5 Tricks for Overcoming Procrastination
To overcome procrastination is no easy task. Procrastinators are legendary in their ability to delay, drag their feet, fuss, and worry over even simple tasks that they know they can do! To be high-functioning, successful people, we need to overcome procrastination once and for all. These tricks are hugely important in getting your life and your productivity back on track:
- 15-Minute Time Chunking - Most procrastinators look at a project or task in its entirety and get overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done. By breaking all activities into 15 munute chunks, no one task seems as scary and insurmountable. Anyone -- even the greatest procrastinator -- can do anyting for 15 minutes. Give this one a try and enjoy the increased productivity and sense of accomplishment!
Joe Simpson, famed climber who's near-death experience was detailed in the gripping documentary Touching the Void, esentially used this chunking technique to save his life. Joe had been left for dead on the icy North Ridge of Siula Grande, and had to climb back down the mountain on a broken leg. In the documentary, Joe details this chunking technique by which he focussed not on the entirety of the descent before him, but on the next rock just out of reach. He couldn't concieve of making the entire climb on his broken leg, but getting to the next rock just down the path seemed within the relm of possibility.
Step by step, he crossed each little goalpost and eventually made it all the way back down the mountain.
- Detail the Worst Thing That Could Happen - Most procrastination stems from fear. Fear of failure, fear of imperfection, etc. But fear-based procrastination stems mostly from fear of the unknown. To overcome this type of procrastination, the trick is to litterally spell out all the worst possible scenarios and outcomes. What would you lose if you failed miserably at a given task?
Most of the time when we clearly define the worst-case-scenario, we find that it's not nearly as scary as we had first thought. This technique helps us to face that fear head-on and see it for what it really is -- not that big of a deal.
- Speed Up - Procrastination is often about momentum, or lack there of. Sometimes we need to do something drastic to snap out of a weak state, and speeding up is a technique that can really help break the procrastination cycle. It's easiest to use when your task is something physical in nature, such as cleaning the kitchen or mowing the lawn.
If you just can't get started with the kitchen, for example, set a totally audacious goal to get the whole thing done in 4 minutes. Spring out of your chair and move move move. See if you can do it. You aren't moving fast enough if your significant other doesn't think you have just lost your mind.
Changing states in this fashion is a favored technique of performance guru Tony Robbins.
- Totally Detach Yourself From the Results - Procrastinators are often perfectionists, and it's difficult to start any untertaking when perfection is required. You need to forget about results and simply focus on your effort. Re-train your brain to see effort and activity as the end goal. Results are often out of your control, so don't worry about them so much.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden outperformed his peers to an insane degree, yet he did not worry about final scores. He focussed solely on putting forth the maximum effort. Work ethic was his path to glory.
- Start - Starting is the hardest part. You need to just do it. Stop what you are doing and start doing the thing which you know you should do. Seriously, do it right now. Just start!!