Am I the only one who suffers from a major case of procrastination-itis?
My friend Marie is the least procrastinating person I know. When she knows something is coming up, she is always prepared, and she somehow manages to always be completely proactive, even when there is a task she doesn’t always feel like doing.
She is seriously amazing
I first met her years ago, when we were both teaching Sunday School.
She was always prepared. Her lessons were impeccable—organized, well thought out, and totally on point. And as a result, her class was always calm and in control.
My class, not so much. I was always scrambling to put together my plan at the last minute, usually as the kids were walking in the door. We’d end up winging it most of the time, and my class was often on the verge of complete chaos.
So naturally, I did what anyone else in my position would do—I begged and pleaded with Marie to come and work for me! My business was growing, and I needed help, and I knew her calm would be the perfect balance to my chaos.
And thankfully, after many, many asks, she finally relented.
And I seriously don’t know what I would do without her. And even now, I am constantly in awe of her ability to never procrastinate.
Because I don’t know about you, but that is a skill that I definitely don’t possess! I’m great at getting the things done that I want to do.
But the stuff I’d rather not do? Well, that can always seem to wait for another day.
But over the years—perhaps it is Marie’s good influence rubbing off on me—I have developed a simple 4-step process for tackling those things I really, really, really don’t want to do.
And if you also happen to be suffering from procrastination-itis right now, they might just help you too!
In this episode I’ll tell you about a simple 4-step process I developed to stop procrastination and tackle those things I really, really, really don’t want to do.
STEP 1: GIVE YOURSELF A DEADLINE
Have you ever noticed yourself putting stuff off until the last possible minute? Yep, me too! And so I’ve noticed that my biggest procrastination problems come with tasks that don’t have a hard and fast deadline—those things I know should be done sometime in the future (just not right now.)
The key then, to getting those things done, is to CREATE a last minute by giving yourself a hard and fast deadline. Put it on your calendar in big red letters, and tell someone else it will be done by that time. Give your brain a sense of urgency.
STEP 2: BLOCK OUT TIME
Once you’ve got a hard and fast deadline to work towards, the next step is blocking out time in your schedule to work on said project or task. Figure out how long you think you’ll need, then make a 60-90 minute appointment with yourself to get it done.
If you think the task will take longer than 90 minutes, block out more time, but schedule a break in between time blocks.
STEP 3: TAKE AWAY ALL OTHER DISTRACTIONS
When it comes time to work on your dreaded task, make sure to eliminate any distractions that will allow you to procrastinate even more. Turn off your phone and the Internet. Pop a movie in for the kids. Find a quiet place to work. Give yourself the gift of focus, just for the next hour.
STEP 4: SET THE TIMER
Tell yourself that you ONLY have to work on this thing that you don’t want to do for the next hour. You can do anything for an hour, right? Then set the timer and get to work. You might just be surprised at what you are able to get done!
George Bernard Shaw once said, “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.” Along those same lines, Saint Augustine wryly pointed out that “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”
In other words? Whatever it is, stop putting it off.
My challenge for you this week is to tackle one task you’ve been avoiding. What have you been putting off that you know, deep down, really should get done? Once you’ve identified it—and chances are you know exactly what it is—it’s time to give yourself a deadline, then block out some time on your schedule, eliminate your distractions, and set the timer to get it done.
I’d love to hear how it goes—be sure to shoot me a quick comment below to let me know!
Live with purpose, friends, and have a productive week!