Do you need to stop faffing around? If so, be assured that you are not alone. It happens to the best of us.
We know what we are supposed to be doing but for some reason everything else seems way more interesting. We get sidetracked cleaning the fridge rather than writing our will or watching TV rather than going to the gym.
Here are my top seven tips to help you to stop faffing and get focused.
Understand What Motivates You
The wonderful thing about human beings it that we are all unique and all motivated by different things.
If you suffer from procrastination and are determined to keep yourself on the straight and narrow then you need to understand what motivates you.
Generally people are either motivated by avoiding punishment or by gaining some kind of reward. Consider the idea of the carrot and the stick to get a donkey moving. The carrot is used as an incentive to get the donkey to move forward The stick is used as a punishment if the donkey stops.
What approach do you respond best to? The carrot or the stick?
Once you understand what motivates you then you can set yourself appropriate incentives or forfeits that will help you to keep focus and stop procrastinating.
Identify Clear Goals
It astonishes me how many people don’t have clear goals for their life.
If you don’t know where you are going then how are you going to know when you get there? Moving forward without a clear direction means that you are going to feel endlessly dissatisfied. You will never feel like you are achieving anything.
And if you’re not achieving anything then what’s the point in putting in the work?
It is no wonder you procrastinate if you are not getting a sense of satisfaction and if you don’t have clear goals to work towards.
When you set goals for yourself don’t overcomplicate things. Have a maximum of 3-5 goals and to begin with set yourself short term goals, say for the next 3 months.
Remember you are trying to get yourself motivated and build up momentum so you want to quickly see that you are getting results and achieving your goals.
Once you start to gain momentum you will be less inclined to procrastinate as you will understand the direct result between taking action and achieving your goals.
Break Down Each Goal Into Smaller Tasks
Once you have decided on your goals then break them down into bite size tasks.
There is an old saying ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’
Looking at your overall goal might seem daunting and overwhelming which will send you into a cycle of procrastination and feeling stuck.
However, if you break that goal down into manageable chunks and tackle each chunk, one by one, then you will be take consistent action that will move you towards achieving your goals.
Get really clear on how all of tasks will contribute towards you achieving your goals.
As you work on each task you can identify how they are moving your business forward. Having a clear ‘why’ for each tasks will make you must less likely to procrastinate and put them off.
Set Yourself a Deadline
Too often we can let tasks drag on for much longer than they need to. Set yourself stretching deadlines to keep you on track and make sure that you are taking action.
If you want to lose weight then set yourself a target and have a date in mind for when you want to achieve that target. If you want to clean your house from top to bottom then give yourself a time limited deadline to add a sense of urgency.
Change Your Language
The language that we use is very powerful. If we say ‘I have to chase those bad debts’ then the activity is going to feel like a chore and fill you with a sense of dread.
Nobody likes to believe that they have no option and that they MUST do something.
On the other hand, reframing your thinking to ‘I want to chase those bad debts’ will put you in a much more positive frame of mind and make you much more motivated to actually complete the task
Even better, state the consequence of the action that you will take, for example:
‘I want to chase those bad debts so that I can increase my payment rate and boost my revenue this month’
Get started. It sounds simple but sometimes getting started can be the hardest part.
Look at your list of tasks, pick the first one that you are going to tackle and then do it. Cross it off your list.
Then pick the next task and do it. Cross that one off your list.
Once you make the decision to start and take that first step you will then find it so much easier to keep going.
Your actions will start to gather momentum and you will no longer feel drawn to procrastinate.
Instead you will appreciate the sense of satisfaction that you know will come from completing the tasks that you actually WANT (remember – be aware of your language!) to do.
Once you have made that big first step of getting started, it is essential that you build on the momentum created and that you keep going.
You will experience setbacks from time to time and often these things will be outside of your control.
However you can control how YOU respond to these setbacks.
You can allow them to send you into a downward spiral where, once again, you fall back into your old habits. OR you can accept these events for what they are, setbacks, and then you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on keeping on.