Procrastination. Even though we know it is the thief of productivity we all do it. And we temporarily enjoy it because we usually fill it with something frivolous that feels rather indulgent. Yet at the same time we feel guilty because we know something is hanging over our head.
Procrastination is also the thief of passion. Do you find yourself accountable to other people yet you delay doing the things that would support your personal and professional dreams? It's time to be courageous and move through any fear and resistance. You deserve your dreams and they are not going to just appear without taking steps toward them.
Stop letting procrastination rob you of your productivity and passion! Here is a seven-step process to help you "just do it" (in the video I share in a lot more detail, steps are outlines below):
1. Identify the cost and payoff of procrastination.
Costs are easy to identify and may include things like increased stress by having less time to get things done, feeling guilty, indulging in unhealthy distraction patterns like eating, gossiping, or mindless Facebooking (yes, I've made that a verb). Next, you may think there is no payoff to procrastination but there is! You get to temporarily experience a sense of rebellion and freedom from doing the thing you don't feel like doing. It's the payoff that makes procrastination so intoxicating.
2. Answer, "What would be different if I got this task done?"
List out all the positive benefits from completing what you're putting off. Imagine it done. How would you feel? What would you have space for? How could you utilize all the new energy you freed up from completing an incomplete cycle of action.
3. Schedule a time and commit.
Leverage the energy you are feeling from step 2 to pull you into committing to getting it done. It is way easier to commit to something when you are in enthusiastic energy! Pick a time or ongoing window of time to just do it. And hold yourself accountable to showing up for yourself just like you'd show up for a doctors appointment or a hot date.
4. Establish disciplines because discipline creates habits.
You don't procrastinate brushing your teeth because it's become a habit. Usually we put things off because we haven't formed a habit. For instance, I used to procrastinate writing but now that I've blogged at least once a week for seven years, it's a habit. Commit to showing up on a regular basis and doing the things you are delaying.
5. Eliminate all distractions.
Forget about minimizing them! Turn off your internet, email, social media, phone, TV, work in a new space (like a library) where food and tempting distractions are minimal. You will be amazed at how productive and focused you can be when you eliminate distractions.
6. Shift your state.
Your state is your physiological, mental and emotional pulse. If your energy is low, your thoughts are along the lines of "I don't wanna" and you feel anxious, frustrated, or apathetic, guess how productive you are going to be? Not very! Shift your state to one of high energy, positive self-talk, and enthusiasm by imagining yourself 15 minutes after the successful completion of your tasks. See it, feel it. Experience the relief, accomplishment and excitement you will feel. Get into that energy and then begin your task.
This is an important step because you want your true payoff to come from the completion of the task and not from procrastination. Acknowledge yourself. Reward yourself with the things you may have been using to procrastinate!
Okay now it's time to stop surfing the internet and get productive and passion. Use these seven steps anytime you find yourself procrastinating. Remember, delaying doing things that you don't like doing or would love to do but put last robs you of productivity and passion.