7 Tips to Beat Procrastination

Is procrastination a serious challenge in your life? Admittedly, it can be difficult to do things we don’t want to do.

Even when we know that waiting too long will create a lot of challenges, getting started can still seem impossible. Unfortunately, when procrastinating affects your job-related tasks, it can have a negative impact on your professional career as well.

So how can you kick this annoying tendency to put things off and start getting them done instead?

Try these strategies:

  1. Schedule when you’re going to do it. Make an appointment in your calendar for the day and time you’re going to work on the task. This is far more effective than just leaving everything up in the air until the right moment seems to present itself.
  2. Consider scheduling just enough time to get started. A long, unpleasant task can be very difficult to start. Think, “I’m going to work on this for 20 minutes.” That’s easy enough that you should be able to sit down and get busy. Interestingly, once you get started, you’ll probably spend a lot more than 20 minutes on it. Getting starting is the tough part.
    • Make it as easy to get started as you possibly can.
  3. Break the task into smaller parts. Larger tasks can seem overwhelming. By dividing the task into manageable parts, it will be psychologically easier to tackle the project. It’s easier to do 10 small things than one big thing.
    • For example, once you’ve done five small things, you know that you’ve completedfive things, instead of just starting on the one big thing without deriving any sense of accomplishment. So break that task down into smaller bites.
  4. Which part is the most dreaded part? Frequently, there is a small part of the task that is really holding you back. Is it possible to get someone else to take care of that part of the task for you? Can you outsource it? Many times, if someone else handles the part you dread, everything else will fall into place.
  5. Pick the best time to do it. We all have times of the day that we’re better at certain tasks. We have times when we’re better at concentrating, others when we’re more creative, and other times when we have more energy. What’s the proper time for you to tackle the task? Do you need quiet and privacy? Do you need access to certain people?
  6. Get what you need to complete it. Make a list of the tools, supplies, and resources that you’ll need to both begin and complete the task. It’s hard to get started when you know you can’t get finished.
  7. Reward yourself! Give yourself a reward for completing the task. You’ve earned it! It doesn’t have to be anything big, but we all like a little treat now and then. A little additional motivation never hurt anyone.

Imagine how much better your life would be if you could kick the procrastination habit out the door. Unfinished tasks have a profound effect on your sense of well-being and peace of mind. Living with the stress that procrastination can cause isn’t necessary. Start using the tips above and remove the challenge of procrastination from your life. You’ll be so glad you did!

Effective Time Management Tips

Time is the one thread that runs through all of our lives. Whether you’re always early for an event, arrive as scheduled, or prefer to be fashionably late, you’re probably also watching the clock. Wouldn’t you love more time in your day to squeeze in more activities?

So how can you get more hours out of your day?

Consider these time management tips to enhance your productivity:

1. Preview your schedule for the day the first thing in the morning. Use your calendar effectively and you’ll be able to spend your time more judiciously.

* With practice, you’ll learn to recognize which tasks need more time to be completed and which tasks’ scheduled time can be shortened.

2. At work, if you’re responsible for leading a meeting, be prepared. Write the meeting agenda in advance.

* Stick to the time allotted for each agenda item.

3. Keep your focus on the task at hand. If you need to finish writing a report, stay with it until the report is completed.

4. Take active steps to screen out distractions. If you work better with soft music playing in the background, arrange to listen to your tunes while you complete your tasks.

* If you’re on the job, close your office door to deter people from stopping in to say, “Hi,” or ask a quick question.

5. Stand up. If someone calls you into their office for a minute to get your opinion on an issue, avoid sitting down. Impromptu meetings are shorter when at least one of you stands.

6. Have confidence about limiting chitchat at work. Don’t be afraid to tell people you can’t talk right at the moment. Rather than getting perturbed, your associates may praise your work ethic of finishing your projects before taking time to chitchat.

* You’re also setting a great example for the other employees.

7. Get comfortable with saying “No.” Being assertive is the hallmark of effective time management.

* When you take on more projects than you have time for, the quality of your work may suffer. Plus, your most important tasks don’t get addressed in a timely fashion if you have too much to do. You’re more likely to get more work done – and do it well – if you aren’t overwhelmed by taking on too much.

8. Use your planner at home as well. If you’re struggling during off-work hours to manage your time, feel free to also use your planner there. Write in your schedule when you want to work on certain home projects, like washing your car or cleaning the living room.

9. Set timers or alarms to keep you on task. For example, if you plan to clean your bedroom for an hour, set the alarm on your cell phone. Stop working on the chore at hand when the timer goes off, but not until then (unless you complete the task).

