The first full week of March is National Procrastination Week. In honor of that, I am publishing a daily blog with tips about how to deal with procrastination for each day this week. Here’s the third blog in the series… Learn how to stop procrastinating.
How to Stop Procrastinating and Tackle Difficult Projects
Getting started on a new project can be hard. It’s even harder when that project involves tasks that you find dull or difficult. To avoid the unpleasant parts of the project, you may end up avoiding it by doing things like checking your email, networking on Facebook, or playing a computer game. But the problem with procrastination is that no matter how long you avoid the task, it’s still going to be there at the end of the day.
Like ripping off a bandage, it’s better to get unpleasant tasks done as soon as possible. Not only will you get rid of the dread you feel, you’ll also experience a productivity boost. If you’re procrastinating, here’s how to start getting stuff done right now:
Create an outline.
Outlines save you time. They keep you from having to do extra work and they make it easy to see holes in your projects. It’s also easier to move around parts of your project if you have an outline.
Try dumping all of your ideas about this project onto 3 x 5 cards (easy to sort and order) or into Evernote. From there, you can brainstorm more ideas and organize your thoughts into an outline.
Depending on your project, you may need a really detailed or really short outline. Do what works for you but keep in mind your outline isn’t carved in stone. It’s fine to move parts of your project around until you find the best fit.
Break It Down
Big projects can be intimidating so break them down into smaller chunks. For example, you’re writing a 30-page e-book. You can break that down into 6 chapters of 5 pages each. Now, just focus on writing one chapter at a time.
How you break it down depends on what your schedule looks like and how you prioritize your time. You may be able to write several pages a day so you can finish your e-book in a week or you may write slowly and find you can only create one page of content a day. That’s fine, too. The important thing is to keep moving forward with your project.
When you can’t seem to get your head in the game, go to YouTube and put on some music. You can find videos with soothing instrumental music that will help you quiet your mind and help you focus. If you prefer a bit more noise and don’t feel lyrics distract you, then look for the soundtrack to one of your favorite movies.
Set a Deadline
When you think you have all day to tackle a project, you’re probably going to procrastinate a bit. But if you have a firm deadline, you’re less likely to do this, so set another commitment in place.
Then say to yourself, “I’m going to the dentist at 4 this afternoon and I will schedule this blog post before I go.” This type of firm deadline from an outside appointment can be just the push you need to get started.
Tackling big projects can feel intimidating but they don’t have to be. Remind yourself how good you’ll feel when your project is successfully completed and focus on that as you work.
Did you like this article on how to stop procrastinating? Learn how to defeat procrastination and get things done when you download your free Dealing with Procrastination workbook here.
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Productivity Consultant &
Certified Professional Coach