Everyone wants to have a successful life filled with the luxuries of time and money. It seems that only the rich and famous have it all together, but in reality, anyone can do what they do. Sometimes, the only thing that is stopping us from getting things done is ourselves. Continuing to blame others or situations for your shortcomings won’t rip you out of your rut. Getting things done isn’t always easy, especially when you have to work long hours, have children to raise or lack the power and will to self-manage your priorities. Whether you are falling behind in your career or personal life, you can benefit from the following time management tips on breaking free from the claws of procrastination.
Get Organized: Write Down and Sort Out Your Priorities
One of the first steps for beating procrastination is to know what you’re procrastinating on. It’s easier to procrastinate if you don’t have a priority list. Place it somewhere visible, like on the fridge or on your desk. Write down your personal and business related goals, then reorganize them to reflect what’s most important to you. This list will help you to stay on the right path, and the victory doesn’t come until you have conquered them all.
Example: The items on your list are to write a book, teach your kid to ride a bike and write a business report for work. These areas deal with your career, hobby and personal family life. Likely, your work will be top priority because without a steady paycheck, you won’t have time for your family or hobbies. Next on the list could be teaching your child to ride a bike, since that is short-term and then you can start on the novel you’ve been dreaming up for months or even years.
Create a Schedule With Deadlines
A lot of procrastinators make the mistake of taking on too much or too little of their tasks. With a schedule, you can make time each day to work on your list of priorities, allowing you to slowly but surely get everything out of the way. Having deadlines is the key, but don’t overdo it; be realistic with your goals. Check off each task you complete – sometimes, visuals can help to motivate you. When you see how much progress you are making, it will give you a boost to continue forward. Counting down to the due date can also create a sense of urgency to complete your tasks.
Be Affirmative: Work Towards Your Priorities Everyday
Tomorrow is a word you can never repeat again. If you’re like many, you like to put everything off ‘til “tomorrow” – a day that never seems to come for procrastinators. Instead of using terms like “later” and “eventually”, you should use the word “now”. Getting things done right then and there, even if it you’re unable to complete the full task, is better than continuously delaying it. For example, if you have an extra ten minutes after work, don’t waste it lounging around, start typing up your novel or work on the report with the a looming due date.
Get a Partner
A lot of people need a nudge here and there to keep things moving along. Just like folks tend to get a workout partner, consider getting someone that can either help you or keep you company while you complete your tasks. Of course, the person you choose should NOT be a procrastinator. Pick someone who motivates you.
Use Peer Pressure to Your Advantage
Let everyone know about your goals and they will keep you on your toes. The pressure of their expectations will keep your expectations high. When you feel like you have something to prove, you are more than likely to prove it.
Break Down Your Tasks into Bite-Size Pieces
Once again, biting off more than you can chew is never a good idea. In fact, it will only discourage you from completing the task. So if you have a large project, such as a 50,000 word novel, don’t try to complete it all in one weekend. Break down the task into smaller ones. For instance, you can commit to completing 500 words a day, which is only about 1-2 pages. The same can be done for other areas, like writing a white paper for work or cleaning up your cluttered attic. Eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed by taking it easy. Stephen King writes 10 pages daily, everyday of the year, including holidays, but you can space out your tasks to where you’re comfortable. Here’s a great time management tips book for 101 ways to manage your time better.
Reward Yourself for Staying on Schedule
After each week or month, reward yourself. This can be tickets to a sports game or going out to eat. Whatever would motivate (or bribe) you to complete your tasks.
Make Yourself Inaccessible
Let your family and friends know about your schedule, so that you won’t have as many interruptions. If you have a home office, complete your tasks there or if it has to do with cleaning or spending time with family, then alienate yourself from distractions that can be caused by the outside world, like work and friends. You should also avoid distractions like television and the Internet. Have everything off and avoid social networks and web surfing, which can easily waste hours of your time.
Tackle the Small Tasks First
As you break out of the habits of procrastination, you will be able to taste the flavor of success quicker by starting with smaller projects. Complete the smaller tasks first and use the sense of accomplishment you feel to drive you to continue on to your bigger tasks.
Figure Out Your Peak Period and Time Limit
Some people work best in the morning, late at night or in the afternoon. Figure out your peak period and how long you can commit to a task without frying your brain or wearing out your body.
After you have stemmed from the pit of procrastination, you will feel great. Hopefully, the feel of success will fuel your fire and annihilate your procrastinating ways. Stop delaying and get started today!
“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” –Henry Ford