Loads of unfulfilled tasks, constant busyness and a lousy mood are the consequences of the habit of putting things off until tomorrow. An easy way to stop procrastinating!
The concept of procrastination is completely new to us. It entered our speech only a few years ago. And Neil Fjork has specialized in this problem for 30 years. Thousands of his clients and attendees of seminars, including corporate ones, got rid of procrastination and depression associated with it. Neil's recommendations from his new book, An Easy Way to Stop Procrastinating, are in this post.
1. Replace the words "I must …" with "I choose …"
If you sit at a table and look at a stack of unanswered letters and a list of callers waiting for your call back, then your shoulders immediately drop, you feel a burden of worries and devastation. This is a very strong signal. Even if you did not say the words "I have to …", you still feel yourself being taken into slavery, instead of feeling responsible for the situation and your power. Having realized this, immediately get to work or postpone it responsibly. Trace a negative thought and mentally transform it into a productive person with choice and power.
2. Replace the words "I have to finish …" with "When can I start?"
"When can I start?" - this is the main and favorite phrase of a person who works productively. It automatically follows any worries about the end of the project and the feeling of being overwhelmed and immediately directs energy to specific actions. This phrase works like a "closer", returning the focus of attention to the very beginning of the project. But when it’s impossible to start a task immediately, the phrase “When is the next good moment to start?” pre-programs you for a straight and easy start in the near future, giving you a clear picture of when, where and where you will start.
3. Replace the words "This is a very large and important project …" with "I can take one small step …"
As soon as you start to feel like you are lost under the weight of a huge, serious case hanging over you, remind yourself: “I will take only one small step. One rough draft; one imperfect sketch; one call. That's all I need to do now."
You can hardly write an entire book at once - but you can write a chapter, several pages at a time. One single step is what you can do immediately. It gives you time to learn, rest, and recuperate before taking the next step in a series of small steps. After each step, you will have time to assess your accomplishments, take a long-term perspective, and adjust your long-term goals.
4. Replace the words "I must be perfect …" with "I can be perfectly human …"
Accept so-called mistakes as part of the natural learning process. You need to be kind to yourself, rather than self-critical, to support your courageous efforts as you face the inevitable risks of doing real, imperfect work instead of daydreaming about a perfect, completed project.
When you learn to anticipate and accept imperfection early on in a project, it will be easier for you to recover from failure as a productive person, because you will feel an invisible safety net.
5. Replace the words "I have no time for fun …" with "I must find time to have fun …"
By insisting on regular sports time, dinner with friends, frequent breaks during the day, frequent vacations throughout the year, you strengthen your sense of inner dignity and self-esteem, which are at the core of overcoming procrastination. The thought that something in the future awaits you (compulsory rest and time with friends) reduces the fear of hard work.