What’s is the opposite of making it happen?
With that in mind, I thought it was about time I put some letters on the screen about how to overcome the thing that never has any benefits.
I’ve got my fair share of knowledge and experience on how to deal with procrastinating, how to overcome procrastinating and in this blog I have put together a number of steps that I think that you can implement to be able to ensure that you eradicate that and then don’t have to deal with it.
Let’s be honest though, we can’t eradicate procrastination we’re human, we procrastinate.
What we can do is implement things to help prevent us from procrastinating or use tools and techniques to get it dealt with.
We can beat procrastination using my peak performance coaching philosophy which boils down to three key principles.
Clarity, Action, and Accountability.
I’m going to start off with the things that you need in order to do to gain clarity when it comes to procrastinating.
1. Be honest with yourself
You’ve procrastinated, so what?
Yeah, you’ve procrastinated, it’s done. There’s nothing that you can do about the past except change the way you think about it.
You could be Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Richard Branson and have all the money in the world, but there is nothing that you can do about the past except change the way you think about it.
When it comes to procrastinating, you can dwell on it all you like, dwell on all the things you could have done, should have done, would have done or want to have done.
What you need to do is start taking action now because the very best day to do something was yesterday, the very best time to do something now is now.
First of all, be honest with yourself and admit that what’s happened has happened.
Now it’s about being proactive.
2. Whats preventing you?
We have 65,000 thoughts a day.
55,000 of those thoughts are the same that we had yesterday, so quite often these thoughts spiral out of control, and we make assumptions. I’m going to come to assumptions shortly, but get clear, really clear on a couple of things by asking a few questions and writing down the answers of whatever comes into your head for a minute or two.
One of the questions I want you to ask yourself is:
What do I know that I’ve been doing that’s prevented me from doing what it is that I want to do?
Get it clear, write it down, get it on paper, start to see those things.
3. What are the consequences?
Another question to take time and write down the answers to is:
What are the consequences in the future that will happen to you and maybe to others if you continue to procrastinate?
Get really clear on what the impacts are.
Quite often we procrastinate as a result of making assumptions.
A question you can ask yourself to identify if it is an assumption is:
Can I 100% categorically know for a fact that reason XXXXX that I’ve been using to stop me from doing what I’m doing is actually true?
99.9% of the time it’s not a 100% provable fact.
Therefore it’s an assumption and then it needs to be tested, Ill come to this shortly.
5. Get organised
Still, on the topic of gaining clarity, A reason that so many people procrastinate is that they leave it at will to decide when they’re going to do something.
You might be disorganised, that could be the reason why you’re procrastinating.
Is it in your diary? Is it blocked out on your calendar to do what you need to do? Is it on your must-do list? (A short version of a to-do list that you’re doing just today) are you doing those things?
Speaking from personal experience, if it doesn’t go in my diary, nor set to flash up as a reminder on my phone and it’s not on my to-do list, it doesn’t get done.
Ask yourself the questions:
Are things that I really want to do on a must do list?
Are they top priorities for me today?
Are they blocked out on my calendar or in my diary for it to happen?
Like I said, for me, if that isn’t the case, it doesn’t happen and it may well be the case for you too.
Now we’re moving into the topic of Action.
6. Test your assumptions
Like I just mentioned a moment ago, one of the best ways to start taking action, is to test your initial assumptions.
I want to use a scenario of my own, going to the gym to help explain this.
I have ice hockey training late at night, we don’t get on the ice until 9.45pm. I get off the ice at 11.15pm. By the time I shower, go home, get into bed it’s gone midnight. I wanted to get up and go the gym this morning, but because of my schedule, it means that I have to be in the gym, which is best about 25 minute drive from where I live for 6am.
The excuses that I made up before I went to bed was, ‘but I’m going to be tired’, ‘I’m going to feel tired later on in the day’. ‘I’m not going to have energy.’
All of those things that I created, those excuses that I made that would prevent me from doing what I was actually wanting to do and would have therefore resulted in me procrastinating.
They were assumptions, so I said to myself , “I’m going to test these assumptions by getting up early, I’m going to go to the gym and see if I’m tired and have no energy later in the day”,
Guess what? I wasn’t!
It was just this little thought that I’ve made up in my head.
That day I ended up having more energy than I would have normally had if I hadn’t gone to the gym. I did multiple things I wouldn’t have done because there’s that momentum that’s going to keep going.
