Tricks For Your Sleeve
I’ll start on Monday.
I need to wait until I have more time to focus on it.
I’ll do it later.
We’ve all been there. Talking about doing something but never actually doing - anything. I’m as surprised as you are when I think really hard about a task and it is still sitting there staring at me! Procrastination is a plague on progress, isn’t it? We have something, or many things, that just hang out on our to-do list that we can’t seem to get done. We want to do it but somehow, it just doesn't happen.
There are no right or wrong ways to kill your procrastination instincts and get yourself going. The right way is whatever happens to work for you. When you really don’t feel like putting yourself to task, try pulling out some of the tricks I have up my sleeve to get you started. I am no magician but my simple tricks just might delight you when you see a little progress.
Break it down. Even simple tasks have steps to getting them done. That lightbulb in the hallway that has been burned out for 3 months? You need a lightbulb. You might need to take out the old one and figure out what voltage. The ladder from the garage? Now with it broken down you can do one thing to get you closer. Or maybe two. Don’t allow the details to stop you from getting started. And broken down, fixing the lightbulb becomes a collection of 5 minute steps instead of a frustrating afternoon wasting time trying to find what you need.
Set a deadline. Tell yourself that you will get it done by a certain time, or a certain date. Dream big and set a challenging deadline, like “I will finish cleaning this closet by today at 5pm.” And honor your own commitment to just do it. It is absolute nonsense that you can’t be in control of how you use your time to get things done in your own life. Set a deadline as if you are the boss (you are) and you are the employee (you are) who is required to do it.
Give yourself a reward. Tell yourself that after you successfully complete it you will reward yourself for doing so. Try not to make the reward something that derails your diet, if you follow one, or derails your budget, if you follow one. Rewards are up to you so make sure to offer yourself something meaningful enough to motivate you.
Enlist help. Tell someone what you are trying to accomplish. Tell them to check on you in a certain number of days. You can even tell them to hound you about it if that will motivate you. Sometimes when we know that others are watching we find our “get up and go” and do what needs to be done.
Work for 10 minutes. Set a timer and just spend 10 minutes on it. I often employ this strategy with my blogs. I’ll tell myself I just need to get started and type for 10 minutes. More often than not, I find my stride and spend more than 10 minutes. Don’t feel like working out? Just plan on ten and see how you feel once your heart rate is up. Tidying the house? Just ten minutes in the living room. Once time is up, be unashamed walking away having completed your ten minutes. One of my favorite quotes is “no matter how slow you go, you are lapping everybody on the sofa.” Ten minutes isn’t a whole lot, but it will always be more than zero.
Stop the negativity. It doesn’t matter how long this has been languishing in your inbox. It doesn’t matter when it was supposed to get done. It doesn’t matter that it is part of a longer list of things that are still waiting for your attention. Today - now - you can change the narrative surrounding it. And you can avoid the common pitfall of declaring that somehow you have failed, or you are a failure, because of a single project. Newsflash - you aren’t even a failure if you have an enormous pile of stuff waiting for you. The negativity does not serve you. Period. So stop. And spend that energy actually doing something productive, like thinking about how it will feel when you are done.
Learn more about the whys behind your procrastination from an earlier post. And then utilize a few of my best tricks to get yourself on the path to completing those tasks that are waiting for you. If only I had a trick for making them just vanish….Oh wait! I do. Get to work. It turns out we can make them disappear.