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The Nike Guide to Overcoming Procrastination

The Nike Guide to Overcoming Procrastination


    You aren’t doing what you know you should be doing.

    And it’s eating at you. Every time this task you’re postponing and postponing crosses your mind, you feel stress and anxiety.

    But somehow you just take your mind to something else again, and postpone once more.

    And that’s exactly what procrastination is… The postponement that never ends.

    It steals your peace, joy and creative energy. Instead of crafting awesome words, works of art, or solutions, you sit with worries, stress, anxiety and a subtle realization that you’re still not the productive, task-accomplishing machine that you hoped to be by now.

    Just do it!

    Nike’s slogan is old news to all of us.

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    Still, when it comes to procrastination, it’s such good advice. No matter which way you look at the constant postponement that we label procrastination, there’s simply just one solution.

    Just do it!

    That task that you’re postponing that’s stealing your joy… Start with it, and start it now. There’s no such thing as tomorrow. We always only have the present moment. And we should use the present moment to do what needs to get done.

    Watch your thoughts

    Yes, this all sounds a bit easier in theory than it is in practice.

    But some simple awareness can help you overcome your obstacles. When you think of a task that you’ve been postponing, and you decide to do it, watch out for mental sabotage.

    Some thoughts will arise with reasonable excuses for not doing the task right now. These thoughts are the very reasons why you’ve been postponing the task in the first place.

    “I’m a blogger, so I’m not sure it’s a good idea to start webinars. I should rather just focus on my writing.”

    Or…

    “I know it’s important to sort out my office and I do believe the clean working space will give me more creative energy, but today’s a busy day, and I don’t have time for admin. I need to keep my clients happy…”

    These thoughts are the little foxes that sustain procrastination. You need to have your guard up, be on the lookout for them, and as soon as they appear, you need to counter them.

    And there’s only one way to counter such thoughts. You need to take decisive action, right now. Let me show you how…

    Take five minutes

    This is a short blog post. I like writing longer posts, in the region of 1,500 words. I kept this one short (at less than half my preferred length) to save you at least five minutes.

    And no, you can’t go on a tea break or catch up on the latest sport news.

    I want you to use that five minutes right now.

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    As you read this article, your conscience would have shown you a task that you needed to have done by now. What task was that? If there’s more than one, just pick one. Any one.

    It could be redoing your website’s about page. Or (more likely…) it could be starting that book you’ve been dreaming about for years.

    I want you to take 5 minutes right now, and start with that task.

    The idea is not to complete it right now.

    Just get a start. And don’t think bigger than five minutes. Only use five minutes.

    What might happen is that the energy you get from starting is so great that you work on it for an hour.

    Or after five minutes you’ll stop, but the feeling of accomplishment and the fact that you took five minutes and actually worked on it might get you to take another five minutes this afternoon or tomorrow.

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    It gets the ball rolling…

    Oh, and right about now your mind will be coming up with some clever little excuses. These are mere thoughts. The ones that cause procrastination. Awareness is key.

    Please ignore them and start. Take action. Do something! Right now…

    And then commit to taking five minutes (yes, only five minutes!) to work on your project every day.

    You’ll be amazed by the results. Just do it!

    I would love to hear about your experiences and your progress in the comments section below.

    (Photo credit: Motivational Phrase via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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