It’s hard to believe but we are coming to the end of our seven blog posts (links to the others below) to help you to beat procrastination. I hope you’ve been following along and more importantly that you’ve been making progress on at least one of the things you’ve been procrastinating on. We end today with the most important piece of advice and the main tip I want you to take away from all this.
Make progress every single day!
A few years ago I read the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen and the whole concept of taking small daily actions really stuck with me. It’s amazing what you can get done if you apply that principle. It’s not easy to take action every day even on the small stuff but, if you focus on doing that on as many days as you can, you will really move your projects forwards.
Here are three tips to help you to do that. Give them all a try and see what effect they have. Hopefully you’ll get into the habit of being productive on a daily basis instead of procrastinating. Mind you, I know you will procrastinate still on occasions – we all do! My top tip for that is to do what I call ‘productive procrastination’.
You may ask what that is? It’s when, instead of doing the task that you really ought to be working on, you choose another task that’s almost as important / urgent and work on that instead. You are procrastinating on the main task but still achieving something that you need to do! The worst kind of procrastination is when you do something of no consequence instead of the thing that you should be doing.
Plan For It
Taking small daily actions immediately starts to be easier if you decide beforehand what they are going to be. So, make a plan, and decide what you’ll do each day. Write it down in a planner / on your todo list but know that you may need to adjust it too. I love that quote, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”!
Then, my suggestion is to take the action first thing in the morning or at least at the optimum time for you. I like to keep my todo list open and create a daily reminder that pops up to remind me to take my small daily action so that I can tick it off each day! It’s very satisfying…
Don’t Break The Chain
You know that feeling when you have done something every day for a period of time and then you don’t really want to do whatever you are supposed to be doing today, but you also don’t want to ‘break the chain‘ – that! Use that to keep you going, taking daily actions.
Find a way to record it that works for you. You can use a wall calendar, your to do list, stickers on a chart or anything else that works. Amazon use this principle to tell me if I’ve read every day and for how long I’ve done that, and I do feel a little sad if I’ve missed a day for some reason!
Once you have used this and have ‘got a chain’, you’ll be much more likely to keep going to avoid breaking that streak.
Check In With Yourself
As you start to make progress on the things you know you need to be doing, you should feel your anxiety reduce. Your confidence in yourself and your ability to get stuff done will improve. Take pride in your accomplishments and use this feeling to encourage you to have more procrastination free days.
Avoiding procrastination, like procrastination itself, is a habit. Procrastination is something you have got into the habit of doing so it’s also something that you can get into the habit of not doing! Stick with it, make progress every day, take pride in your accomplishments and keep on keeping on.
What If This Doesn’t Work?
When I started publishing this series, a close friend and twice guest on my podcast, Cathy Brown, got in touch and asked me to share this for anyone who is still struggling with procrastination. There may be another explanation…
Chronic procrastination is probably the ADHD symptom that’s impacted my life the most and made me the most miserable. I so wish at some point in the last 20 years, whilst desperately Googling ‘how to fix chronic procrastination’ I’d have read something like ‘if you’ve tried all this before, or it just doesn’t work, or you WANT to do these things but you just can’t make yourself, you might want to consider ADHD as a factor’.Cathy Brown