What is one of the worst feeling words in our vocabulary? Procrastination. I cringe when I hear this word, do you?
It conjures up mental images of having to meet a deadline, emails piling up in the inbox, a garden full of weeds, a to do list that has coffee stains and yellow corners because it has been sitting around for a while. We all know it well. It’s the common disease of modern times, the unwanted child of Mr. Overwhelm and Mrs. Excuse, born out of wedlock, unloved and unattended.
We are all victims of procrastination, sooner or later it creeps up, infects our minds and will not go away. The good news is: There is a cure.
It is a remedy made up of a combination of discipline, planning, small action steps and rewards. To some of us, discipline is a dirty word, the frugal puritans or a military drill may be images that come to mind. And yet, discipline breeds success. Once a simple discipline is followed on a daily basis, this discipline becomes a good habit, and good habits are the fundamentals of a happy and fulfilled life. Discipline makes us proud of ourselves, we have a feeling of accomplishment, of defeating the couch potato syndrome, of having achieved a small win. And a few good habits take us a long way.
Let us look at a few habits that may serve you well:
Start your day with 15 – 20 min. of exercise. Go for a walk or run, do yoga, whatever fits you. This brief exercise will get your blood flowing and produce dopamin in your brain which will help you with focus and willpower.
Next, spend 15-20 minutes to plan your day and set priorities. Write down the 3 most important things you want to accomplish by the end of day. Only then check your email and adjust your priorities if needed.
Now that you know your schedule, plan for nutrition and breaks. When we do not take time to have a quick break and drink enough water and have a snack we get tired and overwhelmed and we loose focus. It was suggested to take a short break every 90 minutes. Have some fruit or snacks ready so your brain gets the sugar it needs to function at an optimum level.
Do difficult things in the first half of the day. Leave the afternoon for easier to accomplish things and routine tasks – we loose focus and energy over the duration of the day.
Embrace goal setting. Having a few goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (even though a little stretch won’t hurt) and timely will keep you moving forward. This helps you measure your growth and learning and will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Celebrate each little win, each step towards your goal. Have fun, give yourself some reward, share your wins with others.
Of course, this is just a short list of things that will help you conquer procrastination. There are many tools available, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a priority worksheet you can use to identify your most important tasks.