Seven simple ideas to beat procrastination. Don’t read later. Read now!
by Peter Watts
Procrastination is putting off a task we don’t want to do today, so that it can become a task we want to do even less tomorrow. Creating the opportunity to speak in public for example.
Ask any accomplished presenter and they will say that the sure-fire way to becoming accomplished is to get out there and practice, as often as possible. Presentations seldom seek us out. To win those opportunities we have to create them, and that’s often a task we feel we can safely shelve for another day.
The first step to beating procrastination is to recognize that WE are the only people standing in the way of making the future happen.
Once that step is taken, here is the plan for beating the procrastination cycle:
- Break the challenge down into logical tasks; Task one, task two, task three, and so forth. Task one for example, might be creating a list of your possible opportunities to speak. Task two might be building a list of the people you need to contact. Create a road map of those steps, and set out on them one by one. Assign deadlines for when tasks will be accomplished.
- Starting out on the task can feel like the hardest part. As the Chinese saying goes: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” Take that first foot-step and you’ll find that the second becomes easier. Movement builds momentum.
- Seek out a mentor, someone who understands your goals and would be willing to nudge and nag you towards success.
- Schedule tasks for appropriate times of the day. For example, gathering materials or contact names might be something you can do in low-energy moments after lunch, while creative work is better done while you are fresh in the morning.
- Set out the tools. I personally procrastinate about building PowerPoint presentations, but if a client wants me to supply one, then my first step is to simply open PowerPoint on my laptop. If I don’t do this, it’s amazing how many other things I’ll be able to find to do instead, such as checking email. Once PowerPoint is open though, I’ve started the task, and design time is more likely to follow.
- Celebrate your successes along each step. Rewards are a great way to get yourself doing something you don’t want to do. What can you treat yourself to as a reward for getting each task done?
- As Steven Covey would advise us in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Keep the end in mind” You’re doing this for a reason. You want to become a great speaker.
Procrastination is the force that holds us back. Beat procrastination, and wonderful things are free to happen.