04/30/2015 04:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Stop Procrastinating Now

Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to do particular tasks or jobs?

How do you feel when another week goes by and you still haven't done what you promised yourself you would do -- maybe a month or even six months ago?

In my experience, a lack of motivation can be caused by thinking too much about a task in its totality. We look at the pile of ironing or the mountain of filing and we groan under the weight of it and we think "Oh there's so much to do -- I'll never get through it all. It's going to take ages." We feel drained just thinking about it. We make a promise to ourselves, "I'll do it tomorrow, definitely tomorrow -- when I feel more like doing it." I'm talking here about filing or ironing, but it could just as easily be writing up a report or thesis, doing maths homework or redecorating a room.

The Cost of Avoidance
A college friend, back in the day, summed up very well, the feeling that we get when we don't do what we know we should be doing. Instead of going to the library to research her essay, she had taken the afternoon off and had gone into town to meet a friend. She said "Taking the afternoon off was a total waste of time, because I couldn't stop thinking about the essay and all that I had to do. I couldn't relax -- it was on my mind all of the time. It would have been easier to go to the library and make a start on it -- putting it off just wasn't worth it."

End Procrastination Now
To put and end to procrastination, you need to focus on doing just three things. When we apply the three items' rule, we immediately reduce the task to a more manageable level. "Three -- ah yeah, I can manage that -- no bother -- three -- sure I'll have those done in no time." We discover that doing just three things, gets us over our initial foot dragging, lack of enthusiasm.

Quite often, when we make a three item start, we realize that it's not that difficult to keep going and we decide to do a few more and maybe a few more after that. Sometimes we feel so much in the 'groove' that we decide to do the whole darn lot in one go.

But even if this doesn't happen, even if we stick to doing just three things, we still get to feel proud of ourselves, we still get to feel a sense of achievement -- we set ourselves a challenge and we stepped up -- we delivered -- we did the three things that we said we'd do and because we achieved our goal, we feel better about ourselves -- our self esteem goes up. The other thing is, if we manage to apply the three a day rule over a seven day period, that's usually enough to create a sizable hole in even the biggest mountain or pile.

What about you? Would the three item rule work for you?
Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your views.
For further tips and resources, you might like to check out my website.