You have a task ahead of you that needs completing (housework) or that you want to complete (your next blog post) but, you keep putting it off. You know you SHOULD get off your duff and just do it, but you don’t. Instead, you start looking at your Facebook feed and the next thing you know…5 hours have passed.
A DEEPER LOOK:
What can you do? How can you get out of your own way? How can you “just do it”?
In the immortal words of Stuart Smalley…
“Today I will not should all over myself.”
PURE GENIUS. Remember that. Get off your own back. Take the pressure off. Let’s figure out what the problem is…
What is stopping you from doing X?
Dread? Ugh, it’s an endless project.
Fear? I suck and this won’t be good enough!
Resentment? I am PISSED that I am stuck doing this!
There are many reasons why you’re procrastinating. That’s ok. Give yourself a break. Recognizing WHY is huge. Take some time to figure that out….
- I’m not writing the blog post because I know it’s going to suck!
- I’m not doing the housework because it’s going to take me all day! I need some down time!
- I’m not starting this project because I don’t know where to start!
- %^^$^$^(&**&*^#$#%$ THIS!
Address your reasons head on.
If you are dreading the project because you think you don’t know what you’re doing, or you don’t know where to start, break the project down into small pieces. TINY PIECES. For instance…
How do I write this blog post?
- Sit in chair
- Turn on computer
- Gather research
- Write the first draft
- TAKE A BREAK (This is important.)
- Read draft
- Make changes
Or…feeling immobilized by what seems like an endless task?
Give yourself a time limit.
This gives you an automatic out. The project will lose its power to overwhelm you because you KNOW you’re only going to be doing it for a certain amount of time. Once you’ve worked for your set time, give yourself a break.
You can easily accomplish this by using The Pomodoro Technique.
Here’s how it works:
Grab a timer. Use your phone, your watch, your computer, or even a timer from the kitchen. Set the timer for 50 minutes. After working for 50 minutes you get a 10-minute break. If 50 minutes feels like too much, set the timer for 25 minutes and give yourself a 5-minute break. The “break” part of this method is just as crucial as the “work” time. You will gain clarity and freedom by using this technique.
I work from home, which is dream come true. I’m on the computer all day and I love it. When I get into a project, I really get into it. To track my productivity, I time how long it takes to do certain tasks, and for that I use Toggl. It is a free online time tracker that also has the option for a “Pomodoro timer”. I have that enabled for the 50/10 setting. Usually, at 50 minutes it tells me it is time to take a break. And I ignore it and keep going.
Their topic was “how to get it all done.” They mentioned the Pomodoro Technique, how to use it in day-to-day life, and the importance of the 10-minute break. Instead of vegging out for 10 minutes, (or ignoring it like I usually do), they suggested using those 10 minutes to get stuff done around the house… throw in a load of laundry, vacuum, etc. I took that to heart.
Anyone who knows me knows that housework is NOT my favorite thing to do. I usually wait until the last minute and find myself in A State Of Overwhelm. I especially hate doing the dishes. It feels ENDLESS. Sometimes I see one fork in the sink and think…I AM NEVER GOING TO GET THAT DONE! (but that’s another story for another day…)
So, after working for 50 minutes, the timer went off. Instead of ignoring it, as usual, I stopped what I was doing, got up from my desk and DID THE DISHES. In 10 minutes exactly. It felt like a personal victory.
Because of this exciting breakthrough, I’ve added a new part to my day…”The Ten Minute Tidy.” I am now more focused on my work projects, and my house is neater! Yippee!
The moral of this story is: Stop procrastinating. It’s going to be ok. You can do it. Break down your big scary task. Get a timer. You’ll be done before you know it!