Procrastination is an evil beast that zaps our energy and confidence.  But who doesn’t struggle with procrastination? No one I know.  Some people struggle more than others, but the reality is that from time to time we all find ourselves putting off complex tasks, avoiding the unpleasant ones, or letting ourselves become distracted by trivial items on our to do list.

Tackle procrastination with these four ideas …

Bite size pieces.  Break your tasks down into manageable chunks.  This works especially well when the task before you is an enormous one.  For example, let’s say you have a proposal to write.

Task 1 – Brainstorm ideas using mind mapping.

Task 2 – Evaluate ideas for “keepers”.

Task 3 – Transfer useable ideas into an outline.

Task 4 – Write one paragraph for each idea on your outline.

Task 5 – Organize paragraphs into proposal format.

Task 6 – Develop and edit proposal.

Begin with the worst. Instead of putting off the task you dread, do it first.  Taking on the least desirable task first will free your mind to focus on and enjoy other tasks.  Generally, people do not build energy when they are obsessing about what they don’t want to do.  So stop obsessing!  Get it done!

Reward yourself. Use rewards to motivate yourself to complete tasks.  This is an opportunity to get creative.  Think of it as a game you play with yourself. Rewards can include:

  • A trip to the vending machine if you clean out your email inbox
  • Lunch with a friend once draft one of your proposal is completed
  • Fifty cents toward a Starbucks for each pile you clean off your desk (when you have enough for your favorite coffee, take a break and go get it!)
  • 10 minutes to do enjoyable tasks once two critical tasks are completed
  • Bathroom break after you have made 40 prospecting phone calls
  • A 10 minute walk outside when your weekly report is completed

Get an accountability partner.  Find someone who is willing to hold your feet to the fire.  Having someone you trust and respect encourage you when you just can’t seem to find the energy to get things done can go a long way.  Schedule regular accountability meetings – even if they are just a couple minutes long.

Here’s to being productive!