Eat your frog first – 10 tips to beat procrastination

Does this ever happen to you? There’s something lingering on your to-do list. No matter how often look at it, it’s still there. No matter how much you wish it away, it’s still there. It’s procrastination of its finest and it happens to all us.

Having to write that business report, ironing the shirts or deciding when to visit relatives may make you cringe. It’s easier to wait for another day, then tackle it. How many other things can you do than the one you should be doing? It happens to all of us. Yes, also to me. Rather than cleaning my stove top yesterday (it was already long overdue), I could find everything else to do. Calling a friend, doing the weekly shopping, watching TV, surfing the web, you name it. It’s procrastination of its finest.

What can you do to eat your frog first? Here are 10 tips to beat procrastination:

  1. As much as we try to avoid a certain task, that’s exactly the task we should be working on first. Getting the most dreaded task done first will leave you on a high. The feeling of accomplishment will last for the next activities.
  2. Create an environment where you can focus. This means also removing distractions. Put your phone on voicemail only, turn your emails off and if you’re still tempted to check out what’s happening on Facebook, use a provider like Rescue Time or Freedom which limits your internet activity.
  3. If your getting distracted by your own thoughts, write them down and park them. Clearing your head allows you to centre in on the activity in front of you and be productive.
  4. If you’re sitting in a noisy office, try out head phones with music – which doesn’t distract you from doing your actual work. If you’re at home, music may also give you the energy to spur you on.
  5. Work during your peak. When are you most energetic and most alert? Use your body clock. If you don’t know if you’re a lark or an owl, this test will identify your most attentive times in the day.
  6. Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed by a project that we don’t work on it. Break it down into smaller steps asking yourself: “What’s the very first thing I need to do?” What comes after that initial step? If you require help from others, ask them for their assistance.
  7. You are probably already working with a to-do list. But do also assign realistic deadlines for each item? Set yourself deadlines for longer term activities (e.g. retirement) not in years but in days. Calculating the days till retirement gets you into saving or preparation mode much, much faster than if you’re looking at it in years as Jessica Stillman found out.
  8. Set a timer and give as much as you can for 25 minutes. Follow the Promodo Principles, take a 5 minute break and continue for another 25 minutes.
  9. We often procrastinate because we want 100% perfection. Learn to accept that good enough is good enough!
  10. Just get on with it!

How’re you approaching your annoying and frightening task this week? What has worked for you in the past? Do share your tips with us by leaving a comment.

Now, get it done and until next time,

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