Are you missing out because of procrastination?
Obviously, that’s a rhetorical question. If you’re having any sort of confidence, or self-esteem issues, it’s going to result in procrastination of one sort or another.
But don’t worry too much. Because everyone procrastinates occasionally. In fact, procrastination is actually one of the biggest enemies of building confidence.
If you’re listener to my podcasts, then you’ll know that the most important thing you can do, is take some form of action toward you desired outcome every day. And where possible, that action should be outside your comfort zone, even if it’s only a little bit outside.
But, as we all know, even with the best of intentions, you get sucked into a void of distraction. Whether that distraction is, scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, or doing something unnecessary rather than taking action.
Remember that everyone gets distracted at one time or another. And that applies to me too.
I would suffer, like a lot of people, from ‘Imposter Syndrome’. If you’re not sure what that is, it means that I felt I didn’t have enough experience, or knowledge to be giving advice.
So I spent a great deal of time over-researching the things I wanted to write about. Constantly worried that I’d miss something important, or someone would call me out on something I wasn’t sure of.
That meant I’d spend days, or sometimes weeks making sure I had every piece of information I could find, before I’d click ‘Publish’!
Then, I spoke to a fellow blogger who gave me a simple, but very effective piece of advice. He said…
Nobody knows everything. If what you’ve got to say helps one person, learn one thing, then that knowledge is worthy of the same consideration as any other.
All that unnecessary research was my procrastination. The distraction of ‘other work’ held me back.
So, now these posts have a different purpose. I still keep on top of new ideas, thoughts and applications, but my goal now is to help you learn one new thing.
Obviously I’d like you to learn much more than that 🙂 , but just one thing is my target.
By doing that, I rarely get distracted. So, I don’t procrastinate, and I can provide you with more useful information than I otherwise could.
So, that’s how procrastination effected me.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is …
…the act or habit of putting off or delaying something, especially something requiring immediate attention.
So there are lots of ways we can procrastinate and if you’re not doing something you should be doing, you’re procrastinating!
Generally though, procrastination fits into a few different common categories.
How does it show up?
Procrastination and distraction can show up in a whole range of different ways. Here’s some of the most common…
The task is too big or too difficult
The first one, is we can make jobs, or tasks seem too big to handle. You know what you need to do, but you imagine that particular task is too big, or a little too difficult. And that can stop you from starting it.
So the easy way to negate some of that, is to simply break the task down into smaller steps. Into things you feel you could do quite easily.
The second thing, is outside distractions.
This could be something as simple as maybe turning off the TV, or putting your phone on silent. If you’re at work, you could shut off your email client, and close any unnecessary browser windows.
If there are other people around distracting you, then you could even go into a separate area.
The less distractions you’ve got around you, the better it’s going to be. The problem with outside distractions is we don’t see them as a distraction until they’ve distracted us. Then it’s too late 🙂
Can’t decide on a order
Next, is to make sure you get the hardest, or the most difficult task done first. There’s a quote that’s been attributed to Mark Twain that makes this very point. The quote is…
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
This has been adapted over the years to things like… “the first thing you should do every day is to eat your frog” and “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” , etc.
But whatever the actual quote was, or where it derived is really irrelevant. It’s the sentiment that matters.
And that is, first thing in the morning, you should do the thing that’s most difficult. Or the thing that’s going to take you the most time. Or the thing that’s the hardest. Once you’ve done that, everything else you need to do during the day, is going to be much simpler.
So start your day by doing the most difficult thing first.
There’s too many things to do
Then it’s analysis paralysis.
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. It’s where you’ve got so many different things to do, it’s difficult to make a decision on where to start. The upshot of that is you get very little, or sometimes nothing done toward your goal.
The way to get around that, is to make a list every morning, or even better the night before.
Jot down all the things that you need to do during the day. Then from that list pick, maybe three, or up to five particular items and work on those.
Once you’ve got your most important items, work your way through them from the most important/difficult, down to the least important/difficult.
Doing things that make no difference
And then lastly, set yourself a time limit.
If we think we have plenty of time, we take our time with unnecessary work (just like I used to 🙂 )
So, even if that means you need to set a timer, give yourself a specific amount of time to work with.
Whether for you that’s five minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or longer. Set it and stick to it!
As an aside, be aware that if there’s a clock nearby, or you’ve got your phone with you, don’t be tempted to keep checking that. Having to look at a phone, or a clock can be another distraction.
By all means set a timer on your phone, then forget about it and start work. Knowing you’ve got a deadline pushes you to get more of the important stuff done.
I’m sure at least one of these things is your Nemisis. And hopefully you’ll get a handle on your procrastination using some of these tips.
Try them all out. Some might work better for you than others, but try them all. See which ones work best, then use them every day.
If you’ve got any questions, or comments, please let me know 😉