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Getting stuff done

A few weeks ago, I worked with a client who was struggling with procrastination. You know, that great thief of time.

She had a series of assessments she needed to hand in to complete her course; she frequently found herself being distracted and avoided getting them done.  A few days after our session she contacted me to say she had already finished five, and was well on her way to completing the rest.

I often work with clients who feel stuck or blocked, who struggle with procrastination and avoid uncomfortable tasks.  They sabotage their own ability because they don’t feel ready, or lack the confidence, energy, time or motivation to make that first move and then follow through.

This is a subject I feel somewhat of an expert on – there was a stage where the “pro” in procrastination could have referred to me. Here are some of the ideas and techniques I use to keep procrastination at bay.

Just start!

Above my desk I have a hand-embroidered sign that simply says “Start”.

This has been an invaluable reminder when it’s time to write another blog and I find myself sitting at my desk staring at a blinking cursor on a blank computer screen.   To just type notes and develop ideas gives me a base to build my next article.

Sometimes the pathway or process to completion only comes to light after you get started.

“How about I….”

Perhaps it’s the defiant child inside me that responds to “I have to…” with “I don’t want to!”.  I bypass this by changing my self talk to “How about I…..”.

For example rather than saying “I have to go for a run” I change it to “How about I just go for a walk, and if I feel like running then I can”.  This will get me out of the door and most times I end up running. If I only walk at least I’ve done some exercise.

Chunk it down

I find that only focussing on the end goal can be daunting.

If I work out the habits and daily or weekly steps required to achieve the goal and then focus on those, the whole process feels much more do-able.

For example, if you wanted to run a marathon you wouldn’t expect to go out and run 42kms!  No! You would plan to run 3 or 4 days a week, slowly building skill, strength and endurance over a few months until you are physically and mentally prepared to run the distance.

Make it a priority

We all have plenty of distractions; families to be cared for, household chores, bills to be paid, the list goes on, but deciding that you can’t start on your goal until everything else is done is an excuse.

My home is often the cleanest when I have an assignment due.  I remember one day when I cleaned all of the windows AND washed and polished the car just to avoid starting.

Trying to make sure everything is perfect and organised before you start is a great way to procrastinate and waste potentially productive time.  Just get the essentials done and get back to the task you’re avoiding.

Silence the notifications

I stop the constant notifications popping up on my computer and phone because they are a huge distraction.  I love checking out what my friends are doing on social media, but set a specific time to do it.  I have kept notifications for the things that I need to respond to ASAP and then check the others when I have finished important tasks.

Lastly, when in doubt, I draw upon wise words from great thinkers.

This one always helps: “Do or do not do. There is no try.”  – Master Yoda

If you would like some help with overcoming your procrastination habits please contact me on 0414611382 or book online here.

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