Schedule in “Prime Time”. Plan to work on the task you tend to procrastinate on during your most energetic, lively, focused, productive time of day – your “prime time”. For many people this is first thing in the morning, for some it’s late in the evening when there are fewer distractions. Whatever it is for you, use that time for starting or completing your most challenging tasks. You have the best likelihood of succeeding then.
Put materials out. Clear your workspace of any distractions, and put out only those items you need to perform the task you’ve been procrastinating on. Make sure you have all the supplies you need so you won’t have to interrupt yourself to get the stapler or source material. Having all your materials ready and set up for you “invites” you to get started and finish your project.
Set deadlines. We’re all motivated by deadlines, so use them to keep yourself on track. Even if the official deadline is a month from now, set mini-deadlines along the way to help you keep moving. Set up rewards for meeting each deadline, and double down on anti-procrastination strategies if you find yourself falling behind. Tell others about the deadlines as well – it will help keep you motivated to keep on track.
Kiss the frog. Mark Twain said that if the worst thing you have to do all day is eat a live frog, it’s better not to stare at it for too long first. Get it over with! Brian Tracy wrote a whole book on this strategy. Instead of spending the whole day trying to avoid your worst, most feared task, do it first thing in the morning. You’ll be more productive all day long!
Allow “good enough”. Perfectionists tend to procrastinate big time, both not starting a task (because why bother – it will never be good enough!), or not finishing a task (because if we do, we’ll have to admit it’s not perfect, and that can feel painful). Allow yourself to turn in work that is “good enough” for what it is. Not everything needs to be perfect, and really, nothing ever is anyway, so start practicing “good enough” work. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done!
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Yes, you may be afraid of not being good enough, of being too good and losing friends over it, of embarrassing yourself by tripping and falling on the task, or of feeling uncomfortable in a million different ways. Do it anyway! It won’t kill you, and in fact, once you do the task in spite of your fear, you’ll start realizing how strong you are, and start feeling less fear in the future. You’re stronger than you think!
Read my book, STOP Wasting Your Precious Time for more help overcoming procrastination and being more productive. Available on Amazon.com.