Are you frozen and unable to get moving and have stuff you know you should be getting on with, but the more you think about it, the more you put it off and the more stressed out you get because you know you need to do something? Maybe you’re putting off doing a job at home, or at work, you’re putting off ringing that person you know you should be ringing or you’re delaying going to the gym, making time to study or booking that medical appointment!
Well you’re not alone!
I work with many people like you who are experiencing some form of procrastination. Whatever is your thing that you’re putting off, that you know deep down, you want to overcome, then this article is for you. This set of tips is an accumulation of the experiences that I’ve encountered with my clients in overcoming procrastination!
Here’s my 10 Easy & Simple Ways to Beat Procrastination & Get Moving:
Tip 1 – Break State
If you’re stuck in a state of procrastination, the chances are you are in a level of overwhelm, which puts your brain into a kind of panic state and your brainwave pattern will be fast and erratic. So I’m going to share an exercise with you that will slow down your brainwave pattern, to get you into a more resourceful brainwave pattern, that will help get you into a calmer, more resourceful state of mind. This will help you to think more clearly.
Here’s what you must do:
- Sit down and relax -in the middle of your room space. Place your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent and your hands palms down on your lap.
- Lift your chin so that you are facing straight ahead.
- Take deep breaths in for 5 seconds and exhale slowly for 5 seconds and keep this going.
- Raise your eyes and focus your sight on a spot on the wall in front of you and above your level of horizon, such as a mark on the wall, a clock, a particular pattern in the wall paper – it doesn’t matter. Now simply just stare intently at that spot you’re focusing on.
- Now as you become heavily focused on that one spot, just notice that your peripheral vision starts to widen and you can notice other objects to the left and right of the spot you’re focused on. You can also start to notice that you can see other objects in the room above and below the spot you’re focused on. All the while you never take you eyes of that spot you’re focused on. Notice too now that you can hear more intently the things going on around you, noticing first off, the louder noises and then you begin to notice even the most minute sounds, like that mouse hiding behind the fridge 🙂
- Now notice how much calmer you are feeling, still breathing slowly and deeply – how good do you feel now?
Tip 2 – Decide what you want and need to do by separating Needs & Wants
Now you’re in a more resourceful state, simply make a list of all of the things you are putting off doing (if there are more than one). Separate your list of things to do into two separate lists with the headings:
- Need / Have To Do
- Want / Would Like To Do
Tip 3 – Prioritise
Now, using Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix (shown below), from his book, “First Things First”, prioritise the list of things to do in your Needs and Wants list.
Here’s how it works:
- Anything that is important and urgent, to you and others, because it effects both you and others, if you don’t take care of this, should be placed into box one. Multiple entries in this box should be numbered for priority starting with #1 or placing the highest priority item at the top of the list.
- Anything that is important but not urgent, because it only effects you but not others if you don’t do it, should go into box two. Multiple entries in this box should be numbered for priority starting with #1 or placing the highest priority item at the top of the list.
- Anything that is not important to you, but urgent to others, because it affects others more than it does you if you don’t do it, should go into box three. Multiple entries in this box should be numbered for priority starting with #1 or placing the highest priority item at the top of the list.
- Anything that is not important and not urgent to you or anybody else because it doesn’t effect you or anybody else if you don’t do it, should go into box four. Multiple entries in this box should be numbered for priority starting with #1 or placing the highest priority item at the top of the list.
Scott Brelsford can help you to overcome procrastination.
Therefore the tasks that you should first tackle are those listed in box one, starting with the item at the top of that list. Then move to box two, then box three and finally box four.
Tip 4 – Goal setting for success
Now you have your to do list and you have prioritised the order you will take care of those tasks, you now need to set yourself the goal to complete those tasks. So concentrating on your most important and most urgent task at the top of your list shown in box one of the Time Management Matrix.
You are now going to set a SMART Goal for that task. SMART is an acronym for:
SIMPLE MEASURABLE ATTAINABLE / ATTRACTIVE REALISTIC TIMED
You need to keep this simple and specific. I’m not talking about setting yourself a goal that is simple, because a goal MUST be something that STRETCHES you, otherwise it’s merely a quick chore or the type of task that you wouldn’t be procrastinating over in the first place – right 🙂
What I mean is, that your goal must be simple and focused, rather than wordy and vague! What exactly do you want to achieve! The more specific the better!
Your achievement of your goal must be measurable. How else will you know when you have achieved that? What will be different?
You must make your goal appealing, both in the short term AND in the long term! It must be stated in the NOW – as if already achieved!
