good balance.

  • Review your list each day before you start.  Ensure you are reviewing your list, and managing the priority.  Give yourself a task or number of tasks that you want to accomplish that day and put them into action.

As you can see from the list, time management plays an important role in overcoming procrastination.  If you can create a list of tasks, set alloted times for each part, create a deadline, and then act on those activities you'll be well on your way to being much more proactive.  If you're low on energy, consider getting yourself something healthy to eat and get some exercise - these are great stimulants for the mind.

I hope this proves to be useful, and good luck!

PS.  Writing this piece encouraged me do one thing today I'd put off for weeks...