Have you found yourself putting off important tasks? Are you easily distracted? Are you ticking off your to-do list, or is there no list at all? Are you meeting deadlines with a sense of calm and achievement, or are you feeling the pressure and a sense of panic? Are you delaying, postponing or avoiding certain things and tasks in your life; essentially procrastinating?
Most people procrastinate to some degree. Procrastination is putting off what could be, should be or needs to be done. To avoid the activities that are not enjoyable or the difficult and challenging tasks, most people will find something more comfortable as a distraction and make excuses as to why they have not started or finished a job.
Below I will share with you my 6 P’s for overcoming procrastination. Before I do, I want to introduce you to a couple of methods that help me get things done and take back control of my time and results when procrastination kicks in.
Firstly, when time is allocated to begin, continue or finish working on a task, I use an app on my phone called Focus Keeper. I usually have it set for 25-minute sprints and five-minute break. What that means for me is that during the 25-minute sprint I will not be distracted by emails, phone calls, birds flying past, making a cup of tea, or anything else which will take me away from the task at hand. During the break, I can do those things.
Secondly, I use the ‘eat an elephant beetle’ method to help overcome procrastination. I aim to ‘eat an elephant beetle’ first thing, every day; meaning conquering the hardest, least desirable task first thing in the morning so I feel a sense of achievement first up and I do not carry the heaviness, inner criticism and negative mind chatter around with me all day.
Finally, here are my 6 P’s for creating a new habit of action rather than non-action and avoidance:
- PAY OFF
Brainstorm and write down what are the benefits you will gain once ‘this’ is done. WHY is it important to you?
- PEOPLE TO TELL AND PROMISE
Name your task and give it a deadline. Then, tell someone or a group of people who you trust, ask for their support, and promise to have it finished by the deadline. Sharing your commitment creates an atmosphere of accountability and is a psychological incentive for you to complete what you have been putting off.
- PREPARE AND HAVE A PROCESS
Prepare everything you need to get this task done. Have a list and a process, then mark out time in your diary. For example, are you going to do it all at once, in what order, are you going to break it down into smaller tasks, have allocated undistracted time?
- PAY ATTENTION
Be completely present when working on the task; no breaks, no interruptions, and no distractions. Using a timer or phone app, as mentioned above, will help here.
Keep following the 6 P’s on all tasks you feel overwhelmed by, or struggle to complete. Practise will allow you to create a sense of achievement as you begin to tick off projects and activities, and before you know it, you will have a new habit of work/task completion.
- PRAISE & CELEBRATE
Give yourself a big pat on the back. Reward yourself each time you finish something, big or small. You deserve it!
Ask yourself, how can you get started today using the 6 P’s?
Write down, and if you like share, what you are going to tackle first?