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This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

It can be hard to stay self-motivated when you’re facing your computer screen. Life gets in the way, and that new Netflix release can look awfully tempting compared to a strenuous session of work.

Time goes by, and before you know it, nothing has been done.

Ultimately, you’re the one who’s accountable for your own work. Even though getting things done can be tough when nobody’s there to push you, you can use a few techniques to get into the groove once again.

Try following these five tips and see if they get you going on what you should be doing:

1.Promise yourself a reward after doing a task

I like to treat myself to something nice, such as a snack or a TV show–but only after I’ve completed a certain amount of work. It’s not a pretty thought when you haven’t started, but it works.

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For example, if I need to write a blog post, I might set a small goal such as doing some basic brainstorming. Once I jot down a number of bullet points, then I can have a small break.

I sometimes find that I’m actually tired and could use a break. Other times, I end up becoming incredibly focused on the task at hand and forget about the break. Either way, I’ve made progress.

2. Break the task down

It’s easy to get excited in the beginning of a project and set big, lofty goals for ourselves. But once the hard work begins, our initial goal just seems too out of reach. We begin to falter. As a result, we give up or decide to do the work “later”.

Instead of setting an overly ambitious goal such as “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by the end of next week”, why not set a concrete, yet manageable goal just for the day? The truth is, we often set goals that require too many steps, overwhelming ourselves.

For example, I might just set one very simple goal. It could just be, “Open a Word document and write down the topic.” That’s it. Then, I might set another mini-goal, such as “Type in a few bullet points.”

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These tiny goals might not seem like much, but they challenge your resistance to getting started in the first place.

3.Warm up first

It can be hard to go straight from waking up and enjoying a nice breakfast to working right away. Why not do a warm-up first?

Doing work can be mentally taxing, especially if you’re still groggy. Instead, you could start off by doing a mental exercise to get you going. This could mean reading a book on self-development or psychology, or solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Physical exercises also do wonders when it comes to starting off the day right. A cardio workout helps you increase your energy and feeling ready to take on the day.

4.Stop analysis-paralysis

Have you ever thought of starting something, but thought that just reading one more article or watching one more video would provide a flash of insight? And then you ended up just reading about it, but not actually doing something.

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Hesitation is part of the process. It’s natural. But if you let it take hold, fear can keep you from starting at all.

Next time that happens, try this: Just let loose. Do something. Don’t get stuck on the idea of being perfect. Just try something out and improve as you go along. It can be intimidating, but also strangely liberating.

5.Think of what will happen if you DON’T get started

Studies have shown that people who procrastinate tend to have “myopia” when it comes to the future. That is, they only see the short-term rewards, but not the long-term effects of procrastination.

Playing a video game in the next hour is much more rewarding immediately than working on a goal, but damaging in the long run if you keep putting off what’s important.

If you find yourself in this situation, try this:

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Imagine the worst situation that will happen if you don’t do something productive.

For example, let’s say you’re at a job you hate and dream of running your own business. You get home tired from work. But instead of researching more into starting a venture, it’s easier to watch TV. Think of what will happen in 10 years. You’ll probably be stuck at the same old job, wondering what could have been if you had taken action earlier.

What is one technique you like to use to get un-stuck?

Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com

More by this author

Melissa Chu

Founder of JumpstartYourDreamLife.com

6 Things Happy People Never Forget 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing If You Want To Be More Productive This Is How I Stop Procrastination. 7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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