6 Steps to Stop Procrastinating
Do you have one of those chores or tasks at work that you just don’t enjoy doing? In fact, you will do everything you can to avoid completing that task until the final deadline or it just has to be completed? Maybe it’s your housework? Do you hate washing dishes or do you have a closet that really needs to cleaned out?
For me, it’s filing paperwork. You know, the monthly receipts, the bills/payments, package instructions, all the documents that need to be kept “just in case” you need to check later. I dislike filing so much I frequently will allow the papers to stack up for 6 months or longer (this means that the pile of paper is about to tumble over everywhere).
I actually have a super easy filing system that makes maintaining and deleting old papers easy-peasy (I file everything by month and then I trash the old papers after 12 months – I have a few exceptions like insurance papers and bank documents), so there is really no reason to procrastinate, but I do.
As I worked on the my filing this weekend, it occurred to me that I need a better plan to manage the filing and to stop procrastinating.
6 Steps to Stop Procrastinating Now
Define Your Task
Filing is an easy task, I just file the papers that are in the “file” box. Maybe you have a bigger task like cleaning out a closet or completing a project at work. The first step is to define the task so you will be able to determine how much time is needed to complete the task.
At this step, be specific about everything you will need to do to complete your task. If you leave out steps or skip steps, you might under estimate the time needed to complete the task.
Estimate How Much Time is Needed to Complete the Task
Once you have defined the task, estimate how much time you will need to complete each part. Recognize that some parts of the task may take longer than other parts. Set realistic amounts of time for each portion of the task, then add a little extra time for the unexpected.
Gather All Materials You Need to Complete the Task
Your task or project will take much longer to complete if you do not have all the needed materials or tools available when you start. If you need tools, you should have them all together before you start. You don’t want to waste time looking for a lost tool. If you need supplies, you should purchase them all at one time before starting.
If you have ever worked on projects and forgotten to gather all your materials in advance, you will remember how frustrating and much time is lost by stopping to gather missing materials.
So, before you start have all the materials and tools you need to complete the task or project.
When working on projects or tasks we don’t enjoy (and have already procrastinated on completing), it’s easy to let any distraction keep us from our work.
Turn off your cell phone (no checking messages), no Facebook or other electronics. Email can also distract us from our tasks. Set specific times and time limits to check and respond to email.
These are just a few distractions, you might watch TV or read a book. Recognize what distracts you and don’t let it stop you from completing your project.
Set a Goal for Completion – Either a Date or Time
For me, once I started the filing project, I would stay on task until I was done. Some projects are more involved and need more time, calculate how much time is needed to complete your project and set a goal date for completion. Small tasks may only need an hour or 2. But set a goal for completion so you will stay with the task.
Since you set a goal, it should be your plan that the task will be completed on this date. But if life happens and you are not able to complete the task, set a new completion date (but don’t keep resetting the date, that would be procrastinating).
For Recurring Tasks, Set-up a Weekly or Monthly Plan
For my filing, my goal is to complete the task every month. Filing once a month would be easy and manageable. For household chores (I really dislike cleaning house), I follow a weekly schedule to be sure all the basic tasks are done every week.
If your task or project is repeated on a regular frequency set a plan and keep a schedule so you don’t have to complete everything at the last minute.
MakeOver Your Mornings to Stop Procrastinating
MakeOver Your Mornings is a 14-day online course to help you master your mornings. You will learn out to start your day right so you can accomplish more during the productive morning hours.
The MakeOver Your Mornings course includes 14 videos and a companion workbook that accompanies the videos to help you maximize each lesson. During the course you will learn:
- How to plan your day
- How to set your priorities
- The importance of goal setting
- How to create your to-do list
- The impact of diet and exercise
- Getting the right mind set
- And so much more…
Take a minute now and start on the road to procrastination recovery with a morning makeover.
Note: this post includes affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.
What task or project do you procrastinate and put off completing? Do you have a plan to complete this task?