Admit it. You’re frustrated.
You’ve got this great new idea that you’ve been dying to work on, but your progress has been stop and go at best. Every time you sit down to work on it, something comes up.
You just need to look this one thing up so you know how to do it. Then you’ll get to work. And how annoying is that fan blowing your hair around? You should go turn that off so you can actually focus.
Before you know it, you get to the end of the day and realize you didn’t get anything important done.
How do successful people make this look so easy?
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Let’s take a trip back through time before the internet or cities existed, back when there was just man and nature.
Back then, doing something new wasn’t a good thing.
Taking a new route might end with you getting bitten by a snake or eaten by a lion – game over. Procrastination protected us. We were creatures of habit. Until we were starving, we stuck with what was safe and familiar.
What do you do now that procrastination is working against you?
We should become a creature of better habits.
Send Your Lack of Focus Packing. Improve your focus.
Imagine the busiest day you’ve ever had. It’s the end of the day, and you’re laying down in bed. Then you realize – “I didn’t do anything important today.” Ever had one of those days?
We all have.
When you start off a day without knowing what you need to achieve, you’ve lost the battle before you ever got out of bed. You need a plan of attack for the day before you ever get up. That way, as soon as you wake up you know exactly what you need to do.
This is the first habit you need to create. Every evening, come up with the three most important things that you have left to do. These should move you forward towards your goal and make other things on your to do list unnecessary.
Take these things and ask yourself – “If I did nothing but this the entire day, would I be satisfied?”
If so? Write them down on a sheet of paper. Put that sheet of paper beside your bed. This is your to do list for tomorrow.
Starting Your Day Off on the Right Foot
Don’t start celebrating – you haven’t killed procrastination yet.
If you want to have a successful day and get everything you planned done, you need to create another habit. If you stop here, you’ll have a small stack of post-it notes laying forgotten beside your bed.
To clobber your procrastination, you need to take a moment each morning to reclaim your focus. As soon as you wake up, you want to do two things.
First, you want to review your current list of goals. Remember why you want to accomplish each of these goals. This will motivate you and put you in the right frame of mind for the next exercise.
When you finish reviewing your goals, look over the piece of paper with your action items. Schedule your day around these three things. Don’t let your most important tasks be at the mercy of the less important things that come up during the day.
If possible, you should get these done first thing in the morning. If you’re tired in the afternoon, do them now while you’re still fresh.
Great, but How Do I Stop Procrastinating?
If you start with the easy task, you’ll drag your work out until you can find a reason why you can’t do the task you dread.
To overcome your inertia, you have to attack the mammoth first.
Before you do anything else for the day, take the hardest, most unpleasant task you have. Sit down at your desk – or wherever you can actually do it – then set a timer and start working on it. Don’t google it. Don’t read articles about it.
Start working on the parts you know you can do, and do your best with the rest. Even if you have to go back later and look a few things up to finish the task. You’ll be far less likely to spend the rest of the day reading articles. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Doing the hard task first has extra benefits. Not only will you have the thing out of the way, you’ll have done the hardest thing you’re going to do all day. By this point, nothing else should be able to stop you. You’ll have started the day with a massive amount of momentum, and inertia will take over from there.
Stop Learning New Things Every Day
When you attack that mammoth task, one thing is going to kill your focus more than anything else. It’s a little thing I like to call the Wikipedia Effect.
It starts off innocently enough. You need to know how to do one thing so that you can complete the task. You look it up on the internet. You click a link. Then another. Before you know it, you’re watching funny cat videos and your momentum is gone.
If you want to stop this from happening, you need to stop browsing the internet trying to learn things. Keep any information you need to complete the task handy in Evernote. Highlight the key points. If you need to refer to it, read only as much as you need to be able to finish the task.
Especially when you have that great idea you know could change your life. If you could just get around to doing it.
To improve your focus and kill your procrastination, you just need a few good habits.
Just imagine getting to the end of the day and being proud of all the progress you made towards your dreams.
Being able to set your goals and accomplish them without delays and distractions.
Imagine this sort of day being the norm, rather than a rare exception.
To start, all you have to do is create that first habit. Write your next steps down now, and then review them in the morning.
Make procastination a thing of the past.
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Author: Cory R Chambers
Cory Chambers is a productivity geek who helps people stuck in the corporate world overcome the things holding them back from creating the lifestyle they dream of.