Overcoming your procrastination requires that you have a vision for what you are trying to achieve in life. You then set effective goals which will help you to achieve that dream. The majority of your time should then be focused on tasks which will help you to achieve these goals and realise your vision for life. If you are not doing this, you are procrastinating. Many consistent procrastinators, procrastinate because they have no clear focus for what they are trying to achieve.
When you begin viewing your commitments from the viewpoint of somebody who’s determined to realise their vision for life; fresh solutions to formerly “irresolvable” quandaries frequently present themselves. You begin to see the full range of options that are available to you for each and every task. With more options, you are able to make better quality decisions, thus getting more done.
When you have a vision for your life and, you commit to it, you’re declaring that you’ll be really particular and self-directed in how you spend your time, as you have to reserve as much time as possible for your aspirations. This is in direct contrast to most individuals, who let other people including family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and corporations control their time for them. Overcoming your procrastination is made significantly easier by this level of focus.
Often forgotten steps in overcoming your procrastination
There is a lot of great advice available for overcoming your procrastination. However, many of them start too late in the process, meaning that you are still doing things that you may not actually need to do. When you develop your vision for life, you are able to develop some key criteria which give you a helping hand in overcoming your procrastination by determining what you should and should not be focusing on. These criteria allow you to answer the following questions
1. Does this need to be done?
You would be amazed at how many people are busy performing tasks which do not need to be done. These tasks are often things which would be nice to do but add little or no value to your life. In other cases, these tasks were once important but are no longer of any value. Nobody has taken the time to assess the value of performing the task.
Before you accept, schedule or perform a task; attempt to determine how completing the task will bring you closer to realising your vision. If you cannot find sufficient value, ask yourself ‘does this need to be done?’
2. Should I be the one to perform the task?
Just because a tasks needs to be done, it doesn’t mean that you are the one who should be doing it. There are so many tasks that can be delegated or outsourced these days. Everybody should at least consider it. In the workplace, it is usually easy to identify somebody who is more suited to completing the task than you are. Delegating allows you to focus on your most important tasks while ensuring that the tasks which need to be completed get done.
If you are a small business, the option to delegate may not be available but there is always the option to outsource. If somebody else can do the job to the required standard, for an affordable price, you should consider outsourcing. You can outsource almost any task. As an example, I outsource the making of my advertising banners. For just $5 I get a full set of advertising banners in a range of sizes. It would take me an hour or more to do the job myself. By saving that hour, I can focus on tasks which are of a higher value. For some ideas as to what you can outsource, check out Fiverr. Some of the services offered are a bit strange but there are some excellent offers on the site.
3. Does it have to be done now?
Just because a task has to be completed, it does not mean that you have to drop everything and do it right now. David Allen has an excellent rule called the 2 minute rule. If you can complete a task right now and, in less than 2 minutes, do it. However, most tasks cannot be completed that quickly. For those tasks, you must decide whether it must be completed straight away or not. If it does have to be done immediately, then do it. If not, then you should either schedule it for later or, add it to your task list. Overcoming your procrastination requires that you focus on your most important tasks so, don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked every time that a new task pops up.
4. What is the most important task that I can do, right now, with the resources available to me?
When you have reduced your task list to tasks that do need to be done and, must be done by you, you must then decide on the most important task for you to focus on. For that purpose, you should ask yourself the question above. It can be difficult to identify the most important task but the key to doing so is to eliminate any tasks that you are not in a position to complete at that time. The easiest way to do this is to identify the resources available to you e.g. computer, phone, specific people, car etc. Any task which requires a resource that you do not have at that moment is automatically disqualified.
To aide in doing this, I keep a contextualized task lists e.g.
@phone (this is the list title) is a list of tasks which I only need access to my phone to complete
@desk requires me to be at my desk in order to complete these tasks.
If I am out of my office, I don’t even waste time looking at the @desk list. I go straight to the @phone list and identify the most important task which I can complete.
Overcoming your procrastination will impact on others
None of this ought to be taken to mean that you desert your loved ones or friends. It simply implies you invest your time judiciously. It may be scary to alter the terms of our interactions with somebody, particularly if we’ve been interacting with them a particular way for years
Some people may respond badly when you tell them you can’t do as much for them, or spend as much time with them anymore. However, if you take the time to share your state of affairs, aspirations and needs, they’re surprisingly empathic and eager to help. So don’t simply tell individuals you’ll be less available tell them why, and invite their support and help. If, after you have explained your situation to these people, they still have a negative attitude, you may want to ask yourself why you are spending time and energy on them. True friends will support you as you pursue your dreams; just as you would be happy to support them. To ease the transition, you should schedule time to spend with your friends and loved ones. When that time comes, commit yourself to being 100% present. Give them your full attention and focus. This will ensure that while the quantity of time you spend with somebody may be reduced, the quality of time you spend with them will be greatly increased.
Summing it up
Many individuals think time management is about attempting to stuff as much as possible into one’s schedule, but it’s not. Effective time management is about utilising your time in a manner that allows you to achieve your goals, realise your vision for life and, create the life you truly desire. The first step in doing so is to clear out the tasks that are unimportant, thus allowing you to focus on the most important tasks. Overcoming your procrastination requires you to see that whatever bumps you off your course that isn’t an unpreventable emergency is procrastination, regardless of how crucial it might seem at the time.