Okay, you have that really busy day coming up and you know there will be little if any time for anything except working through the long list of task that has suddenly piled up on you.

You look over the list in an attempt to find some items that can be moved to a later date. But wait. Isn’t that exactly why the task list is as long as it is now?

Procrastination has beaten you once again; it is the first thing that comes to mind. “How can I get out of some of this stuff today”? A question asked by millions every morning before they begin their day of work.

Some of us are so heavily affected by this condition that it really and truly does prevent any progress toward reaching our goals. We’re stuck and we need to admit that procrastination is an issue for us.

So what exactly is procrastination anyhow?

Webster’s or Wikipedia’s versions aside, it basically boils down to the putting off of things that we should be focusing on NOW and choosing to do something more favorable or enjoyable. We don’t like the task at hand, but rather than deal with it and get it out of the way, we push it off into the future.

So what can we do about this cycle of inaction on critical tasks?

Acknowledge the facts

The first step in a plan of correction is to be honest with ourselves and admit that we are procrastinating in the first place. Let’s not rationalize this away as managing our work load and spreading things out. At some point we have to get down to actually tackling the things we least like to do.

Try a few of these tips

Everyone is different so we all have to try various methods of changing our behavior to see what best motivates us to move toward change.

  • Stop listing all of the easy stuff first and take on some of the more difficult things and be done with them. Get them completed and out of your line of sight.
  • Buddy up with someone and give them a copy of your tasks, asking that they make an inquiry or two on your progress. A little peer pressure can sometimes be a good motivator.
  • Break some of the larger tasks into smaller steps and begin the process. Be sure to complete each step and the entire task before moving on to something else.
  • Be certain to place a time limit on each item, leaving nothing open ended.
  • Post your task listing on your bathroom mirror so that it is the first thing you see in the morning. You will not want to see it there very long.  :-)
  • Setup your Smartphone to remind you of each task daily. Do not change the reminder date when it appears, this takes us back to square one.
  • Setup a reminder system on your computer as well, you need these things in your face for a period of time until you become more efficient at getting things done – on time.

Some key points to ponder

There are times when we have put off a task because we just did not want to deal with it, just was not in the mood, only to find out later that it was not so bad after all. We overestimated the difficulty and caused ourselves a little bit of a setback in time for no reason.

Have you ever experienced that?

I know I have, but I’ve learned to get things out of my face so I can move on to where I really want to be.

In our recent survey, many expressed the need for better time management skills and techniques and we will cover this in greater detail as we move forward, but find a little quiet time soon and think about how you can improve upon the way you are currently handling things.

Recognize that nothing in life ever gets fixed until we admit that it is broken. Once we clear that hurdle it is time to take action. Do not allow small things to become huge problems, deal with them early and turn your attention to becoming more productive.

Shhhh! Please don’t tell anybody, but I’ve had to fix these types of things in my life too.

Ask yourself this question.

Say “self, do I really have a handle on my time and if not, am I going to change this for good this time?”

We are going to get into some tools for helping with time management in future post, so to be certain that you don’t miss out, join our community by subscribing via the RSS Feed.

Keep Blogging!

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30 Responses to How To Beat Procrastination

  1. element321 says:

    Thanks for the tips.

    I am very good at procrastination, like last night I planed to work on a post for today, so I could have it finished and scheduled to post earlier today. But after work, I was just to tired. I used the line “I will do in a few minutes”. Well that turned into 3 hours later and it was bed time. So I said “Will do it first thing in the morning after I get to work” I still haven’t done it yet. I tend to do this a lot.

    I will have have to try out some of your tips and see if that helps.
    .-= element321´s last blog ..links for 2010-02-25 =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      I’ve been there, James.
      The exact same scenario many times. I felt badly afterward knowing that I could have been further down the road than I was at the time. You may be surprised, but after practicing whatever technique works best for you for a short period of time, you don’t even think about putting things off anymore.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How To Beat Procrastination =-.

  2. element321 says:

    Thanks for the tips.

    I am very good at procrastination, like last night I planed to work on a post for today, so I could have it finished and scheduled to post earlier today. But after work, I was just to tired. I used the line “I will do in a few minutes”. Well that turned into 3 hours later and it was bed time. So I said “Will do it first thing in the morning after I get to work” I still haven’t done it yet. I tend to do this a lot.

    I will have have to try out some of your tips and see if that helps.
    .-= element321´s last blog ..links for 2010-02-25 =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      I’ve been there, James.
      The exact same scenario many times. I felt badly afterward knowing that I could have been further down the road than I was at the time. You may be surprised, but after practicing whatever technique works best for you for a short period of time, you don’t even think about putting things off anymore.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How To Beat Procrastination =-.

