Getting over procrastination and doing so consistently can be hard. We get going on something, using all our best strategies to avoid procrastinating and then something happens and we return to our old habits and start procrastinating again.
It can be that we don’t feel like we’re moving fast enough or when something goes wrong and causes us a ‘road block’ to get round. Even small setbacks can be enough to throw us off course and back to our procrastinating!
There is one thing that can help you to not do that. Creating accountability is key, in whichever way works best for you.
Track Your Progress
It can really help to keep the momentum going if you track your progress or even just your activity.
You can use a simple habit tracker form, with a box that you can tick off for each day of the week. Tick it off each day to say that you’ve done the work even if you don’t feel like you’ve made much progress. Activity in the right direction is good, however small those actions seem.
Keep tracking until doing the work becomes a habit or until the project is done.
If you are working on a larger project and not necessarily working on it every day, break it down into tasks and milestones so that you can track your progress and record how much closer you are getting to your goal each time you do the work.
Having said that, I am a great believer in taking small daily actions when working towards a larger project. That keeps the momentum going and helps to avoid that procrastination!
Make Daily To-Do Lists
Write a todo list every day. It can be helpful to do this the day before to help you to get going more quickly on the day. Or, like me, you might choose to make that the first job of the day.
Play around with how many items you include on the list or in how you organise the list. You don’t want to get overwhelmed but you do want to keep yourself motivated with a bit of pressure.
I like to ‘slice and dice‘ my todo list in to different views (very easy with Todoist) so that I can be flexible in how I work through it during the day. It has taken a good while to really hone how I do that. Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go until you reach a process that really works for you.
Once you have your todo list, use it to keep you accountable as you go through the day. Having that list in black and white can really help you to make sure you take the actions that you need to take to create meaningful progress towards completing your projects.
Tell Someone About Your Plans
If self accountability isn’t doesn’t work that well for you, consider whether telling someone else what you’re planning to do will help. Call a friend, tell your partner, announce it publicly on social media!
Encourage those people to keep checking in with you to see how you’re getting on (maybe set some boundaries though – you don’t want them getting too annoying!) It may well be that extra push that you need to really encourage you to keep taking that action and avoid procrastinating.
Find An Accountability Buddy
If telling someone else goes someway to helping you, but not far enough, then finding an accountability buddy may well be what you need. You can look for someone who wants to help you or, better still, find someone else who’s also procrastinating and make a plan to keep each other accountable.
It could be as simple as checking in once a week by text, email or phone. Or it could be more often, perhaps communicating in the morning what you intend getting done that day and then checking in again later in the day to confirm that you’ve achieved what you set out to.
Knowing someone else is right there, supporting you as well as valuing the support that you can give to them can be really motivating.
Give each of these procrastination beating strategies a try and see which give you the best results. Accountability is key – once you crack the code for you, you will be able to beat that procrastination!