How to quit PROCRASTINATION and focus on the important stuff

A question I had from the workshop I presented yesterday was around advice to help with procrastination? 

Firstly, it is important to know that procrastination is a habit that can be changed. 

Without a doubt, this is something we all come across at one point or another, particularly when you have assignments due or projects deadlines. It is so easy to get distracted - more now so than ever.. hello socials. 

My tips - simple yet (I find) affective.

  1. Ask and test yourself, when do I work my best? Morning, afternoon, middle of the day, late at night? What time of day works best for me? Work your schedule around that. If you are not a morning person and it takes you a good two hours to really get stuck into work after numerous trips to the coffee machine, ask if you can start your work at 10am - 6pm (I actually know someone how does this exact thing, it is possible). If you are a morning person, can you start work earlier? If this is simply not the case (you have asked the question and there is no working around it, I would argue there is, but for all intensive purposes) then arrange your day to do the project / strategic / brain work around the time of the day when you know you can focus better and do the checking emails, following up, smaller tasks in the time it is harder to focus. 

  2. Bach your work. Firstly, use tools such as do not disturb and flight mode on your phone (there are some actual apps you can get as well) and put your phone in a draw or above the fridge, so that reaching for your phone is an effort. And put a timer on for 20, 30 or 50 minutes (again whatever works for your working style) and set yourself up so that you can complete a task or get a ‘bach’ of work done. Once the timer has gone, get up, move around and reward yourself for 5 or 10 minutes before settling into the next Bach round. 

  3. Set the intention. Physically write down everything that is swirling around in your head about what you must complete, for example; get milk, email Jenni, book a venue, send the invites out, return Russells phone number, organize school pick up, what outfit will I wear Friday night - ever single thing that is on your minds to do list. Next, what your ‘must do’s’ or ‘non-negotiable’ are for the day. Highlight them and set the intention to complete those tasks. As you complete them, tick it off the list. This is a tried and tested tool to use to affectively get your work done and tasks completed that are your priority and helps to remove the ‘other’ tasks you think about out of your head and onto paper. Try it, it works.

  4. Are you making excuses? Waiting for feedback, cannot progress until I hear back from someone, I need more references, the task was not explained properly? Are you simply making excuses to assist your procrastination? And can you simply call yourself on the act, ask yourself, is this really stopping me from completing my work? What can I do instead to help me progress or how can I get what I need to assist me? 

I am unashamedly known for my action taking. Over the years I have been getting better and better at focusing on the important stuff and leaving the rest, when it comes to work. I have developed this skill to be able to deliver results without the ‘fluff’.  It is amazing how much you can get done when you focus on the tasks that matter and that are going to deliver you the results. 

It is a practice that you have to continue to work on. Much like everything else, you will notice the ebb and flow of your productivity, creativity and action focused workflow. It is all about being aware of where you are at, and to create your work style and activities around that.

What tips do you have to help with procrastination?