Looking from the outside, I think a lot of my clients and readers think that I must never put things off or procrastinate.
The key is to get the projects that you really want to do done – quickly, so that you can move on with your life. Not all tricks will work in all situations so here I listed 17 strategies and thought processes to trick yourself into action.
1. Know Your “Why” – You should have clarity in why you want to do something before it makes it to your to-do or project list in the first place. Everything is a choice…even if the task is part of your j-o-b, it is your choice to work there and provide for you and your family.
2. Make A List – Break the task or project down. You’ve probably heard this before, but making the list and breaking the task or project down often propels you into action on a few little “starter tasks”. Once you see all the little tasks laid out in a list, you can see that a few of these tasks can get checked off right away. What better adrenaline rush is there than to get a few check marks on your to-do list?
3. Think About How You Will Feel Once the Task or Project Is Done – That “weight” that you feel lifted off your shoulders. The fact that you won’t have to keep thinking about the project anymore once it is done can sometimes be enough to get you going.
4. Change Your Environment – There are two main reasons for changing your environment. One reason is for a new perspective. Sometimes it is hard to be motivated at your computer or desk. Sometimes you have to break out the sticky notes or white board to get the ideas flowing. Many of my articles were scribbled out months in advance while waiting at the vet office, on an airplane or voice recorded while driving long distances. The other main reason for changing your environment is to make the task seem new or fun. I make many dreaded phone calls while walking on the beach, or poolside to make it a little more fun.
5. Give Yourself Permission to Just Start One Little Piece – Just let yourself start one little piece of the task or project, and you will almost always stick with it for a longer period of time. Once you are in motion – you tend to stay in motion. When I am designing a website for someone, I usually just tell myself “Ok, you only have to design the background right now”. Then, what always seems to happen is that I end up designing the background, menu, and doing all the social media set-up. Warning: This tip can backfire because you may end up diving so deep into the project you may neglect other obligations – just be aware.
6. Get Someone Else To Do It – There are two sides to getting someone else to do the task. One, delegating (or automating) all non essential tasks from you life and work is essential to stay clear and only work on your “genius” work. And, two – getting someone else to start a task for you can end up with you finishing it. For example, having an assistant transcribe you talking about a subject can lead to you editing the transcription into an article – easier to edit sometimes than to create from nothing.
7. Get Someone Else to Work On It With You – Some projects are just more fun when you are working with someone – even if you have to pay them. Working with someone else can also ignite some friendly competition into who will get their parts of the projects done first.
8. Stop! Do something else until you are truly inspired. Forced work is never fun…I don’t even think it is legal.
9. Let Perfection Go – Seriously, if I was worried about every little typo or word choice, these articles would never get out! Money likes speed, move on!
10. Skip Around – No one said your project has to be done in order. If you’ve listed out all the pieces of the project as suggested earlier you can skip around. This happened when I wrote the sales letter for the Balance Your Life System, I wrote all the “what you get” parts and choose all the photos before I wrote the headline. And, even when I wrote this article, I wrote out the list of suggestions and then filled in the information randomly.
11. Dive Into Why You Aren’t Doing It – Fear? Money? The fact that you don’t know how to do something? What is the root of all this procrastination? Just knowing the cause sometimes lets your productivity start flowing.
12. Look at your sleep, nutrition and exercise habits – There may be a physical reason for your sluggishness. Have you lost sleep lately? Forgot to take your supplements? Skipped the gym?
13. “Well, it was a good idea…” – Let it go, loose the guilt about it and move on. Not all projects are meant to be completed. This is exactly why I have clients separate their to-do lists into Master Task Lists and other lists as to not overwhelm and to have a system of evaluation and urgency while lifestyle planning.
14. Reward Yourself – I always hated this suggestion in the past. It sounded cheesy and so third grade. But, it works for some projects. You know how quickly you finish things when you are about to go on vacation, right?
15. Take Frequent Breaks – My dogs probably go on double the walks per day when I am trying to finish something. I just tell myself, “Ok, just finish this one section and then you can go outside with the dogs.” Or, “Just finish this batch of social media posts and then it is time for a manicure”
16. Clear the Clutter In Your Workspace – The clutter in your environment sucks up your energy more than you know and blocks creativity. Feeling unmotivated? Start tossing stuff first.
17. Create or Shorten the Deadline – Find a way to lock yourself in. This is probably my favorite. I start inviting people to workshops and then I have to get the content ready by a certain date. Want your guest room organized and de-cluttered? Invite some relatives to stay next weekend. Want to learn how to cook? Invite everyone over for next Thanksgiving dinner. Just find away to lock yourself in and face public humiliation (if possible) if you don’t get it done.
Do you have any tricks or strategies that you use to combat procrastination and get things done?
I would love to learn what you do in the comments below.
Strategy and accountability is often the key to getting what you want to achieve done – I’d love to help you with your business and life goals!
Read more posts by Erica Duran
The online feature magazine, JenningsWire.com, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.