So you’re reading this because you should be working and you are actually procrastinating? Do you want to do something less boring instead? So I am going to talk to you about three things you can do to help overcome procrastination – these have helped some colleagues I spoke with at a Business Progression Group talk I did in April 2015.
I will cover three techniques and with any luck, one will speak your language and help you start that task or project you have been putting off. In fact, it could be one thing or a combination of these techniques that work for you. Let me know which as I would be keen to find out!
1. Eat That Frog
This comes from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog. The main idea behind the book is that if you do your most important task (MIT) first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is going to be easy in comparison. Brian Tracy calls it, “eating your frog” and the premise of this is: If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a frog, you can continue your day knowing it’s probably the worst and most difficult thing you will have to do all day!
Your frog must be your most important task that takes you to the next level. This could be an important client project or a personal or business goal. Once you start and get that out of the way, all your other tasks are going to be easy to finish, in comparison.
It will also set a positive tone for the rest of the day!
2. The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular techniques in beating procrastination. It is incredibly useful for getting things going and starting them when you struggle with overwhelm or any particular gremlins.
It is about managing tasks in 25 minute intervals. All you need is a timer (called a Pomodoro) for this technique to work. There are numerous apps out there that do the same thing too.
Here are the steps:
- Identify your task in hand
- Set your Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro is complete
- Take a 5 minute break
- For every four Pomodoros take a longer break (15-30 minutes).
By completing each Pomodoro, you will feel more productive almost immediately. This is because 25 minutes is not too long and not too short a time to feel like you are working towards completing a task. When you finish a Pomodoro, you feel more productive and happier. This will help you get more things done throughout your day. It really is that simple.
The main idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is “time-boxing”. A really simple concept where you ringfence your attention for a small amount of time and allow yourself to mentally recharge after each 25 minutes of work. Completing small chunks of work means that you build momentum and feel more productive which equals: getting more work done.
3. Just Starting
It can be hard when your head is telling you one thing and you’re not able to get going on the task in hand because your heart’s not in it. Just starting that task can help you get it underway. I know it sounds simple and like a no brainer, but equally it can be one of the hardest things to do.
To make it easier, carry out the few small steps to get that task started –
- Open a blank Word document, add the title and save it
- Launch your browser and navigate to the page or pages you need research
- Open the email with the list of things that need to be done
- Save an Excel spreadsheet with the rows and columns already completed.
It could be one or all of these things that help you get started. Just setting up your environment and taking baby steps will help and eventually get into a rhythm to complete your task. Couple this with a Pomodoro or four to give you an even better chance of getting your tasks started and on their way to completion.
Motivational Song Anyone?
The one song that works for me is this one – surprisingly enough:
But if you need an album, then this perfect soundtrack to a great film – Limitless – works wonders for my productivity when I just need to get going:
What do you do to get you going?