Professional CornerWe have just begun a new year, and some would argue a new millennium. Either way, it is the time we look to the future for new habits and plans to make this coming year the best ever. Procrastination, the putting off of tasks until a later time, is a problem we all face to some degree or another. I hope you find some helpful tips here.
Happy New Year!
The Top 7 Procrastination Busters
1. Take time to plan - at the end of each day, plan for the next. Write a to do list that not only includes the things that need to be done (deadline oriented items) but also long term projects that propel your strategic plan.
2. Set priorities - make sure you prioritize your list. Do the most important things first. Check periodically that your daily to do list and activities are in keeping with your personal mission statement. Don't climb the ladder to the top and realize that it is leaning against the wrong building and not fulfilling what is meaningful to you.
3. Do the most task difficult first - if it is a priority, tackle the most difficult thing at the beginning of the day or when your energy is the highest. If you put off the difficult tasks until the end of the day or the end of the week, they will "grow" in size and seem even more challenging.
4. Reward yourself - pat yourself on the back when you complete a task, especially a task that you saw as difficult or challenging. Choose a personal reward like a massage, a long walk, or a bubble bath.
5. Understand that you're worth it - determine that you are worth having a procrastination-free life. You no longer want to be a victim to this behavior. When you believe this is your soul, you'll learn to say "no"; you'll take care of what is important to your personal/professional well-being; you'll stop aggravating yourself with procrastination.
6. Become extremely selfish - ask for what you need in order to create reserve or space in your life. This gives you the time to eliminate those things about which you are procrastinating. Remember the visual of the oxygen mask extending down in an airplane. Put it on yourself first, then minister to others.
7. Choose accountability - hire a coach, create a success team, or find an "accountability partner". Being accountable to another person who really cares about your success and won't be critical if you fail is a giant step towards eliminating procrastination.
8. Use the one touch system - whenever possible take care of the task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For instance, pay your bills when they come in the mail; open your mail, sort it, file it, act on it or throw it away immediately. Do this standing up!
9. Lighten up - procrastinating is often the little girl in you saying "I won't do it" because she hasn't been taken care of. She's mad that you never take her out to play so she's trying to create space for herself by keeping you from doing "one more thing". Sometimes this works. However, wouldn't it be better for the "adult" to choose when to "go out for recess" therefore allowing the child within to leave "the working woman" alone?
10. Get some rest - sometimes we procrastinate because we're just too tired to do another thing. Go to bed really early at least once a week. Get eight hours of sleep whenever you can. Go back to #6, maintain boundaries around your day so you can take breaks and end your work at a reasonable time. Take time for yourself!
Submitted by Mershon Shrigley, a personal/professional coach who works with men and women to help them achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. She is also a nationally-known newsletter expert and publishes a free monthly online newsletter, The Business Woman's Advantage for women (or anyone!) with entrepreneurial spirit. Mershon also teaches a number of tele-classes on a wide variety of subjects. For more information or a complimentary coaching session, contact Mershon at [email protected].
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