Mark Twain said that if the first thing you do each day is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day. The idea is that if you do the most difficult task first thing each day, the rest of your day is a walk in the park. But for those of us who put off these important tasks, we create a habit of procrastination.
Your mind is your most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination. “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” was said by Alan Lakein, who is a well known author on time management. Plan out your day. 10-12 minutes of planning will save up to 2 hours in wasted time throughout your day. Make a list the night before. Your subconscious mind will work at your list while you sleep. You will often wake up with great ideas. Create a few lists to organize your tasks, such as:
-Master list: everything you want to do
-Monthly list: everything you want to accomplish next month. May contain items from your master list.
-Weekly list: this list is under construction as you go through the week.
-Daily list: transfer items from your monthly and weekly lists.
Cross off items as you complete them to give you a visual picture of accomplishment. Seeing yourself working progressively through your list motivates and energizes you. Visual progress helps to propel you forward.
One of the major reasons for procrastination is the confusion about what you are trying to do; a lack of clarity. Only 3% of adults have a clear, written goal, when it comes to what you want. Follow these simple steps in order to maintain a clear understanding of what your goals are:
1. Decide exactly what you want
2. Write it down - when you write it down, you create something tangible
3. Set a deadline - a goal without a deadline has no urgency
4. Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do in order to achieve your goal. This will give you a visual picture.
6. Take action immediately. Do something!
7. Resolve to do something every single day to achieve your goal. This will make it part of your daily routine. Don’t miss a single day.
The most valuable tasks are the hardest, most complex tasks and are the ones that tend to be procrastinated, but are the ones that will have the greatest reward. Always start with tasks of greatest value and resist the temptation to clear up small things first. Long term thinking improves short term decision making. Ask yourself “What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?” Successful people are those who are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term, so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term.
Another huge reason for procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy. Everything is learnable. Follow these three steps for mastery:
1. Read in your field for at least 1 hour a day
2. Take every course, seminar, and/or workshop. Dedicate yourself to becoming knowledgeable.
3. Listen to audio programs while driving. The average car owner spends 500-1000 hours a year driving.
The more you learn and know, the more confident you will feel.
Overworking can be underproducing which is another reason people procrastinate; we’re fatigued. By eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of rest, you will get work done easily as well as the quality of the work will be better. Don’t forget to speak kindly to yourself. Always tell yourself “I can do it!” to overcome fears and doubts. Don’t complain about your problems.
Once you get going, keep going. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Time is going to pass anyway. The question is how will you use it? There is never enough time to do everything, but there is enough time to do the most important things.
By: Sherry Raymond, LMT