We all know we’re not supposed to procrastinate. We’re supposed to be naturally driven and ambitious people who can just get any task done no matter how awful. Of course, some of us are procrastinators. If you’re one of those people who just keep putting tasks off and off, here are six suggestions that could help.
Realize that being productive can make you feel better about yourself
Do you expect your work to be fun? That’s probably your first mistake. However, you can take a lesson from highly productive people who choose work that they do well, which at least makes work a bit more pleasurable. If you can get all that work done without hurting your health, you should be able to go to bed at night feeling good about yourself.
Make it fun
Okay, some tasks will never be fun. For example, doing my taxes is one of them. However, you may be able to find ways to make some of those tasks more enjoyable or at least less daunting. Ask yourself “can I game-ify this,” or is there “a fun way to do this task”? This won’t always work but you might be surprised at how often you can add some fun to what otherwise would have been a boring task.
Make a conscious choice
There always comes a time when you decide, whether consciously or not, to do a task or to forget it. It’s best to make that choice consciously. If you do so, you may realize that the long-term gain of getting the task over with and getting your boss off your back outweighs the short-term pleasure of doing something else that would be more fun.
Think in terms of one-second tasks
Don’t think in terms of trying to do everything that’s on your plate. Concentrate on the next one-second task. If you don’t know what that task is, then figuring it out is your next one-second task. If you can break things down into baby steps (one-minute tasks) you may find it easier top realize your long-term goal.
All tasks won’t be pleasurable
It’s important to accept the fact that all of your tasks won’t be pleasurable. Sometimes you may need to remind yourself that you can survive some unpleasantness. You might find it easier to work through that unpleasant task if you think about how finishing it could benefit your family, your boss and you. Once you complete the task you might even realize it wasn’t as unpleasant as you thought it would be.
Do you have the right job?
If you find your work painful, maybe it’s because you need more training or you need to find a different job. If you think you might need a new job, be sure to pick one where you can do well enough that any pain is outweighed by the benefits of being highly productive.
Practice, practice, practice
You may remember the old joke where a person stops a New Yorker and asks how to get to Carnegie Hall and the New Yorker says practice, practice, practice. The same is true of eliminating the procrastination in your life. Reading these tips won’t change you by themselves. You might want to print them out, tape them to your computer monitor and read them aloud several times a day. Alternately, may need to force yourself to use the same strategy over and over to help you develop more drive.