I have a presentation to work on, but first…
I will check the mail.
I will wash the dishes.
I will check my Twitter account.
I will run a few errands.
I will return a call.
I will do anything BUT work on my presentation.
Procrastination At Its Finest
The above scenario has been an actual scenario for me many times, and still is at times. Maybe you too can relate when it comes to procrastination. I’m very good at it. In fact, I think I may have even perfected it.
I’ll cut myself some slack though, and you as well, if you’ve had your moments of procrastination too.
It happens, it’s life, and it’s OK.
What’s not OK is not doing anything about it and letting it continue to happen, over and over again. That’s not OK.
We all have our own reasons for why we procrastinate and what we procrastinate from. It could be exercise, eating well, reading a book, writing a paper, starting a business, reaching out to a friend, applying for a new job, going back to school, taking a trip. We may even procrastinate for different reasons depending on what it is we need to get started or complete.
I know myself for example, will procrastinate when it’s something that I know will take lots of time and effort to complete, like a presentation. It even happens when writing these posts, like this very one here, when I know I need to get it done and published, yet I wait and wait, have coffee, check email, and check Twitter before I finally manage to get myself on track, focused, writing it, and completed.
“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
~ Victor Kiam ~
Reasons for my own personal procrastination, that I have identified, are that I am usually either overwhelmed, distracted, or I rather be doing something else, such as playing guitar or looking at travel photography. There’s nothing wrong with playing guitar or looking at travel photography, as long as it’s not at the expense of other more important tasks that must be completed, like this post for example, or my newsletter, or my workout. These come first.
Scheduling Your Priorities vs. Prioritizing Your Schedule
Do what’s most important first for your overall health and success. I love playing the guitar, but it won’t get me healthier, stronger, and physically feeling more energized as a workout will, therefore I prioritize getting my workout done before playing guitar.
I love looking at beautiful travel photography from all over the world, although that’s not contributing to my mission and what I’ve committed to, which is to make a positive difference in the lives of others throughout the world, helping them to live a happier and healthier life.
Completing posts such as this one, my weekly Motivational Monday Message videos, and my newsletter, that is reaching thousands of people globally on a weekly basis, that is contributing to my goals, my mission, my commitment, and so it will always come first and be completed first before all else.
I’m still guilty of procrastinating on occasion and I know it’s going to happen here and there, I’ll live with that. I believe we can all live with that. Let’s make it our goal to decrease the occurrences though, and continue to get better and better as we go.
MY THREE WAYS TO BATTLE PROCRASTINATION
#1. Plan My Day
If I don’t have a clear direction, a clear schedule of what I need to get done on any given day, I will find myself drifting from task to task and spending my time doing things that aren’t a priority for the day. This is why it’s so important for me to plan out my day. For example, it may look something like this:
Workout (1 Hour)
Work On Newsletter (2 Hours)
Return Emails, Tweets, Messages (1 Hour)
Brainstorm New Blog Post Ideas (1 Hour)
Read (1 Hour)
Be Active (30 Minute Walk)
Plan For Tomorrow (30 Minutes)
#2. Eliminate Distractions
This has to be my number one procrastination mechanism. Between social media, calls, emails, and text messages from family and friends throughout the day, interesting articles and blog posts I want to read, distractions are a constant throughout my day and get the best of me if I allow them to.
What I do know that has worked wonders for me, is that I do not keep my social media web browsers open. This way, I cannot see that there are messages waiting for me and enticing me to read them. I do the same with my email inbox. As far as responding back to messages from family and friends, I either do it during breakfast, lunch, or in the evening, just not during my daily priorities, which I’ve scheduled for myself, as I listed above.
#3. Reward Myself
I love this one and it’s definitely been working for me. If I have scheduled myself 2 hours to work on my newsletter, I will tell myself that after I have finished several items for the newsletter, I can have 10 minutes to myself to to whatever it is I want. Whether it’s play guitar, surf the internet, look at travel photos, whatever it may be.
I love my reward time but it’s important to stick to the time you’ve agreed upon. If it’s 10 minutes, it’s 10 minutes. No more, no less.
This can be tough considering it’s you holding yourself accountable but also very rewarding when you do hold yourself accountable and you begin realizing you have more will power than you realized. Powerful in many ways.
I’m not perfect, we’re not perfect, and we’re not always going to get it right. That doesn’t mean we stop believing in ourselves, giving it our all, and striving to be and do the very best we can.
The Best Way To Get Something Done Is To Begin
I don’t believe procrastination is going away anytime soon, and that’s OK. As long as we understand it, plan for it, and manage it as best as we can, I believe we’ll be productive and successful at getting the important stuff done first, and ultimately happier and healthier than we’ve ever been before.
What are some of the ways you procrastinate? What have you done to overcome it? Give one or all three of the suggestions I mentioned here a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below.