I have a deep dark secret. Something that even my close friends don’t know about me. What is it? I’m a terrible procrastinator! Really.
Most people perceive me to be very focused, disciplined, and accomplished. They see my corporate successes, and the “dream life” I’m now living in San Francisco after my big transition … after my 28-year corporate career and 26-year (first) marriage both fell apart a few years ago … and they assume that it’s easy for me to achieve every goal I set and to implement every big change I make in my life.
But the truth is that I’m a procrastinator. When important deadlines come looming, I find dozens of trivial tasks on my To Do List that I “must” check off. When I need to work on an important project, I suddenly feel sleepy and want to take a nap. Or I decide to spend 2 hours doing emails or FaceBook. When I should be preparing for an important presentation, I decide to do my laundry instead. Do these things happen to you too?
Here are 6 tips and tricks I use to manage my procrastination tendencies. Try these yourself:
1) Prioritize … Sometimes we have so much to do that we feel paralyzed. Make a list of everything you think you need to do. Determine which tasks are urgent, and which tasks are most important. We tend to work on “urgent but not-so-important” tasks versus “important but not-so-urgent” tasks. If you’re going through a big transition in your life, career, or business, you need to focus on the important actions that will move you forward.
2) Chunk it Down … Break large projects into smaller tasks so that they’re less overwhelming. Doing them in small chunks also gives us the added satisfaction of checking off more tasks as “Done”. If you feel you’re more productive when you do things at the 11th hour just before a deadline, then give yourself a deadline for each of these tasks.
3) Make Appointments with Yourself …. Schedule time on your calendar for your important project work. Hold these appointments a sacred, as much as you would if they were client meetings. Don’t try to multi-task during those times. Focus on the project at hand. And if it helps, put a clicking timer on your desk to remind yourself how much time you have remaining in your “appointment” to get your task done.
4) Reflect on your Resistance … We all have mental obstacles that get in our way of making changes in our lives. What’s stopping you? Lack of clarity? Too many options to choose from? Fear of making a mistake? Fear of rejection? Need to do everything perfectly? If you can identify which mental blocks are causing your internal resistance to doing a project or task, you’re more likely to be able to address it.
5) Be Accountable to Someone … If you’re unable to keep commitments you make to yourself, then make commitments to someone else you respect. It can be a coach, a partner, a co-worker, a family member, or a friend. Ask them to hold you accountable for the commitments you make so that you can make good progress on the changes you want to make in your life, career, or business.
6) Just Do It … Know that once you get started on a project or task, it gets easier and it flows.
Whatever your procrastination challenges are, these tips will help you get into action and get things done.
Think about what big changes YOU’d like to make in your life. Do you want to uplevel your career? Start a business? Find a new special relationship? Create a new beginning after a big transition? There’s no better time than now to reflect upon your life and set/embark on a new path. Consider hiring a personal coach to help you brainstorm your options, define your goals and action plans, overcome your fears and mental blocks, and to hold you accountable so that you will make a big leap forward. For a complimentary consultation, go to http://wingsforwomen.net/consultation-request-form.
Wings for Women