I even ended up going to bed much later that night than I would have done anyway because I did feel as lethargic.
Now your turn – Test your assumptions.
7. Do the important things first
I’m a morning person, and I like to wake up at 5am, get my day started and get things underway.
Whatever time it is that you choose to decide to get up, do the things that you want to do least, or your most important tasks (quite often that can be the same thing) first.
Many people, maybe you too make a to-do list and it might be 50 things long.
When we do this though we want to get this list as short as possible as quickly as possible.
So we just going through and do and then cross out all the easy things, the things that we know how to do, the quick things, just so that we can make the list look shorter.
The list might be short, but the remaining things that are left on it are the most important things that we need to get done, pretty stupid, huh?
So whether you get up at five o’clock in the morning or you’re up at 10 o’clock in the morning, get the things the things that are most important for you or the things you least want to do first and out of the way.
This will ensure your days are always productive and quite often then the rest of the day becomes easier once you have the important things out the way.
8. Take baby steps
I’m naturally quite a lazy person.
I was speaking with a client when I put this together, and she was saying “But everything’s effort.”
It’s the same for me, everything is an effort.
I have to take action.
Sometimes I don’t want to do things, sometimes it’s going to be a chore, it’s going to be an effort.
What I’ll do is I’ll make myself take baby steps.
I remember last winter when I was doing a lot of running, and I wanted to get out to run, sometimes was -2/-3C and I was getting up at five o’clock in the morning to go running.
Did I really want to hop out of bed, put my stuff on and go running outside in the freezing cold, get my fingers cold, my ears cold, my nose cold at five o’clock in the morning in the pitch black?
No. I didn’t.
What I used to do, is rather tell myself I need to go running for an hour, I’m going to be cold. It’s going to be crap, it’s going to be horrible.
Is trick myself.
I’d trick myself, and I’d say, “All you’re going to do is go running for two minutes. You’re going to get out and you’re going to go running for two minutes.”
When I got out, and I got two minutes into my run, I’ve done the most important part, which was starting so I ended up being out there much longer, normally always the length of time I had wanted to before.
This is down to the something called Zeigarnik effect. I wrote a whole blog on it called ‘The Key To Getting It Done‘, which is all about getting started.
It was based on a study of waiters. I won’t go into that now, but if you want to read my blog which explains scientific research about when you get started, things get done you can by clicking here.
Soo take baby steps.
Maybe it’s wanting to exercise, and it’s wanting to get really fit but you have never exercised you might be starting off with a brisk walk rather than doing an hour long HIT workout, as the thought of that may be too daunting.
It might be a case of just going out for a walk for 20 minutes and then you just build on it, layer by layer, day by day.
This way you can benefit from the compound effect, Einstein called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Then I said about getting Clarity and we’ve covered Action and the last one is Accountability.
9. Get accountable
When we’re born, we’re accountable to our parents. We go to school, we’re accountable to our teachers, we get to work, we’re accountable to our bosses. Then we go in the big wide world, and we want to do something for ourselves, and we wonder why we don’t get stuff done.
It’s just because we don’t have someone to be accountable to.
The problem that you’ve got, is you’re the easiest person the world to lie to.
You’ve justified your own lies and you do it over and over and over again.
So get accountable.
Find someone that you can be held accountable to.
Something you could do is just join The Elite Network Community Facebook Group, and ask someone to be accountable at the time of writing this there are nearly 3000 people in the group I set up for this kind of thing!
Just say, “Hey, I’m looking for an accountability buddy. Will someone be willing to be accountable for me?” There’ll be someone in that community that’s willing to do exactly that.
10. Reward yourself
The last one for accountability and this is the way that you can help be accountable to yourself, is to give yourself a reward.
Give yourself a reward for achieving what it is that you’re setting out to do.
That can be like really small reward sometimes I might do a two-hour stint of nonstop intense work, no distractions, no looking at my phone, emails etc.
The reward for me might be as simple as going outside, stand in the garden and having a glass of water for five minutes.
Give yourself these rewards, whether it’s micro-rewards or big rewards for something you’re planning on doing over a 90 day, six month, a year goal – give yourself rewards, it will make a big difference for you in dealing with procrastinating.
There we have it, my top 10 tips for overcoming procrastination, not you have finished reading this get implementing and get those outstanding tasks done!
Until next time… make it happen.
p.s. If would like to find out how a Make It Happen coach could assist you in overcoming procrastination one on one then click here.