The goal although to be a stretch for you and a challenge, needs to be realistic. Becoming an Astronaut in two years time, having never stepped foot in a military training camp or served in the Air Force, may be a little unrealistic! Unless of course you are a drilling / mining expert who is mankind’s last chance of survival and have a crash course in space training before jumping on board a shuttle for a one-way trip to intercept a massive meteoroid or asteroid. But that stuff only happens in the movies right
State your goal as if already achieved! Know exactly when it will be achieved!
Saying that you will achieve this next month is not a definite date – because, what happens is, when next month comes along, your goal is still next month and next month or next month!
OK Scott this sounds GREAT, but how do I put this all together – show me an EXAMPLE:
“It’s July 31st 2020 and I am at work with my team and our very satisfied clients, in the board room, celebrating with champagne, pizza and finger food, the on-time completion of the Upgrade Project, resulting in further work being granted to our team and $150M of profit. I feel very excited by the outcome and further work and my employer and even myself love what I do”
Now repeat for each of the tasks you have in your Time Management Matrix, a SMART Goal for each individual task. You can do these all now or do the next SMART Goal on completion of the previous task. It’s up to you!
Tip 5 – Take ownership of the task to be completed
You now need to develop a sense of ownership of your task and respective goal to complete your tasks. Starting with your most important and most urgent task, the one that you have just completed your SMART Goal for, write down the following four questions:
- What will happen if I do this task?
- What won’t happen if I do this task?
- What will happen if I don’t do this task?
- What won’t happen if I don’t do this task?
Get plenty of paper here. I would write each question separately on separate sheets of paper. Notice the language in each of the questions. So when you write down your response to those questions, keep the language you use in alignment with the respective question!
What will happen if I do this task?
- I WILL learn new things about myself.
What won’t happen if I do this task?
What will happen if I don’t do this?
- I will likely fail and feel like I have let others down.
What won’t happen if I don’t do this?
- I won’t expand my horizons.
Tip 6 – The Benefits
Write down now how by completing this task, what the benefits are for those you love, for those you work with, for the environment you live in whether that be for your home or even the wider environment you live in, such as the neighbourhood, the town, the state or country! If what you are doing serves a positive purpose, then find the motivation from that, whether it be from what you are hoping to gain OR what you are trying to prevent or avoid by completing the task!
Tip 7 – Take Action
What is one small step you that you can take right now – to move you one step closer to your goal, to the successful completion of your task? Now go ahead and take that small step. When you have done that, take another small step towards completing your task. Then another and another.
Tip 8 – Evidence
To build upon your SMART Goal a little further, write down ALL of the evidence that you will / could have to show you that you are on track to completing your goal successfully. If you flick a light switch, the evidence that tells you that you successfully switched a light on is to observe the action of the light globe and whether light is radiating from it (or not). So as you take steps to complete your task / goal, what evidence are you going to look for that confirms that you are going in the right direction of reaching the successful outcome of your goal / task?
Tip 9 – Be Flexible
So you have listed and prioritised your tasks, set SMART Goals, given yourself a list of evidence that tells you that what you are doing is working or not, you now need to decide how you are going to react if you find that what you are doing isn’t working, or could work better by thinking or acting in a different way. So allow yourself some flexibility in your approach. If the evidence you’re looking for isn’t showing itself, either you’re focus is wrong or you need to change what your evidence will be. If the action steps you’re taking aren’t getting you towards your goal or outcome, then change your action steps.
It’s OK, do a complete u-turn if you have to. Because if you have to do a u-turn to get closer to your outcome, you’re still moving forwards!
Tip 10 – Always maintain a Physiology and Psychology of Excellence
Motion creates emotion.
Emotion creates motion.
When you feel great, your body automatically shifts into a very supportive posture and your language (how you speak and the quality of the words you use) becomes more supportive. When you adopt a high quality body posture, you feel great and your language improves. When you speak in more positive ways, you feel great and your posture improves!
Are you noticing the relationship here between emotions, your body and your language here?
That’s right, they’re all interrelated. A change of any one, affects the other two proportionally! So to influence a positive outcome of completing your goal successfully, you must adopt positive language or a positive posture to result in positive emotions and therefore positive motion, to get you positively moving towards your goal!!
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So avoid any negative thoughts, avoid negative emotions or negative posture, to avoid negative affects on reaching your goal. If you feel down (for example), then counter this with positive language or by adopting a more positive body posture or physically get moving by exercising, walking, boxing or cycling etc (because motion creates emotion).
Maintain a Physiology (body posture) and Psychology (thoughts and language) of EXCELLENCE to promote positive emotions and therefore positive motion and action steps!
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