I am the most a productive procrastinator.
It’s so true. Even my husband knows I’ve been avoiding my to-list if I’m cleaning toilets on a Wednesday afternoon when I should be at my computer.
Is that you? If you just had a clear desk then you’d be able to get more done….2 hours later you’re dusting cords under the desk and not getting anything on your list done. It seemed like good intentions, but it wasted your precious time while the kids were at school.
I know I’m not alone in this. It’s amazing how many women are incredibly productive when they are avoiding the task at hand. We are naturally motivated when we can see progress, so we turn to tasks we can do on autopilot (like toilet cleaning). I know it can be done quickly and completely checked off the list. But it’s not helping the essential tasks get completed.
How can we be motivated to do the looming, yet essential tasks that need to be done? Let’s get items completely checked off your to-do list!
Simple ways to avoid procrastination and become more productive:
Break it Down
Break down the larger project into smaller steps. One project can have a million steps before we can check it off the list. And usually we get off task before it’s really completed. Break the project into smaller steps to make realistic progress. It will help you stay focused, see progress, and keep you motivated.
Do the dreaded task first
Plan to do the most dreaded task on your list by noon. This prevents you from skipping over it all together. And your day feels so much more productive knowing you got the looming task done.
Have an incentive program. Rewards aren’t just for motivating kids! Tell yourself you’ll work on xyz-project for 20-45 minutes. And set the timer. When the timer goes off, you get your reward — to spend 10 minutes on Facebook, bake cookies, go for a walk. Whatever motivates you! According to Oprah, it’s not bribery, it’s an incentive.
Know what is essential and what isn’t. Your list is probably really long, which can make it hard to know where to start – and usually we pick the easier tasks first. Pick the top three most essential tasks – put stars by them on your list – and do those tasks first. Learning to prioritize is key to being productive.
Focus and Re-Focus
Studies show we can only have 2-3 tasks to focus on per day. After you prioritize your tasks, you need to stay focused to get them accomplished. We can get distracted just by walking into the other room. When you get off task, ask yourself, “what am I supposed to be doing right now?” Commit to re-focusing even if you have to do it over and over again.
Enlist someone to hold you accountable. When we verbalize what we plan to accomplish and we know someone is going to follow up on our work, we are more apt to persevere through the looming list.
We all have different ways of procrastinating. What is it for you? Identify and try one of these tips to get more accomplished. Once you get it done you are free to do those more exiting activities, even if it is cleaning the toilets.
Need support knowing where you get stuck? What’s tripping you up? or Accountability to keep making valuable progress? Michelle Kuiken, Organizer + Coach, can be your guide and partner to alleviate the overwhelm and learn ways your life can function easier. Contact her here to stop procrastinating and start taking action.