* Playing “beat the clock” can be highly motivational. Plus you’re likely to get more done.

* For particularly troublesome tasks, set your alarm in smaller increments – even 15 minutes – and take a short breather when your alarm sounds before you re-focus on your task. In particular, you may find that physically challenging tasks are much more manageable if broken into smaller, more do-able “pieces.”

Managing your time effectively will make you more satisfied and productive. Practice these tips to get a handle on everything you want to complete. A well-managed life is within your reach!

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Becoming More Punctual

By some estimates, 20 percent of people consider themselves to be chronic procrastinators and many more put things off on occasion. If procrastination is getting in between you and your life goals, try these suggestions for getting things done with less delay.

Understanding Why You Procrastinate

  1. Spot perfectionism. Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. You may be setting your standards so high that they intimidate you from doing your best. Determine if you’re avoiding important tasks because you’re anxious about how well you’ll perform.
  2. Make up your mind. You might procrastinate because you find it challenging to make decisions. You keep developing more options and telling yourself that you’re doing background research rather than buckling down to more concrete work.
  3. Analyze your feelings about the last minute rush. Maybe you’ve become conditioned to the euphoria you feel when working under pressure. You may need to find more productive ways to motivate and reward yourself.

Changing Your Thinking

  1. Examine the consequences of immediate gratification. Impulse control often lies at the heart of chronic procrastination. Try asking yourself which activities will contribute more to your wellbeing over the long term. You may enjoy watching several episodes of your favorite TV show back to back when it’s more profitable to spend that time studying.
  2. Drop the dread. Worrying about a project can often be more unpleasant than just doing it. Try adopting a neutral state of mind when you start listing all the reasons why you put off a project, like doing your taxes. You may be pleasantly surprised at how effectively you can reduce the stress you place on yourself.
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Take charge of your life by acknowledging your own abilities and making a commitment to give your best efforts to the things you care about. For example, get started today on your resolution to exercise daily rather than waiting until some hypothetical time when you’ll feel more energetic.

Developing New Habits

  1. Schedule your time realistically. Take an inventory of how you currently use your time. Calculate how long it really takes you to complete your typical errands compared to the overly optimistic scenarios that keep putting you behind schedule.
  1.  Minimize distractions. If checking emails and surfing the web are eating up your time, put those distractions out of reach temporarily. See how much more you can accomplish when you focus only on the task at hand.
  2. Manage interruptions. Some interruptions are inevitable. Remain flexible so you can get back to work quickly rather than letting a five minute phone call turn into a wasted afternoon.
  3. Break tasks down into manageable chunks. Set intermediate deadlines for yourself. If your final proposal is due in a month, allot time for each section, editing, and proofreading.
  4.  Practice with small endeavors. You can turn almost anything into an opportunity to reinforce your new habits. Wipe down the kitchen counters immediately instead of saving up all of your cleaning for the weekend.
  5. Reward your progress. You might procrastinate because it allows you to spend time on things you enjoy more than the things you’re trying to avoid. When you do your grocery shopping before work rather than sleeping for another hour, pay yourself back by serving up your favorite dish for dinner.
  6. Expect setbacks. You’re likely to experience some backsliding. Look for the temptations that pull you off course and develop strategies to overcome them. If you feel lethargic after dinner, schedule your toughest work early in the morning when you’re more alert.

Overcoming a tendency to procrastinate will help you accomplish more and feel better about yourself. By devoting your energies to meaningful activities rather than trying to avoid them, you’ll enjoy more peace of mind and a richer life.

Organize Your Home Today

A clutter-free and organized house is an admirable goal!

You can successfully manage your belongings and turn your home into the sanctuary you seek with these suggestions:
1. Gather three or four cardboard boxes to use as sorting containers. Then, grab a pen and paper and do a walkthrough of your home.
2. Focus on one room at a time. Right now, don’t concern yourself with the entire house – just the room you’re in.
3. Make notes. As you look around the room, make notes about areas needing better organization. You’re compiling a task list.
• For example, maybe you have clothing and books piled on a chair and want the chair to be clear of all items. Record this in your notebook.
• If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of straightening the entire room, focus on just one wall or corner of the room. Confidently tell yourself you’ll eventually get through the whole room. Right now, though, you only have to think about this wall or corner.

