We all do it, right--procrastinate? I'm writing this blog post when probably I should be working on my tax return right now. I tell myself that at least I'm doing something useful in place of the most important thing, that's better than watching TV, right?
Well, up to a point. But when we do that for too long it catches up with us. When the most important thing we could be doing isn't getting most of our attention, we suffer the consequences.
I've written lots of posts about how to overcome procrastination and a fair share of the time I'm able to do it myself, but there's plenty of room for improvement. Here's what I've found that works:
1. Chunking down the big tasks into small pieces and committing to doing at least one small piece per day. Sometimes that results in momentum that carries you past your commitment. For instance, deciding you'll write at least 500 words in a session may get you into the flow enough that you end up writing two or three times that many.
2. Making a commitment to somebody to whom it would embarrass you if you had to admit failing to do the task. Right now the members of my Massive Action Day group and I have entered into a pact to choose one thing every day that we have been avoiding and do it--and tell each other about it (or about not doing it, if that's the case). I'm only on Day 4, but so far so good. (If you want to find out more about Massive Action Days and our group, see www.MassiveActionDay.com--if you sign up for the annual plan you also get 24/7 access to our group chat room 365 days a year.)
3. Keeping track of your success.
4. If you fail on one day, starting over again the next day.
That's it, there's no magic and the temptation to put off what is dificult, boring, or risky will never go away--but you can overcome it every day and reap the rewards.
(This article was inspired by a lifehack post. You'll find many creative ways to manage your time better in my book, "Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done." It's published by Pearson and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)