Pressure pressure pressure! You can’t breathe, your thoughts are saturated with guilt and suddenly you realize, you were sitting for the last couple of hours and you haven’t accomplished anything!
You started with great intentions.You want to do a lot of things and you can’t start the process because you think you have to learn something first. Or, you have to do something to get comfortable by finding the best place to sit (hmmm…should I buy a new chair?). And, how could I forget cleaning the room?!?! (It’s probably the only time that you clean your room, right?)
Well, the good news is that it’s a known problem and almost everybody deals with it on a certain level. Some people just don’t feel like working, while others with ADD or ADHD are paralyzed due to their inability to cope with it.
The bad news is that you can be productive but only if you’ll fight for it!
Like any good soldier preparing for a fight, you need your gear ready. It also helps to know what the enemy’s strategies are. It’s easier to win if you gain an edge, but make no mistake, soldier, this is war!
Your first steps should be:
#1 Organizing your tasks, prioritizing them and then breaking them into Micro tasks! When you swallow more than you can chew, you choke. Type your to do list, choose carefully what tasks should come first and then break all your tasks into little “bite-sized” items.
This helps you to realize that the task at hand is not that complicated and it gives you a fighting chance by:
– Preventing distractions from unnecessary information overload that hurts your mission.
– Simplifying your action plan – all you have to do is to follow your items one by one.
#2 Gear up! Use tools that concentrate all your activity in one place. For instance, by preparing your documents, notes and tasks online in one place (instead of spreading them on several applications and papers), you insure that you won’t go astray. Take something to eat or drink with you and try not to venture too far from your work zone.
This prepares you for the battle ahead and gives you a fighting chance by:
– Keeping you in one place, no window browsing or “I just remembered” actions.
– Turning you from hyper active to “hyper task-at-hand focused”.
#3 If you need to work, do it in “cave mode”! The cave is the place where we were safe back in the prehistoric age. We could relax and enjoy our food, tend our wounds and regroup. As we evolved, some people (including monks searching for enlightenment) used caves to put distance between them and human society.
In modern times, extremely productive people know that in order to get the job done, they need to seclude themselves from human contact. So, log out of your Facebook and IM and close the door.
This gives you a fighting chance by:
– Keeping distractions like human interactions, away from your workspace.
– Allowing you to calm down and work stress-free in a “safe” place.
#4 Embrace perfection, and then throw it through the cave’s window! If you try to make everything perfect, you’ll waste more time. Perfectionists are great at making excuses that will prevent them from taking action: “It’s not the time to do it,” “It doesn’t feel right, maybe at another time or place,” etc. Don’t tell yourself that you need to read the entire C++ guidebook to write the command, “Hello world!”
This will only reinforce your tendency to postpone things.
If you stop acting like everything needs to be perfect, it will give you a fighting chance by:
– Launching you into action even when things don’t look like they’ll be easy.
– It will create the habit of progressing even if you have trenches ahead of you. You’ll stop to waste time looking for the right opportunity because the right opportunity is now.
#5 Public commitment is only good if it’s made in front of a mentor figure! Don’t commit publicly, it won’t do you any good if you don’t deeply respect the people you commit to. Commit to someone that you look up to, someone that can spring you into action, someone that you want to impress…find a mentor.
This gives you a fighting chance by:
– Giving you a moral boost! You are now motivated enough to conquer anything.
– You know that you don’t want to disappoint your mentor and you’ll do your best to succeed.
Semper Fi my brave soldiers, be always faithful to yourself.
We will return with how to stop procrastinating part 2 next week.