Have you ever felt stuck? We’ve all felt it to some degree. In fact, a lot of us are stuck right now. Stuck at the idea stage, the execution stage, the expansion stage. There are many reasons you might be feeling stuck. But nothing gets us stuck quite like procrastination.
Procrastination is easy to relate to. In fact, it’s so pervasive we see it in all areas of our lives, not just work. We put off exercise, social activities, chores— anything that causes some amount of discomfort is a great candidate for procrastination.
Why deal with it now? You’ve got time, you can get to it later right?
This is dangerous.
Not only does procrastination stop you from completing specific tasks, it also makes it hard to complete new tasks in the future. Because you’ve settled, because you’ve said it’s OK to put your work off, you open yourself up to the same kind self-sabotage in the future.
How To Stop Procrastinating
Look, I won’t tell you it’s an easy thing to do. The allure of spending “just 5 minutes” on Facebook is strong. But by thinking about your work in the right way, you can help yourself kick the procrastination habit once and for all.
How? Let’s talk about elephants.
How Do You Eat an Elephant?
There’s a classic truism about eating elephants. How do you do it? One bite at a time. The same can be said of your work. If you have a massive project looming over your head, see if you can break it up into smaller pieces.
This is technique called, “chunking”, and is an essential skill for combatting procrastination. By cutting your large projects into manageable, bite-sized pieces, you can gives yourself smaller goals to accomplish. These are less formidable, and a lot easier to get started on right away— not after just one more cat video.
Eating Frogs to Build Momentum
When it comes to productivity, there’s something magical about having a sense of momentum. Brian Tracy has a fantastic post on his blog about this where he talks about the importance of eating frogs (not literally).
As Tracy explains, the idea comes from a Mark Twain quote that states “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Tracy takes this a step further and suggests you tackle your ugliest tasks first.
What is most difficult? What task will be the hardest to accomplish? Do that first. By taking it head on — and completing it — everything else looks easy in comparison. This helps you build up the momentum necessary to plow through the rest of your tasks and start crossing out your to-do list.
Bring it Back to Your “Why”
On this blog, in my life, and around the web I’ve a talked extensively about finding your purpose, your “why”. If you find yourself procrastinating heavily, come back to your “why” and think about what drives you.
I find that whenever I’m considering putting off an important task, thinking about my driving purpose can get me back on track. Examine the task at hand, will completing it help you fulfill purpose? Will it bring you closer to your achieving your end goals? Often, by reframing even the most trivial tasks with this big-picture perspective you can find the motivation you need to take immediate action.
Seriously. If you’ve come this far, I know two things about you. One, you’re procrastinating right now. Who else searches for (and reads an entire article on) advice for overcoming procrastination? I also know, that despite the advice above, you’re still not working on whatever task you should be knocking out of the park.
So stop reading. Build your to-do list if you haven’t already and find the most difficult task. The one task that would make everything look easy in comparison. And now get started. Start right now and don’t stop until it’s done. Along the way you’ll build the momentum you need to tackle the rest of your list.
Of course, if you’ve ignored this advice and are still looking to kill time, why not kill five minutes by subscribing to the blog? I’ll give you a heads up the minute I post new articles. Enter your email below to subscribe.