- by Don
In today's video, I'm discussing 5 tips to overcome procrastination, Don't worry if 5 tips sounds like a lot: you don't have to start using them all at once. It's better to start using one at a time, than to procrastination about getting started using any of them! (See tip #1!)
Hey there, today, I'm going to talk about five tips for avoiding procrastination
Now, if five sounds like a lot, don't worry. You don't have to start by doing all five. I don't want you to be overwhelmed and think, “Oh, I can't do all five things!” and then procrastinate about doing any of them. So pick one or two, implement and then you can come back and add the rest later.
Now we've all gotten caught up in procrastination, right? And I certainly try to go there until I catch myself and bring myself out of it.
One of my favorite stories about procrastination, though, comes from Janelle Holden, who published this story on Facebook back in 2013. Janelle wrote:
This is how procrastination happens: I'm in the middle of writing an Important Document (emphasis on Important) when I hear a song on my internet radio that reminds me of a song that I heard 10 years ago by an Australian band at a small music festival in Colorado. Random, I know ...
At which point I think ... "I wonder if that band is still around?" I then completely drop what I'm writing and google the band to learn that they broke up in 2005 and the lead band members don't seem to be doing anything at all anymore which makes me sad and reminiscent of when I saw them in 2001 and how long ago that was (and how old I'm getting) and completely forgetful that I am TRYING TO GET SOMETHING DONE. This goes on for at least 10 minutes until I write this post.
And this, my friends, is why procrastination cannot be beat.
Boy, I can relate to that, can you? I absolutely relate to it!
Apparently, procrastination is a very common problem. Just Google it. There's lots of articles, lots of books.
Years ago, my brother gave me this book, How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Living. It's a great title. And if I remember correctly, it was written by one of his professors when he was in seminary. And so my brother gave it to me as a gift.
I understand it's a really great book. And one of these days I want to get around to reading it. <Budump bump.>
Seriously, though, if we're going to succeed in our business or our remote work jobs or pretty much anything else, we've got to beat procrastination.
So today, I'm going to give you five tips to help beat those tendencies to procrastinate.
All right, Tip #1: Break it down.
A lot of the time, probably most of the time, I would venture to guess probably 80% to 90% percent of the time when we're procrastinating on a task, it's because that task isn't really a task. It's a project. It's a lot of little tasks.
And what happens when we look at it, we kind of get overwhelmed and we shut down because it's so big. Now, my friend Matthew Kimberley has a saying: He says that overwhelm does not come from having too much to do. It comes from not knowing the next right step.
And so I think when we look at this task and we feel overwhelmed and we shut down, that's exactly what's happening. We're not really sure where to start. And so rather than start, we do nothing.
So what we want to do is take that task and break it down into smaller steps, little bitty things that you can do.
So, for example, I've been procrastinating about getting these live videos going. And one reason was because I wanted to stream to multiple places at once. I got this great software called Restream to help me do it. And there's a lot to learn, so it's easy to keep putting it off and trying to figure it out.
So what I did is I broke it down step by step. Yesterday all I did was stream the first video through Restream, and send it out to multiple destinations.
Today, I've added the captions that you see down in the corner.
Tomorrow I'll add something else.
So just break it down step by step.
And by the way, you don't have to break the whole project down into one hundred steps or how many steps it is. All you need to do is figure out what's the next thing you need to do and then put that down as your task and then do that.
All right, that's #1, Break it Down.
Let's look at Tip #2: Turn off distractions.
You know, it's easy to procrastinate when there's a lot of distractions going on.
So what can we do to eliminate distractions?
Well, one thing we can do is if you have an office with a door is go in your office and shut the door. That sends you a message that I'm here to focus and get this stuff done with minimal distraction.
And it sends a message to the people around you that right now you need to be left alone.
Another thing we can do is turn off the ringer on our phone, put our phone in Do Not Disturb mode, and put our computer in Do Not Disturb mode. And that way we won't get a lot of excess distractions.
Now, those are pretty easy to do. You can Google how to do it, and there's a couple of articles actually even on my blog, which I'm going to post here:
For some people, maybe it's better to just don't take the phone into the office with you, put it out away so you can't look at it and can't be distracted by it.
Whatever it takes, get rid of those distractions.
So that's Tip #2, Remove Distractions
Tip #3 is to set a timer.
Put a time limit on how long you're going to spend working on this task. With a deadline, even an artificial deadline that's created by setting a timer, you'll be more likely to focus and get that task done.
I used to joke that projects obey the gas law. By that, I mean a project will expand or fulfill all available time.
And you know what? It turns out, I'm not only right, there's actually a name for that law. It's called Parkinson's Law.
Parkinson's law says that the amount of work required adjusts, usually increasing, to the time available for its completion. So allocate yourself an amount of time that's appropriate to get this task done, set a timer and then work on that project and get it done before the timer expires.
So that's Tip #3: Set a Timer.
Tip #4 is: Capture distractions to deal with later.
You know, invariably when we're working on stuff, random thoughts pop into our head. Sometimes, like the example I gave with Janelle, all those thoughts aren't really productive, but they're there and we need to get them out of our head.
Sometimes they are really important things. Sometimes it's like, oh, I really need to do this. As soon as I get through with this, I got to work on something else. So what you want to do is create a way to capture those distractions. Write them down, get them out of your head, and then you can come back and process them later.
So one tool I've used for this a lot is Evernote. I keep Evernote open, and when these new tasks come into my head, things I need to process, I can write them down, put them in Evernote, and then later I can come back and process them out of out of Evernote.
Because although the things that are popping in my head might be really important unless they're urgent and more important than what I'm working on right now, then I need to just mark them, save them for later and process them later.
So that's Tip #4: Capture distractions and process them later.
And finally, Tip #5: Just do it.
Sometimes when we're facing an unpleasant task, we just have to suck it up and do it. Mark Twain once said:
"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day."
Sometimes you just got to eat the frog.
If you're facing a task and it needs to be done and the previous tips haven't helped, well, maybe you've just got to go ahead and do it. Get it done.
And the funny thing is, I promise, once you do that, it's going to feel a lot better.
All right, so I know I promised 5 tips, but you know what I'm going to throw in a bonus tip just because I'm that kind of guy.
All right, here's the bonus tip:
Once you knock out the task you've been trying to procrastinate about, reward yourself, Celebrate the accomplishment, bask in the fact that you actually got it done. Feel good about it, enjoy it and celebrate it.
All right. That's the five tips.
- Break it down
- Turn off distractions
- Set a timer
- Capture distractions to deal with later.
- Just do it.
And the bonus tip: Reward yourself.
All right, so are you feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff you need to do?
You try to work, and all of these thoughts come into your head and you need help catching them, dealing with them later, prioritizing your tasks, breaking tasks down?
If so, my online course: Control the Chaos: Using Evernote to bring order and control to your life and business can help. I'm going to post the link here in chat.
Here we go, there's a link to it.
And if you will use the code, DEC2020, that'll get you 50 percent off the course through the end of December 2020. Just for watching me learn how to do these videos live.
All right. That's it for now.
Until next time. Take care.