  3. ahem. Here I am, before my task is finished. I actually did get stuck and had to call in some more professional help for my coding project, so at least the project isn’t waiting on me.

    In general I am not a procrastinator. However, when something is really frustrating me, I will find anything to keep myself away from it.
    .-= Erica Mueller´s last blog ..Do You Have a Custom Twitter Background? =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      LOL – I should have written an ebook of excuses on my past procrastination habits. Man, I was really good at finding a reason to do something tomorrow instead of today. Hehe.
      I always stayed busy, but cherry-picked what I wanted to do, instead of what was of greater importance at times. I’m glad I got rid of that dude years ago.

      Now you, I could not even imagine that you would hesitate for a moment on anything. :-)
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How To Beat Procrastination =-.

  4. ahem. Here I am, before my task is finished. I actually did get stuck and had to call in some more professional help for my coding project, so at least the project isn’t waiting on me.

    In general I am not a procrastinator. However, when something is really frustrating me, I will find anything to keep myself away from it.
    .-= Erica Mueller´s last blog ..Do You Have a Custom Twitter Background? =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      LOL – I should have written an ebook of excuses on my past procrastination habits. Man, I was really good at finding a reason to do something tomorrow instead of today. Hehe.
      I always stayed busy, but cherry-picked what I wanted to do, instead of what was of greater importance at times. I’m glad I got rid of that dude years ago.

      Now you, I could not even imagine that you would hesitate for a moment on anything. :-)
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How To Beat Procrastination =-.

  5. Woah Jimy, you’re talking about me here. I got so many things going on that inevitably many get pushed to the next day, and the next, and the next …

    Very nice post I enjoyed it. Lots of things to ponder there and out into practice.

    Now if I could only find that new task list…
    .-= Robert Bravery´s last blog ..Pay it forward =-.

  6. Woah Jimy, you’re talking about me here. I got so many things going on that inevitably many get pushed to the next day, and the next, and the next …

    Very nice post I enjoyed it. Lots of things to ponder there and out into practice.

    Now if I could only find that new task list…
    .-= Robert Bravery´s last blog ..Pay it forward =-.

  7. Huh? List of tasks… never heard of it. I’ve been too busy procrastinating and general busyness.

    Seeing all these great tips around is making all that really hard. I’m having hard time resisting the urge to think what I should actually be doing :)
    .-= Antti Kokkonen´s last blog ..How to Get More Blog Comments and Discussion =-.

  8. Huh? List of tasks… never heard of it. I’ve been too busy procrastinating and general busyness.

    Seeing all these great tips around is making all that really hard. I’m having hard time resisting the urge to think what I should actually be doing :)
    .-= Antti Kokkonen´s last blog ..How to Get More Blog Comments and Discussion =-.

  9. Ben says:

    The best way for me to stop procrastination is to turn off all my distractions and set myself a time limit by which I need to have achieved my task or tasks (Parkinson’s law)

    This always cures it for me.

    Great post as always Jimi

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hey Ben!
      How are you, man?
      That is a great approach, turning off all of the distractions. I use that quite often. TweetDeck, as an example, is an attention grabber with the updates flashing in the corner, so I often disable the feature or just close it out until later.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..Finding Motivation to Write =-.

  10. Ben says:

    The best way for me to stop procrastination is to turn off all my distractions and set myself a time limit by which I need to have achieved my task or tasks (Parkinson’s law)

    This always cures it for me.

    Great post as always Jimi

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hey Ben!
      How are you, man?
      That is a great approach, turning off all of the distractions. I use that quite often. TweetDeck, as an example, is an attention grabber with the updates flashing in the corner, so I often disable the feature or just close it out until later.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..Finding Motivation to Write =-.

  11. Michelle says:

    Hello Jimi,

    Really good post. One thing that helps me is meditation. For some reason if I am able to meditate for twenty minutes, I have so much clarity and focus. It really is a meaningful practice.

  12. Jimi Jones says:

    Hi Michelle.
    That sounds like a good method of getting back on track for you. I've only tried meditation a few times, not to much success, but I was likely going about it the wrong way anyhow.

    Thanks for visiting, good to see you.

  13. Kevin Tea says:

    Breaking down larger tasks into smaller bites is a must for me. If I see a huge job on my task list I often tend to switch off, but if I allocate time slots of bits of it, then I can happily munch my way through the lot.

    BTW, you've fancy handwriting on that note of yours :-)

  14. Jimi Jones says:

    I tend to get the smaller stuff out of the way first as well, keeps the list shorter.
    Glad you like my fancy handwriting… found on my keyboard. :-)

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