4. When can you start? Determine when you can begin the de-cluttering and re-organizing process. Ideally, start as soon as you complete your list. If that doesn’t fit with your schedule, find a block of time each day to tackle listed tasks.
• For example, if you have an extra thirty minutes before leaving for work, make that time count by completing one or two tasks on your task list.
5. Plan your process. Once you’ve scheduled the time to take action, you can decide how to go about organizing the room.
• The first method is to follow your list from top to bottom. Begin with the first item you noted and work on that particular task.
• Using the piled chair example, remove items and put them away until the chair is clear. Hang up clothes or place them in the laundry bin or in drawers. Put books on shelves or your desk. Then, go to the next item on the list.
• The second method is to prioritize the areas and tasks you listed by numbering them in the order of importance. Start your work with the task you prioritized as #1 and continue on down the list.
• Regardless of the method selected, take a garbage can or bag into the room before you start. You’ll no doubt find items you no longer need and wish to discard.
• Complete your listed tasks one by one. Don’t start on the next task until you’ve finished the one you’re on.
6. Keep at it. If you think you’ll become distracted, set a timer (on your watch or cell phone) and vow to continue organizing the room until the timer sounds.
7. A place for everything. You might notice some items that don’t have a specific storage spot. Designated storage places are important to being organized.
• Knowing the location of something is far more efficient than having to look all over the house or in every drawer.
• Place these belongings in a cardboard box labeled “Need a storage place.” You’ll get to these items later.
8. Label your boxes and begin sorting. Label one box “Donate” for items you want to give to your local charity. Designate another box “Unsure” for items you aren’t sure you want to keep. Use these sorting strategies to organize and dispose of belongings you no longer want.
9. When you’ve completed all listed tasks, the room is organized. It’s time to find storage solutions and space for the items in your “Need a storage place” box.
• Store similar items together.
• Feel free to place items no longer wanted into your “Donate” box.
• Throw away belongings you no longer need if they can’t be donated.
10. Follow through with every room. Now that you’ve organized the first room of the house, apply these steps for each room one at a time. Your goal is to find a place for all belongings and donate or throw away items you don’t want to keep.
• When your “Donate” box is full, take it to a local charity.
The path toward organizing your home leads you through many challenges. Following these steps will help you achieve your goal of having a clutter-free and organized home. When you’re done, you can relax and bask in the sanctuary you’ve created!

Stop Planning, Start Doing, and Achieve More!

Do you have some aspirations that are beyond your current capabilities? It’s natural to dream of things that you want to do someday, but currently can’t. However, to realize your dreams, at some point you must stop planning and start taking action.
While planning is an important part of bringing your dreams to life, avoid dedicating more time to the mental preparation than to action. If you spend your entire life planning for the future, then when will you actually start living?

Try these strategies to help jumpstart your goal-achieving actions:
1. Actions speak louder than words. You’ve probably heard this statement before, but have you really considered the meaning? Taking action and achieving are more powerful than simply planning for the future. Start taking steps in the right direction while planning, instead of waiting for every detail of your plan to be complete.

* Keep in mind that you can accomplish your goals as long as you’re moving in a forward direction. It may take some time, depending on how large your goal is, but moving forward will get you where you want to be. Taking action, regardless of how small, moves you forward.

2. Consider the language you use. Which is more effective, “I am going to lose weight,” or “I am losing weight”? How about the difference between “I am planning on going to school,” and “I am currently attending school”? The differences in these statements may have a profound impact on whether you’re actually going somewhere, or just thinking about it.

* Try this: Rather than saying “I am going to lose weight” (which is something you could say for years without shedding a pound!), take action to lose a little weight; then say: “I have dropped a few pounds and I am still going!”

3. Break goals into smaller bites. Rather than creating a lengthy plan that will take several years to fully realize, why not break your goals into smaller pieces that you can achieve one at a time? Setting goals too far into the future can hamper your ability to take small steps in the right direction now.

* For example, say you want to lose 100 pounds. Try setting goals to lose 1% of your body weight per week until you reach your final goal. Achieving several weight loss goals over a period of time will help keep you motivated rather than struggling endlessly for that one far-off goal.
* Perhaps you want to achieve something over a period of time, such as graduating from college in four years. In this case, you can break your goals into quarters or semesters. This will help you feel a sense of success with your progress as you work toward the larger goal of graduating with a degree.

Sometimes you may feel challenged to build the momentum you need to achieve goals and get where you want to be in life. Raise your standards and expect action from yourself instead of just thoughts and words.

If you’re struggling to move from planning to actual accomplishments, try breaking your goals into smaller pieces. You’ll be amazed at how motivational a little success can be!