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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 September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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